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Are Potatoes fattening? Do they make you gain weight?

Are Potatoes fattening? Do they make you gain weight?

“Haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate” could make up for a fabulous motivational saying or a funny wisecrack. But we are looking at potatoes from a different viewpoint today. It is thinking of this humble tuber as a carbohydrate-rich food that is known for making people fat- or does it?

Over the past few years, there has been a hype that consuming carbohydrates is can make you obese. This is where several high-carb foods such as bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes have derived their bad reputation from. It is not uncommon for even some fitness experts to advise people to completely cut such carbohydrate-rich foods out of their diet.

This is not justified. People do need to switch to good carbs to lose weight but they do not need to throw the poor potato out of their diet. We sat down with our wellness experts to know the truth behind it. They told us that potatoes cannot make us fat all by themselves, there have to be several other contributing factors for obesity or weight gain.

What are carbohydrates or carbs?

Carbohydrates are high-energy biomolecules that power our bodies to carry out daily functions. If we don’t have enough carbohydrates to meet our energy needs, then our body’s metabolism would slow down. It would switch to starvation mode to preserve energy reserves and that can lead to weight gain or dizziness and lower BP levels. We may even collapse.

All sugars and starches in fruits, grains, sweets, fast foods, vegetables, and milk products are carbohydrates. It is important to include them in your daily diet to have the required nutrients. The important thing to note is that you should not go overboard with them because they are “addictive” and “habit-forming”, and can quickly become a standalone meal in themselves.

Are carbs fattening?

Technically no.

Our wellness experts opine that it is not the intake of carbohydrates itself that will make you fat- but it’s rather the quantity, type, and amount of activity a person does that might. Eating potatoes in their simple form will not cause weight gain in most cases. It’s what potatoes are eaten with and how they are prepared that may lead you to put on some flab.

For example, eating French fries and deep-fried potato chips could be fattening. You can make it even worse by having them with other high-calorie foods like cola drinks and pizzas and liquor. One may also put one’s digestive system at risk if one eats these fast foods more often- like emotional eaters and those battling depression.

Causes of obesity: When are carbohydrates or carbs bad for you?

Potatoes are not necessarily fattening. But they could make you put on some weight if they are fried in oil or served with butter or sour cream or high-calorie sauces. Eating large quantities of this starchy vegetable daily could surely cause gradual weight gain and fat buildup, especially accompanied by inactivity.

Here are some causes of obesity:

1. Medications

2. Genetics

3. Depression

4. Overactive thyroid

5. Emotional eaters

6. Sedentary lifestyle

7. Poor fitness standards

8. Poor sleep patterns

9. Smoking and drinking

10. Digestive system disorders

Suggested article: Here are two delicious recipes that are made of potatoes and are carb-rich but can help you shed some weight.

Nutrition facts about potatoes and sweet potatoes

Nutrient content of 10 major staple foods per 100 g in order of rank

   

Nutrient

Potatoes

Sweet potatoes

Water (g) 79 77
Energy (kJ) 322 360
Protein (g) 2 1.6
Fat (g) 0.09 0.05
Carbohydrates (g) 17 20
Fiber (g) 2.2 3
Sugar (g) 0.78 4.18
Minerals    
Calcium (mg) 12 30
Iron (mg) 0.78 0.61
Magnesium (mg) 23 25
Phosphorus (mg) 57 47
Potassium (mg) 421 337
Sodium (mg) 6 55
Zinc (mg) 0.29 0.3
Copper (mg) 0.11 0.15
Manganese (mg) 0.15 0.26
Selenium (μg) 0.3 0.6
Vitamin C (mg) 19.7 2.4
Thiamin (B1) (mg) 0.08 0.08
Riboflavin (B2) (mg) 0.03 0.06
Niacin (B3) (mg) 1.05 0.56
Pantothenic acid (B5) (mg) 0.3 0.8
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.3 0.21
Folate Total (B9) (μg) 16 11
Vitamin A (IU) 2 961
Vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol (mg) 0.01 0.26
Vitamin K1 (μg) 1.9 1.8
Beta-carotene (μg) 1 8509
Lutein+zeaxanthin (μg) 8 0
Saturated fatty acids (g) 0.03 0.02
Monounsaturated fatty acids (g) 0 0
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (g) 0.04 0.01

The above values are taken from Wikipedia.

Do potatoes make you gain weight? Debunking some myths

Here are some prevalent myths about carbohydrates and potatoes in general. Our wellness experts are quashing these misbeliefs today.

1. Sweet potatoes are fattening

No. They are not fattening but can help you get some energy rather quickly.

For example, let’s say you are reeling from an energy crash and it is about time for you to head to the gym. Our nutritionists advise that you should roast a few sweet potatoes and some glucose. You may have some protein-rich foods after you are back from the gym.

2. “My BP and blood sugar will skyrocket”

No, but only if you do not eat potatoes with pasta and noodles, or cola drinks or liquor, or when you do not deep fry them. Potatoes have a low to medium Glycemic Index (GI), a measure of how food can cause a surge in someone’s blood sugar and BP.

3. Potatoes cause weight gain or obesity

This one is seriously misplaced. It is what you eat with potatoes that makes all the difference. It is always better to roast, steam, or boil them for the best results.

4. Potatoes only have carbs

As seen from the nutrition table above, potatoes contain way more phosphorous, potassium, and vitamin C. Don’t you think their health benefits will be way more than the effect of carbs which is at a little over 15gms per 100 gms?

Our wellness experts believe that when potatoes are eaten along with lean protein, healthy fats, and other high-fiber fruits and vegetables, they are less likely to cause you to gain fat. This is why most healthy and active people can eat potatoes and sweet potatoes without worrying about their weight.

Fact: Potatoes do not make you fat, it’s a lack of exercise that does!

When you are not burning the energy from carbohydrates by doing regular exercises or some other form of movement, your body will store the excess energy as fat. This is the case with any food that is rich in carbohydrates because it requires the burning of excess energy.

If you consume more of such calories and do not stay active enough, you might become obese and your belly fat won’t hesitate to show it.

The energy gained from eating high-carbohydrate food such as potatoes and sweet potatoes is less likely to lead to weight gain than eating high-fat food. It is so because carbs contain about half the amount of energy compared to fat and if they are not burnt by fitness activity, they can quickly result in flab.

A lesser-known aspect, Glycemic Index (GI)

There are two factors to check for obesity:

1. Glycemic Index (GI): A measure of how quickly a food converts to glucose

2. Glycemic Load (GL): How much a food converts to glucose

If gaining fat is a concern, it is best to avoid foods with high GI and/or GL.

Despite people fearing potatoes as a high GI/GL food, they are on par with other high-carb foods such as bananas and lentils. The crucial factor to note while consuming carbohydrates is that they should be followed with physical exercise too, or else they may lead you to obesity and pot belly.

Note: There is a lot that we all can learn from the way French citizens go about their food habits. They eat calorie-rich meals and back it up with red wine, but they remain just as healthy as ever. Here’s an article explaining how they do it.

Consult a wellness expert (professional nutritionist online) to know of an ideal diet

Get online with an on-demand session right now from an expert of your choice

Our wellness experts advise that you should brown grains and whole-grain cereals. Sweet potatoes are also an alternative to regular white potatoes for their slightly better GI and GL values. You can get better health results by going with such nutritious food options.

We welcome you to get in an online consultation right now with an expert of your choice to understand how you can have a better diet chart and plan. She would also be the best person to advise you on how you may make changes to your lifestyle (like working out more, not eating fattening foods, sleeping, and waking up properly) and thus to help you live better.

It is all available on-demand through an audio- or video-conferencing session on your phone. You can avail all of it from some of the best professionals in the world that you want - all at a fraction of the fees of your local service provider. All it takes is to try the new normal of healthcare and wellness standards that the world is busy adopting now.

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