Potatoes have a bad reputation for causing weight gain as they contain a lot of carbohydrates, but POPSUGAR spoke with registered dietitian Kate Coufal, MS, RDN, LDN, who explained that potatoes can actually promote weight loss. I am living proof because I have been eating potatoes every day for three months and was able to lose 10 pounds and I have maintained that. Continue reading to learn why potatoes are actually a perfect food for weight loss.
Aren’t carbohydrates like potatoes bad for weight loss?
Not all carbohydrates are considered equal. That type of carbohydrate – complex and whole versus simple and refined – plays a role in weight loss, Coufal explained. Complex carbohydrates, such as potatoes and whole grains, are actually low in calories and high in fiber, so eating these foods can help you consume fewer calories and feel fuller. While simple and refined carbohydrates such as. Pastries, biscuits and breakfast products are processed, processed and therefore more calorically dense without the fiber. So when you eat them, you consume a lot of calories without feeling satisfied, so you end up eating more, which can lead to weight gain.
Like any other food group, carbohydrates consumed in excess can cause weight gain, especially refined carbohydrates. “Carbohydrates are also very easy to overeat because of the dopamine that our brain gets from consuming them,” Coufal said. Highly processed carbohydrates such as bread, pastries, pasta and biscuits improve the dopamine release our brain receives when ingested, which means a higher likelihood of overconsumption and weight gain. Processed carbohydrates often have extra sugar and oil, which increases both calories and the desire to consume.
If you want to lose weight while feeling full, Coufal suggested that the majority of the carbohydrates we eat should come from whole, unprocessed foods like potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, corn, oats and fruits. And do not skimp! Our bodies run on the glucose we get by eating carbohydrates, so Coufal said, aims to eat about 50 to 60 percent of your calories from whole, unprocessed carbohydrates.
Why are potatoes good for weight loss?
Both white and sweet potatoes are beneficial for weight loss and are considered a low-calorie, pound-for-pound food, Coufal explained. A pound of potatoes has 400 calories compared to a pound of bread that is 1,200 calories. This means you can consume potatoes while maintaining a low calorie intake, which helps you lose weight without being hungry. This is because according to the satiety index for ordinary foods, boiled potatoes are considered the most filling food, almost 2.5 times more than bread.
The satiety effect of potatoes is due to the volume of food (a large potato or two medium is about a pound) and the high water, high fiber (six grams) and high protein content (almost 10 grams). The fibers, which are mostly found in the skin, help slow down digestion, promote fullness and reduce hunger. Potatoes also contain a compound called proteinase inhibitor II, Coufal explained, which affects hormone secretion, resulting in reduced hunger and slower digestion. The combination of fiber and protein helps increase satiety and helps with weight loss.
Image source: Jenny Sugar
Are certain potatoes better for weight loss?
All potatoes have few calories, making them weight loss friendly. Although there are small differences in the amount of fiber, naturally occurring sugar and micronutrients, these differences are not significant enough to affect weight loss, Coufal said. White potatoes are slightly lower in calories but high in fiber. Red potatoes also have few calories, have slightly less fiber, but contain large amounts of phytochemicals. Sweet potatoes are slightly higher in calories but high in fiber and very close to minerals and antioxidants. At the end of the day, choose the type of potato you like best – white, yukon gold, red, maroon, garnet, Japanese sweet or purple – but be sure to eat the skin where most of the fiber and micronutrients are found.
What is the best way to prepare potatoes for optimal weight loss?
One of the reasons potatoes are associated with weight gain is because of the way they are usually cooked. Using oil to fry or roast potatoes or adding other fats like mash in butter and milk or topping with cheese, sour cream or bacon, all add extra fat and calories and are not beneficial for weight loss, Coufal said.
If you want a crunch, air frying or baking on parchment paper without added oil is a good option as it eliminates added fat and calories. But Coufal said that if weight loss is your goal, the best method is to cook or steam potatoes. This helps preserve the water content, making them more filling than baking or frying, which dehydrates the potato and makes it more calorically dense. Boiling or steaming followed by cooling also produces high levels of resistant starch, which is known to regulate metabolism, promotes fullness and satiety and prevents overeating.
To make it easy to eat potatoes, buy a large bag (you can get 15 pounds for less than $ 10 at Costco) and cook about four to five pounds on the stove. I like to steam them in my instant pot (16 minutes at high pressure). Let them cool, then put them in a glass container in the fridge (they also freeze well) so you can enjoy them with steamed vegetables, add them to your salads, or I like to make them short in the air fryer. You will feel satisfied and if weight loss is your goal, you will be amazed at how well potatoes can fit into your meals!