Why the Potato is the Dieter's Enemy
Article by Steve Maszlagi
What's wrong with eating potatoes? It's a vegetable isn't it? Well, yes it is but while we are encouraged to eat more vegetables, not all vegetables are dieter friendly. Unfortunately the potato is one of the worst things you can eat if your trying to shape up.
It all boils down to the glycemic index (GI). Basically that's the measure of how much that food will increase your blood sugar levels. All food converts to simple sugars in the blood so that it can be transported around the body and used as fuel by your cells.
But if your blood sugar rises too quickly, your body starts pouring out insulin and the excess is immediately converted to fat and stored for future use. Unfortunately for most of us that means it's just stored and it stays there.
If the GI of a food is above 50, it will have the effect of creating new fat stores in your body, and the higher the GI the worse.
So here's the figures for the humble potato:
- Baked (skin on) 65
- Boiled (skin on) 65
- Fried (Chips) 95
- Potato Crisps 95
- Mashed 80
If you're thinking of substituting Sweet Potato, then it's OK but only if it's boiled or steamed (GI 46). However if you bake it the GI shoots up to 94 and roasted it's 82.
Also, there are potato crisps out there that claim to be healthier because they contain half the saturated fat of regular chips. While these are marginally better than regular chips they still contain the high GI carbohydrate that's responsible for fat conversion.