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Should you include potatoes in your fitness diet?
Over the past few years, a disturbing trend has developed around a fear of eating carbohydrates. High carb foods such as bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes have got a really bad rap as being weight-gain monster foods. We are not too fond of the way people have dug up false caves around this simple to find and easy to cook vegetable, and we are exploring just why you should include potato in your diet.
Carbohydrates, including those which come from the humble potato, are high-energy foods that our body needs to survive. If we don’t have enough carbohydrates to meet our energy needs, then our body’s metabolism slows down. It goes into starvation to preserve our energy reserves and that can lead to weight gain. With all high carb foods, it is not the carbohydrate itself that will make you fat, but the quantity, type, and amount of activity a person consumes that shall make a difference. Your lifestyle is a crucial element and will have a decisive say in the discussion.
We shall also conclude the findings regarding the more nutritious variant of potato- sweet or white- and the one you should eat for maximum benefits. Stay with us as we take you along!
Here's a Fact Check
Eating potatoes in their simple form will not cause weight gain. However, it is what potatoes are prepared with and how they are eaten that makes all the difference. They are often fried in oil or served with butter or sour cream or high-calorie sauces- eating large quantities of such oily foods could cause weight gain and fat stores, especially when followed by inactivity.
1. When you are not burning the energy from carbohydrates effectively by doing exercise or some other form of movement, then your body will store the excess energy as fat.
This is the case with any carb-rich food, and you would need to burn the energy you are consuming by eating that food. If you eat more energy (through carbs or otherwise) than what your body is exerting, you will put on weight.
The energy consumed from eating high-carbohydrate food such as the potato is less likely to lead to weight gain than eating high-fat food because carbohydrates contain about half the amount of energy as compared to fat. Choosing high carb over high-fat foods is better if you are watching your weight.
2. Another factor to consider is the Glycemic Index (or GI) that indicates how quickly a food converts to glucose and the glycemic load. 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, in reality, they are on-par with other high carb foods such as bananas and lentils.
When potatoes are eaten along with lean proteins, healthy fats, and other high-fiber fruits and vegetables, they will very unlikely cause you to gain fat. Most healthy and active people can eat potatoes and sweet potatoes without worrying about their weight.
3. If opting for carbohydrates, choose complex forms such as brown grains and whole-grain cereals. Sweet potatoes are also an alternative to regular white potatoes and they may be slightly better in terms of GI and GL- though only marginally.
At the end of the day, do not stress about eating potatoes in moderation. Like all vegetables, they are healthy, delicious foods when eaten in their most natural form and they can also be very satisfying. Eaten in moderation in combination with exercise or active life, potatoes are good for you and will not make you fat.
Which is healthier: Sweet Potatoes or White Potatoes?
When it comes to potatoes, the consensus is that it is a delicious and versatile vegetable used in many dishes. This fact makes them the fourth-most consumed food crop in the world. But are there any nutritional differences between white potatoes and sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes and white potatoes are both root vegetables originated from South America, but they have little in common apart from their origin and name. Potatoes can grow in most climates and soil, making it an easy crop to grow, but sweet potatoes tend to be more delicate. The sweet potatoes are not immune to cold weather and frost and are sensitive to daylight. The insides of sweet potatoes are not always orange or yellow, but may also be purple.
Purple sweet potatoes contain peonidin and cyanidin, which possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. These properties, when passing through a person’s digestive system, can reduce the health risks posed by oxygen radicals and heavy metals.
What about orange sweet potatoes?
The orange-colored sweet potatoes are considered by some to be one of the best sources for beta-carotene. The latter is a primal form of Vitamin A and converts to it with time. It is said that sweet potato alone could fill 90% of vitamin A needed for a day. Study shows that feeding sweet potatoes to children is an efficient way to provide children the necessary amount of vitamin A.
Beta-carotene is also an antioxidant and helps cleanse the body of toxins. To maximize the intake of beta-carotene in sweet potato, researchers suggest including 3 to 5 grams of fat, which converts into about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. The recommended method of cooking is boiling or steaming, as these two methods, best preserve the nutrition in sweet potatoes.
Potatoes: Beyond the bad reputation
Potatoes get a bad rap from foods like French Fries and potato chips but they also have many health benefits. Potatoes are very good sources of vitamin B6, potassium, copper, vitamin C, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, dietary fiber, and pantothenic acid.
Vitamin B6 is essential for the formation of new cells in the human body and is active everywhere in the body. It is also needed to make serotonin that prevents depression, and melatonin that provides quality sleep.
Potatoes also have antioxidant properties, which comes from the variety of phytonutrients they contain. A study states that potatoes may lower blood pressure and prevent it too. They also contain lots of fiber in their skin, so to take full advantage of potatoes, consuming potato skin is recommended. The best way to preserve most nutrients in potatoes when cooking them is steaming or roasting them without peeling off the skin.
You can take either white or sweet potato for regular consumption
Even though they share very little in common, both potatoes and sweet potatoes are great sources of various nutrients, and we honestly think both are great. Sweet potatoes are generally considered the healthier option because white potatoes are often related to greasy foods and fast food, but are actually quite good for you, and both are excellent options as long as you follow a healthy cooking method.
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