The Truth About Denise Austin’s Idaho Potatoes

Well-known fitness expert Denise Austin is the new spokesman (or should I say woman) for Idaho Potatoes. Here’s one of her new commercials (see the other Denise Austin Idaho Potato commercial here).

Let’s discuss. First off, she does a great job of noting that things should be consumed in moderation. This I 100 percent agree with and have mentioned numerous times. Moderation is key. You can eat just about anything as long as you practice moderation (both serving size and how frequently you consume an item). After that, she mentions that diet and exercise are essential for healthy living, another point I totally agree with. Then she gets into her potato sales pitch, mentioning potatoes have only “110 calories and zero fat and cholesterol”.

Let’s break this info down.

The important thing to keep in mind is portion size, to consume only 110 calories you would have to consume one small potato about the size of your computer mouse. In addition, the 110 quote she gave is a rough estimate, other sources I have seen said a small potato could be around 130 calories (a small russet potato baked with no toppings has 134 calories, per CalorieKing). However, remember that as soon as you add condiments to your spud the calorie count goes up.

Some helpful hints to keep the calories down:

  • use only small amounts of butter/spread in your potato
  • limit your cheese (try 2% milk cheese)
  • try not to use salt for flavoring and use other non-calorie, more healthy spices
  • skip the bacon sprinkles and sour cream
  • mix in other veggies (onions, chives, etc.)
  • squeeze fresh lemon for flavoring

Potatoes obviously don’t have any cholesterol because they are a vegetable and only animal products contain cholesterol (this is marketing’s way of trying to get your attention).

Potatoes, like all fruits and vegetables, contain numerous healthy vitamins and minerals. Potatoes specifically provide you with potassium, vitamin C, fiber (if you eat the skin/peel), some protein (around 3 grams), thiamin, niacin, iron and are low in sodium. My recommendation is to eat as many fruits and veggies you can get your hands on and eat all different kinds (variety guarantees consuming the vitamins and minerals you need). So don’t be afraid of eating potatoes because they are “white”, it’s perfectly acceptable to eat them as part of a variety filled, well balanced diet.

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