Chips are made out of potatoes, potatoes are a plant, plants are healthy, and so chips must be too. Right?
Well… chips might not be the healthiest food, especially when they are fried in oil opposed to oven baked, like our favourite wedges.
But that doesn’t mean that all potato dishes are unhealthy. There are a lot of myths associated with potatoes that often give them a bad name in the wellbeing space. But we’re here to clear up a few things and debunk those myths.
#1 Potatoes are empty calories
It’s a common belief that potatoes are only carbs and they don’t contain any of those important micronutrients – vitamins and minerals.
First up carbs, fats, protein, vitamins and minerals should never be labeled bad. In some proportion, they are all required by our bodies to function.
Potatoes do contain carbs, but that doesn’t make them empty calories. They are also loaded with other minerals and vitamins.
#2 Potatoes are high in Carbs, which make you gain weight
Yes potatoes contain carbs, so do lettuce leaves, green beans and kale – carbs are not the enemy. Carbohydrates are the only source of energy that the brain can use. Without out them the body can enter into ketosis, which in the long term can have negative side effects.
Recent research actually suggests that there is no beneficial outcome in a low carb diet compared to a high carb diet for weight loss. The truth is, at some point over the last few decades each macronutrient has been blamed and named by society to ‘make us fat’. Just a few years ago, fat was that enemy – and now it is seen as the answer to all our health problems.
There is no evidence suggesting that there is an association between the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes or cardiovascular disease and intake of potatoes. So to keep a long story short – keep eating potatoes, because your brain needs them and they are delicious!
#3 All Nutrients are in the Potato Skin
It is an age-old myth that all the nutrients are in the skin of any fruit or vegetable. In fact the only thing you are losing out on when you peel them is a small amount of fibre, which potatoes are incredibly high in anyway! Potatoes, skin or not, are an excellent source of vitamin C, B6, carbohydrates, potassium and so much more.
#4 Potatoes have a High Glycemic Index, which spikes your blood sugar and makes you gain weight
In theory yes, potatoes do have a high Glycemic Index, which in turn means they raise your blood sugar and insulin levels. And as insulin promotes fat synthesis this would indicate that high GI foods make you gain weight and low GI foods make you lose it.
However, there is no evidence to support the theory that high GI foods make you gain weight. The other fact that blows this myth out of the water is that we rarely eat just a plate of potatoes. In reality, they are served alongside a portion of protein and other high fibre veggies, which can slow the blood glucose response.
#5 Potatoes contain starch, which is really bad for you
Yes, potatoes do contain starch, but that doesn’t make them bad for you. Let’s review the facts.
Your body breaks down starch in foods and releases it as free glucose into your blood – this process takes a lot of time and digestive energy. But potatoes are also rich in fibre which is a key player in slowing down the rate at which starch is broken down and, even more, reducing the rate at which glucose enters your blood stream.
So what does this mean? Starch rich foods that are also high in fibre (such as potatoes) are actually very healthy and provide a long lasting drip release of glucose into the blood stream to provide consistent energy and prevent fatigue throughout your body.
All in all, potatoes get a bad wrap in the health department from myths that have gained strength over time! Now that we’ve debunked those myths, you can keep eating these delicious morsels as part of a healthy balanced diet!