Potato, a plant belonging to the nightshade family, is one of the most popular vegetables in the world. In some countries, people cannot imagine their meals without potatoes. There are so many potato-based dishes that there is no question of a boring menu. Potatoes are added to salads, spreads, casseroles, made into chips and even cheese. Due to the extraordinary popularity of potatoes, there have also been rumors about their high calorie content. The demonization of potatoes is most likely due to ignorance. It’s time to dispel all doubts and get to know the facts.
Potatoes have both supporters and detractors. Many people, even though they appreciate the taste of potatoes, exclude them from their diet for fear of gaining weight or even being poisoned. You can actually harm yourself by eating raw potatoes, due to the high concentration of toxic solanine, but thermal processing makes it harmless to your health.
Another issue is the calorie content of potatoes. Many people do not realize that the potato is a low-calorie and easily digestible vegetable. Even if it is thermally processed, it will not increase its caloric value. However, this only applies to steaming or boiling. In turn, frying potatoes is a simple way to get a high-calorie meal. Carbohydrates and fats are a combination that is difficult to digest and promotes the deposition of fat tissue and weight gain.
You probably won’t gain weight if you don’t exceed your daily calorie requirement. However, eating potatoes in the form of potato noodles, dumplings or pancakes, chips or fries, or with animal fat products such as lard, bacon, cracklings, butter or cream, is not conducive to maintaining a slim figure. A simple conclusion can be drawn from this: it is not potatoes that make you fat, but adding fats, eggs or flour to them, which increases the calorie content of the entire meal. There are 70 to 85 kcal (kilocalories) in a 100-gram (3.5-ounce) serving of potatoes. The same amount of fries provides 330 kcal, and chips more than 550 kcal. As you can see, the method of preparing potatoes affects the caloric value of the meal.
Potatoes are a valuable source of vitamins and nutrients. They contain vitamins B, A and C, folic acid, beta-carotene, potassium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, copper and iodine. Unlike highly processed foods, potatoes do not contain the so-called empty calories. They are also a source of complex carbohydrates (starches and dietary fibers). Potatoes boost metabolism due to their high fiber content, which improves intestinal peristalsis and increases the volume of gastric content, and provide a quick feeling of satiety, which is good news for people who want to lose excess weight.