What’s So Great About White Potatoes

What’s So Great About White Potatoes

Wait, what? Hasn’t it been established that all white foods are bad? White rice is stripped of all the fibre, white bread is sugar in loaf form, and white sugar is nutritional crack cocaine. Back in the day, most meals weren’t considered complete until the potatoes in some for or other made it to the table (preferably sitting next to the stack of white bread, thank you very much!). But times changed, we knew better and the “whites” were out. Sometime back in the 90’s “carb” became a four letter word and in typical “baby with the bathwater” fashion, we threw out the white potato. Why? Because if one white starchy carb was bad, then they must all be. Somehow potatoes became a “cheat” food, something to be guiltily eaten and then confessed. But the staple of dinner tables across North America did not deserve the demotion it got. Here, we single handedly restore the white potato to its rightful place (note to white bread…don’t hold your breath).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make no mistake; nobody is arguing that sweet potatoes aren’t a nutritional star but check out this comparison with its lowly white cousin:

7-ounce Sweet Potato              7-ounce White Potato

220 calories                                208 calories

3.5g protein                                5g protein

51g carbs                                      49g carbs

1mg iron                                        2.8mg iron

20g sodium                                   16g sodium

693mg potassium                        844 mg potassium

5g fibre                                           4g fibre

4350RE vitamin A                       nil

49mg vitamin C                            16 mg Vitamin C

Well, well, well…yes, the white potato lacks vitamin E and the sweet potato does have a little lead in fibre and Vitamin C, but, otherwise, our little friend actually outshines the potato du jour in important nutrients like iron, protein and potassium. It actually has fewer carbs as well! What?!  Yes, turns out all potatoes, including the whites are actually one of nature’s more perfect little creations.

And here’s another selling feature. Scientists have discovered that if potatoes are cooked and then cooled, they develop a special kind of starch, known as resistant starch. Also found in bananas and beans, resistant starch behaves more like insoluble fibre in the body, going directly through the small intestine without being digested, thereby negating some of the calories in the food. The good news is the potatoes can be eaten cold (think potato salad) or cooled and then reheated for any of your favourite potato dishes (don’t think poutine!). Resistant starch can also help improve insulin sensitivity, promote good bacteria in the gut and help with regularity. Not to mention eating resistant starch with a meal seems to lower fat storage in the body after that meal.

So I vote to bring back the white potato…and I second it! But have no fear. We will need to change the name of this site…sweet potatoes also have resistant starch when cooled. Phew!

 

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4 Comments

  1. Lindsay
    March 04, 21:42 Reply

    Wow! I never knew and I’m so glad. Thanks for sharing this happy info 🙂

  2. Jeff
    March 26, 14:39 Reply

    Potatoes are one of my best foodie friends. There are just so many delicious things to make with them! Do you know anything about how the nutrition is affected if you peel them?

  3. Jess
    March 26, 15:30 Reply

    Love love love potatoes! They are little powerhouses and my Irish body thanks me for eating them. I always scrub the skin and then leave it on and eat it no matter how I am cooking them [mashed, baked, pan fried, etc] because of the chromium in the skin and the effect it has on balancing your blood sugar. A potato with the skin on drops about 30 points on the G.I. scale from a spud with no skin. Yum!

  4. Simply Tia
    March 29, 07:01 Reply

    Very useful information here on the potatoes! I like!!

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