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Nutrition Myth: Potatoes Are Fattening

It was once believed that the key to weight loss was the elimination of carbohydrate rich foods, such as pasta, rice, potatoes, breads and cereals.

Carbohydrates are the only fuel source for many vital organs, including the brain, central nervous system and kidneys. The digestive system breaks down carbohydrates into glucose and the pancreas secretes a hormone called insulin to help the glucose move from the blood into the cells.

Very low carbohydrate diets are becoming popular again. These diets often contain less than 60g of carbohydrate per day. Many health professionals do not support these diets because they have a high fat content (particularly saturated fat) and restrict fruit, vegetables and high fiber breads and cereals.

The basic principle of any low carbohydrate diet is that carbohydrates cause weight gain. This is misleading. You gain weight if you consume too many calories it doesn't matter whether they are from carbohydrates, proteins or fats. Cutting calories is the key to weight loss!

The potato has many health benefits, is by itself not fattening, and the feeling of satiety that comes from eating potato can actually help people to control their weight. However, preparing and serving potatoes with high-fat ingredients raises the caloric value of the dish.

A recent survey on dieting concluded that getting slim and staying there takes more than watching fat or carbs alone. Successful dieters swear by a variety of healthful behaviors to maintain weight loss, such as exercise, portion control, and eating more fruits and vegetables, combined with realistic expectations.

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