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16 Apr 2024, Edition - 3199, Tuesday

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Health & Lifestyle

5 Reasons Why They Say Potatoes Are Bad For You



Sushmita Sengupta

Let’s admit it, Indian cooking is incomplete without potatoes. Potatoes are integral to so many of our traditional dishes that it is hard to think of India food without this staple. However in the past couple of years this Portuguese-import has got itself a ‘not-so-amazing’ reputation in the world of fitness and nutrition. Why is that so? When did our favourite vegetable find itself amongst such myths – doubting its nutritive profile? And moreover how many of these myths are even true. Let’s find out.

1. Calories

Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner says that a 100 grams of potatoes contains about a 100 calories. The real deal breaker here is the way they are prepared and not the potato in itself. Potato itself is healthy, but the way it’s often cooked may not be. “Fried potato chips, french fries, twizzlers and patties are loaded with calories especially because these are deep-fried. However, when steamed or baked potatoes can be as healthy as your veggies. The bad rep is due to the additional calories it assumes after frying in refined and fat-laden oils”

2. Carbs

Yes, Potatoes are high in carbohydrates but is that reason enough to eliminate it from your diet completely? Maybe not. In a bid to lose weight fast one tends to take note of any hearsay doing the rounds in the fitness circuit. When nutritionist advice you to lower your carb intake and increase your protein, they don’t mean to eliminate carbs completely. As a matter of fact eliminating an entire food group is never a sustainable idea. Carbohydrates are essential to give energy to the body when its running out of fuel. What you should do instead is to lower the intake of simple carbs that do nothing for your body apart from triggering sugar spikes. Potatoes with its high starch content is classified as a complex carb – and eating them in moderation is not a bad idea.

3. High Glycemic Index

The glycemic index rates carbohydrates according to how quickly they raise your blood sugar levels. Potatoes are classified in under High Glycemic Foods, boiled white potatoes are rated 82, while sweet potatoes have a score of 70. Diabetics are advised to maintain caution when eating any potato preparation. Non-diabetics however can counteract the sugar spike by combining potato with low GI other high-fiber foods like lentils or beans or nuts or other high-fiber veggies

4. Cholesterol

Here’s a tag that Potatoes share without any fault of their own. Potatoes have zero cholesterol. Yes ZERO. It is only the oil and cholesterol laden ingredients or the oil that it is cooked with that makes it a threat to the heart. According to the book healing foods, potatoes with its heart healing antioxidant anthocyanins can, in fact, prove beneficial for heart health.

5. Portion control

You see a packet of chips, you bend towards it thinking you would stop at one or two, only to realize you have finished half the packet already. Another reason why potatoes get a bad rep is because people can’t seem to control themselves when they find any potato based snack around them. Anything in excess be it outright junk or a bowlful of baked potatoes with peppers will take its toll on your waistline.

Why do potatoes deserve another chance?

Potatoes deserve to be looked at in a whole new light. They are an excellent source of vitamin C, Potassium, fibre, B vitamins. They are also loaded with copper, tryptophan, manganese and even lutein. Potatoes help curb inflammation in the body and boost immunity. It can also calm you down and improve blood circulation too. Re-think they way you have been consuming potatoes all along and give this delightful veggie another chance. You don’t need to stay away from good old potatoes anymore.

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