• Stop Blaming the Potato

    September 26, 2017
  • Have you ever heard:

    • Potatoes are the same as sugar.
    • Potatoes are like sugar
    • Potatoes are full of sugar
    • Potatoes just turn to sugar.

    All are saying basically the same thing – and I do tend to figuratively roll my eyes when I hear this. Sometimes I have actually rolled my eyes. Like with many things regarding nutrition, there is a little bit of truth to this, but not really.

    First, let’s compare 1 cup of sugar with 1 cup of baked potato flesh (without the skin).

    One cup of sugar = about 770 calories, 192 grams of carbohydrates, all of which is sugar (duh) and that’s about it. Well, there is about 2 mg of calcium and 4 mg of potassium. In a cup.

    One cup of baked potato flesh: 113 calories, 26 grams of carbohydrates, of which 2 grams of that is fiber and 2 grams of sugar (not added, all naturally occurring). And, there is 6 mg of protein, 6 mg of calcium and 477 mg of potassium (more than a medium banana).

    So comparing one cup of sugar and one cup of baked potato flesh – not the same. So how is a

    potato like

    sugar? Some would say, not even close, but I won’t argue that point.

    And, let’s be real: I am not sure who would consume one cup of sugar, but who knows? Cookie dough? Sure. Not sugar.

    When it comes to potatoes – what form is it in? This is how most people eat potatoes:

    • French fries
    • Potato chips
    • Baked – with butter, sour cream, cheese, bacon, chives, and what else. We call it loaded.
    • Mashed – with butter, milk or cream, salt, and maybe cheese
    • Hash browns – shredded and cooked in fat and salt (and maybe ketchup)
    • Tater tots – are these baked or fried? I had to look this up. They are fried and we tend to bake them to reheat them.

    I often tell people that the potato isn’t the problem, but what we DO TO THE potato is where things start to go awry.

    So it isn’t the potatoes…stop blaming the potato for the corruption we have placed on it.

    Now the other big thing is that we rarely eat potatoes all alone. It is usually part of a meal. But it if is the main part of the meal like a loaded baked potatoes also comes with something else that makes it more than just “sugar”.

    Where are all those carbs – if the potato is 26 grams of carbs with 2 grams of fiber and 2 grams of sugar, what makes up the other 22 grams of carbohydrates? Starch! In the process of digestion, starch is broken down to individual sugar (glucose) units but because starch is such a LONG chain of glucose units, it takes more time to break down (many, many bonds) than consuming plain sugar (one bond to break).

    When other nutrients, especially fiber, are in the mix this will slow the process down even more.

    Here is some more information on the nutrients in potatoes:

    • Vitamin C and vitamin B6
    • Potassium and magnesium
    • Naturally no fat or sodium
    • Of course naturally cholesterol free, vegan and gluten-free (which is true for all plant

    Most healthy adults can eat potatoes without worrying about the “sugar” spike when it is part of a meal.

    Here is my favorite way to cook and eat potatoes (as a side – or less than 25% of the meal):

    Potato Nutrients

    Potatoes are a great source of nutrients.

    Oven Roasted Potatoes

    • 2-4 potatoes diced into 1/2 – inch pieces (better if you don’t peel them, but do wash the heck out of them)
    • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dry rosemary (cut it up to get the flavor out)
    • 1-2 garlic cloves (minced)
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper
    • ¼ – ½ teaspoon salt (any type)
    1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil sprayed with cooking spray.
    2. Toss the potatoes in a large bowl with oil and seasonings so potatoes are evenly coated. Try different seasonings to taste like chili powder, cumin, curry powder, oregano or any that you like.
    3. Spread potatoes onto the baking sheet in a single layer.
    4. Roast for 30 minutes – tossing halfway through to get even roasting on both sides.

    This is a side-dish. The number of potatoes used will depend on the type of potato chosen. Large russets may need one or two potatoes for four people. Small white or red potatoes may need 2-3 potatoes per person. A medium potato is about the size of a computer mouse – so this can help you gauge what may be enough for your recipe. If you have a lot more potatoes than will fit in a single layer on your baking sheet, then use two baking sheets and switch oven racks halfway through the baking time.

    Click here for the free download of the nutrients in potatoes and this recipe.