Are potatoes fattening?

bakedpotatoA client told me today during a consultation that she sometimes eat potatoes and knows “it’s wrong”. “What’s wrong with potatoes?” I asked. “They’re fattening!” was the response. It’s something I’ve heard before and is simply not true.

Let’s look at the nutrition for a cooked baked potato (flesh & skin):

Baked potato – 1/2 cup serving:

Calories            62.5

Fat                      0.08g

Protein               1.6g

Carbohydrate   14g

Fibre                   1.5g

Sugar                  0.75g

Iron                     0.7mg

Potassium         359mg

From my dietitian perspective the nutrition indicates that potatoes are NOT fattening. In fact on their own potatoes are FAT FREE! Canadian regulations define fat free as food that contains less than 0.5g of fat per serving. Perhaps you think they are fattening because they are high in carbohydrates. This is also incorrect since a 1/2 cup serving contains the same carb level as a slice of bread. When it comes to potatoes they aren’t fattening, it’s what you do to them that makes them that way. For instance, deep frying them and making fries is fattening but it’s the oil not the potato that’s the culprit. Adding a big spoonful of butter on top or ordering a fully loaded baked potato with full fat sour cream, cheese and bacon will definitely make the dish fattening but again it’s not the potato itself.

Nutrition Tip:

Flavour your potato with herbs and spices instead of high calorie sour cream, cheese or bacon. Use 1-2 tsp of margarine instead of butter. A 3/4 cup serving provides only 93 calories – forget those pricey 100 calorie packaged snacks. Enjoy a hot baked potato instead and don’t throw out the skin, it’s where some the nutrients like iron and fibre are hiding.

Give potatoes the credit they deserve, a fat free tasty treat.

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