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Potatoes are a Smart Food Choice for Weight Loss

Potatoes get a bit of a bad rap. Lately, I’ve come to realize how much I love a baked potato now and again as a satisfying side dish to a lean protein and tossed salad. But, in a post-Atkins world, that would seem like a diet taboo. Not so, says a new study.

“When it comes to weight loss, it is not about eliminating a certain food or food groups. Rather, it is reducing calories that count,” said study leader Britt Burton-Freeman of the University of California, Davis.

The study’s leader went on to say that not only is there no evidence that a healthfully prepared potato is bad for your diet, it can actually be a part of your weight loss plan.

Here’s how the study worked:

Researchers examined 86 overweight men and women over a 12-week period, measuring the effects of a reduced-calorie modified glycemic index diet. They also added potatoes into the mix.

Three randomly selected groups were formed. They each had a diet that included five to seven servings of potatoes each week. All three groups lost weight.

The glycemic index, or GI, is a measure of the effects of carbohydrates on your blood sugar levels. It gives a rating to each food, from 0-100. The idea is to avoid foods with a high index rating, since they are digested quickly and leave you feeling unsatisfied following a meal or snack.

Foods with a high glycemic index value also tend to raise your blood sugar levels quicker and higher as compared to the lower glycemic index foods.

This study seems to expose a crack in the GI system, since baked potatoes rank high on the GI scale. One medium-size potato (with the nutritious skin intact) only contains 110 calories per serving, with more potassium (620 grams) than a banana, and almost half the daily value of vitamin C (45 percent). Not to mention it has lots of fiber, and unless you add unhealthy toppings, potatoes don’t contain fat, sodium or cholesterol.


Try some of these great potato recipes!

Honey Dijon Potato Salad

Creamy Potato Soup

Broccoli and Cheese Potatoes

Potato-Crust Pizza

Chili Stuffed Baked Potato

October 15th, 2010