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Should we avoid potatoes when dieting?

There are over 100 varieties of potatoes. This includes Russet, White, Red, Sweet Potatoes, and Yams but choices vary by region. Potatoes are full of important nutrients like potassium, vitamin B-6, vitamin C and more. They are fat-free, cholesterol-free, sodium-free and low in sugar. They are high in fiber and inexpensive with long shelf life when stored properly.

Glycemic Index

There are issues surrounding the nutritional properties of white potatoes since the amount consumed should depend on the health status of the individual. Eating unprocessed white potatoes is much more complex. Many avoid them to lose weight in attempt to avoid carbs and starchy vegetables.

Potatoes have a bad reputation due their high glycemic index. The glycemic index is a rating system that assigns a numerical value to carbohydrate rich foods, based on their impact on blood glucose. High glycemic index is when carbohydrates are quickly broken down into sugar, causing blood sugar and insulin levels to rise rapidly.

There is some disagreement among the plant-based experts. Some doctors like Dr. McDougall practically encourage unlimited potatoes while Dr. Fuhrman and other recommend limiting white potatoes if you are overweight or diabetic.
Dr Fuhrman says, "It depends on the person. If you are overweight or diabetic, limit them. If not very active, limit. 35 studies show high glycemic load on sedentary overweight individuals promotes diabetes in some people."
Dr McDougall says, "Glycemic index leads you in a false direction. Potatoes have a glycemic index of 100+. Snickers bars, are 68 on the glycemic index. Potato-based populations do not have diabetes or obesity."

A few studies have implicated potatoes in weight gain and diabetes. For instance, a 2009 study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found a link between potato consumption and waist circumference in women. Earlier data from the Nurses’ Health Study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2006, linked potato intake and the risk of type 2 diabetes in obese women.

Not all studies support the idea that high glycemic index diets let alone potatoes in particular have such adverse effects. Several have found no relationship between high glycemic index diets and body fat or diabetes. In any case, the glycemic index of potatoes and other foods depends on many factors, including how they’re cooked and what they’re eaten with. And not all varieties have such a high glycemic index. Russet potatoes do, for example, but red potatoes rank moderately.

The excessive consumption of white potatoes may be problematic in some situations, due to the amount of insulin resistance and visceral fat which makes some more sensitive to their high glycemic load. People also vary in their responses to carbohydrates, and some research suggests that potatoes may be more problematic in overweight and sedentary people, who are more likely to have insulin resistance.

How the potatoes are prepared is a factor. Most Americans eat the highly processed version of the white potato, like french fries and potato chips. The consumption of this processed form has been linked to obesity and an increased diabetes risk. The effects of potatoes are from those of other foods in a typical Western diet. That is, the undesirable associations seen in some studies are due to the meat, refined grains, sugars and trans fats as in French fries in a “meat and potatoes” diet, rather than eating the potatoes alone. Eating potatoes with animal products like meat causes the insulin spike to double then eating potatoes alone. As in the case of white rice, its consumption and the rise of diabetes is connected to the rising meat comsumption.

White potatoes are a high glycemic food, and high dietary glycemic load is associated with risk of diabetes, heart disease, multiple cancers, and overall chronic disease. Diabetics and those who need to lose weight on a low carb diet should avoid them. A new study suggests that eating foods like white potatoes, white bread, and red meat increases the risk of developing kidney cancer. Eating red meat increases a person's risk of developing the most common type of kidney cancer, Milk, yogurt, red meat, and poultry consumption were positively associated with kidney cancer. White potato consumption may be associated with a fifty percent increased risk of kidney cancer, perhaps because of it’s high glycemic load. The glycemic load doubles when eaten with meat.

In the research in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association with principal investigator Dr. Nabih R. Asal of the University of Florida, Gainesville and associates found that people who ate lots of white potatoes and white bread were at greater risk of the disease than their peers who ate these foods less frequently. The relationship was particularly strong among women.

Eating cruciferous vegetables provide a protective effect. Cabbage has a number of anti-cancer compounds, like lupeol, sinigrin, and sulforaphane, which are known to stimulate enzyme activity and inhibit the growth of tumors, which can lead to cancer. One study, performed primarily on Chinese women, showed a significant reduction in breast cancer when cruciferous vegetables like cabbage were regularly added to their diet.

The white potatoes should be eaten in moderation especially for those with insulin resistance. White potatoes contain a few phytonutrients so is good to add green herbs to increase the phytonutrients and nut creams to lower the glycemic load. Cruciferous vegetables like cabbage removes kidney cancer possibilities. Eat white potatoes with cabbage and not with meat.

Russet potatoes have been historically classified as high on the glycemic index; however, this classification may not be valid because glycemic index values were estimated either from studies using non-United States Russet potato varieties or incorrect methods for measuring glycemic index. The first study to examine the glycemic index of the US Russet Potato using valid methodology was published in April 2005 and showed that the glycemic index of the US Russet Potato was considerably less than has been frequently reported in the literature. The study also demonstrated that the glycemic index values of potatoes can vary greatly depending on the variety and method of preparation. The glycemic index also lacks support from the scientific community and the recently revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans discredits the glycemic index as a method for determining what foods to eat. Americans are encouraged to consume a balanced diet that contains a wide variety of foods while staying within their energy requirements.

After an extensive review of the scientific research regarding carbohydrate intake and diabetes, the American Diabetes Association concluded that, for people with diabetes, the total amount of carbohydrate in meals and snacks, rather than the type, is more important in determining the blood sugar glycemic response. People with diabetes need not avoid potatoes. They primarily need to avoid oils and fats.

Potatoe Nutrition

Sweet potatoes are a very health promoting food, and are an inexpensive cheap source of nutrients. The predominant protein in sweet potatoes may even have cancer fighting properties. Boiling may be the best way to cook sweet potatoes to preserve all the nutrients. The traditional diet in Okinawa (where some of the longest living people were once found) revolved around purple sweet potatoes. Microwaving a sweet potato and adding some cinnamon and cloves is a cheap, simple, easy snack loaded with antioxidants. Sweet potatoes can be considered a superfood. They are one of the healthiest and cheapest vegetables on the planet. A study out of the University of Washington aimed to identify which vegetables provided the most nutrients per dollar. The healthiest foods, like dark green leafy vegetables, may also be the cheapest, and the highest nutrient-rich food scores per dollar were obtained for sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes are not just packed with nutrition but may also have special cancer fighting properties. In 1931, a unique protein was discovered in sweet potatoes. It turns out that 80% of the protein in sweet potatoes is a type of protease inhibitor with potential anticancer effects. These proteins were originally tested against leukemia and appeared to suppress the growth of leukemia cells in a petri dish.

White potatoes and sweet potatoes have complementary macro nutritional differences. For instance, sweet potatoes have more fiber and vitamin A, but white potatoes are higher in essential minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and potassium. As for the glycemic index, sweet potatoes are lower on the scale, but baked white potatoes typically aren’t eaten without cheese, sour cream, or butter. These toppings all contain fat, which lowers the glycemic index of a meal.

Potatoes provide the carbohydrate, potassium and energy that we need to perform at our best. More energy-packed than any other popular vegetable, potatoes have even more potassium than a banana.

Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C (45% of the DV), which is more vitamin C than one medium tomato (40% DV) or sweet potato (30% DV). Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant stabilizing free radicals, thus helping prevent cellular damage. It aids in collagen production; assists with iron absorption; and helps heal wounds and keep your gums healthy. Vitamin C may help support the body’s immune system.

One medium potato with the skin contributes 2 grams of fiber or 8% of the daily value per serving. Dietary fiber is a complex carbohydrate and is the part of the plant material that cannot be digested and absorbed in the bloodstream. Soluble fiber may help with weight loss as it makes you feel full longer, and research has shown it also may help lower blood cholesterol.

Potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6 with one medium potato providing 10% of the recommended daily value. Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays important roles in carbohydrate and protein metabolism. It helps the body make nonessential amino acids needed to make various body proteins; it is a cofactor for several co-enzymes involved in energy metabolism; and is required for the synthesis of hemoglobin, an essential component of red blood cells.

One medium potato provides 6% of the recommended daily value of iron.

Potatoes rank highest for foods with potassium and are among the top 20 most frequently consumed raw vegetables and fruits. A potato has more potassium than a banana. One medium potato with skin provides 620 milligrams or 18% of the recommended daily value (DV) of potassium per serving and is considered one of the best foods with potassium. Potassium is a mineral that is part of every body cell. It helps regulate fluids and mineral balance in and out of cells and in doing so, helps maintain normal blood pressure. Potassium is also vital for transmitting nerve impulses or signals, and in helping muscles contract.

Potassium is a powerful dietary factor that may help lower blood pressure. Few Americans are getting the recommended 4700 milligrams per day of potassium they need. One medium potato with skin provides 620 milligrams or 18% of the recommended daily value (DV) of potassium per serving and is considered one of the best foods with potassium. Potatoes rank highest for foods with potassium and are among the top 20 most frequently consumed raw vegetables and fruits. Potassium is a mineral that is part of every body cell. It helps regulate fluids and mineral balance in and out of cells and in doing so, helps maintain normal blood pressure. Potassium is also vital for transmitting nerve impulses or signals, and in helping muscles contract.

Some research suggests that potatoes may help with weight control, good for weight loss. They rate high in satiety, meaning they help fill you up, so you may eat less. Potatoes also contain proteinase inhibitors, which may suppress appetite. And preliminary experimental work suggests that potato extracts may improve insulin sensitivity and decrease diabetes risk due to their polyphenols. There’s even a weight-loss supplement that contains a potato extract, which is claimed to act as an appetite suppressant, though there’s no evidence it works. More research is needed, certainly, to confirm any weight loss potential of potato extracts.

Potatoes are relatively low in calories, as low as 110. This is fewer than the calories in bread and rice. The problem is that potatoes are often prepared and served with lots of high-calorie ingredients. A 5-ounce potato with two tablespoons of butter and three tablespoons of sour cream has 415 calories and 30 grams of fat. A 5-ounce portion of hash browns, cooked in oil or butter, has 375 calories, while 5 ounces of fast-food French fries has 435 calories. Ounce for ounce, potato chips have more than five times as many calories as a plain potato.

Potatoes are also a good source of fiber, more potassium than bananas, and vitamin C, and they provide protein, iron, B vitamins (notably folate), and magnesium, along with other potentially beneficial plant compounds. The more colorful the potato, the higher the antioxidants.

Variety of potatoes is good in a healthy diet that’s rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains. Sweet potatoes are technically unrelated to potatoes, but are a nutritious vegetable that provides lots of beta carotene and other carotenoids.

Potatoe Diet

People do lose weight on a only potato diet. In the vegan diet the potatoes glycemic index is not a major concern. It is possible to live entirely on potatoes for a whole year without any additional food or protein source. Andrew Taylor has done this diet for a whole year, eating a variety of potatoes. The only supplement he needed was B12. The potato known for starch has all the essential amino acids for protein. Andrew did it

Andrew broke his one year potato only diet on January 2017. He averaged 70 grams of protein per day, exceeding the minimum requirements. He lost over 117 pounds, cured his food addiction, his depression and anxiety. He now sleeps better, has improved mental clarity and focus, his joint pains are gone, his cholesterol and blood pressure are way down. His blood test results continue to improve overall. He is fitter and healthier than he has ever been. ​about-spud-fit

Digestion of Potatoes

Eating meat and potatoes at the same meal may cause digestive problems. A Cutting out the meat and potatoes together is one highly effective way that Dr. William Howard Hay was able to recover his health, and loose weight. He had weighed 225 pounds and suffered from all sorts of medical conditions including a dilated heart, which he found out about while attempting to catch a fast-moving train. Using the simple plan of not eating proteins such as meat with starches, he began to treat himself and lost 50 pounds in about three months while recovering from his life-threatening heart condition. Dr. Hay then went on to create the Hay Diet.

The improper food combination of animal products with starches is a major issue of insulin release and food digestion. It is not desired to combine meat such as steak with high starch carbohydrates such as potatoes, or even buns with your hamburgers. Dr. Wayne Pickering theorizes that starches require an alkaline digestive medium to digest and meats require heavy acids to digest. When you mix meat and starches together in the same meal, Dr. Pickering says, your body chemistry does not allow them to mix at all. “They neutralize." That type of turmoil can consist of heartburn, discomforting gas, acid reflux, serious digestive issues and the body will be deprived of key nutrients from the food just ate.

There are enzymes that digest protein, enzymes that digest carbohydrates, and enzymes that digest fat. But the full array of enzymes is produced every time. The digestive system is capable of digesting a combination of protein and carbohydrates, but animal products requires higher acid digestion.

Resistant Starch in Potatoes

Fiber and Resistant Starch are food factors come with a host of powerful benefits. Resistant Starch helps make one healthier and thinner. Over the past several years there has been an exponential increase in the number of studies linking imbalances or disturbances of the gut microbiota to a wide range of diseases including obesity, inflammatory bowel diseases, depression and anxiety. One of the best ways to establish and support a healthy gut microbiome is by providing the right “foods” for your gut bacteria. These “foods” are called prebiotics.

Prebiotics are indigestible carbohydrates, or at least indigestible to us, that reach the colon intact and selectively feed many strains of beneficial bacteria. Prebiotics are generally classified into three different types: non-starch polysaccharides (such as insulin and fructooligosaccharide), soluble fiber (including psyllium husk and acacia fibers), and resistant starch. Each of these types of prebiotics feeds different species of gut bacteria, but among these, resistant starch is emerging as uniquely beneficial.

Resistant starch is a type of starch that is not digested in the stomach or small intestine, reaching the colon intact. Thus, it “resists” digestion. This explains why we do not see spikes in either blood glucose or insulin after eating resistant starch, and why we do not obtain significant calories from resistant starch.

There are four types of resistant starch:

Type 1: Starch is physically inaccessible, bound within the fibrous cell walls of plants. This is found in grains, seeds, and legumes.
Type 2: Starch with a high amylose content, which is indigestible in the raw state. This is found in potatoes, green (unripe) bananas, and plantains. Cooking these foods causes changes in the starch making it digestible to us, and removing the resistant starch.
Type 3: Also called retrograde resistant starch since this type of resistant starch forms after Type 1 or Type 2 resistant starch is cooked and then cooled. These cooked and cooled foods can be reheated at low temperatures, less than 130 degrees and maintain the benefits of resistant starch. Heating at higher temperatures will again convert the starch into a form that is digestible to us rather than “feeding” our gut bacteria. Once resistant starch reaches the large intestine, bacteria attach to and digest, or ferment, the starch. This is when we receive the benefits of resistant starch.

The normal human gut has hundreds of bacterial species, some good and some not so good. The overall number and relative quantity of each type has a profound effect on our health and well being. Resistant starch selectively stimulates the good bacteria in our intestines, helping to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria.

These good bacteria “feed” on resistant starch and produce short chain fatty acids (SCFAs) through fermentation, the most significant of which are acetate, butyrate, and propionate. Of these three short chain fatty acids, butyrate is of particular importance due to its beneficial effects on the colon and overall health, and resistant starch appears to increase butyrate production more when compared with other soluble fibers.

Butyrate is the preferred energy source of the cells lining the colon, and it also plays a number of roles in increasing metabolism, decreasing inflammation and improving stress resistance, as described in more detail below and previously in this great article by Stephan Guyenet.

Resistant starch helps to lower blood glucose levels and improve insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance and chronically elevated blood glucose are associated with a host of chronic diseases, including metabolic syndrome. Several studies have shown that resistant starch may improve insulin sensitivity, and decrease blood glucose levels in response to meals. In one study, consumption of 15 and 30 grams per day of resistant starch showed improved insulin sensitivity in overweight and obese men, equivalent to the improvement that would be expected with weight loss equal to approximately 10% of body weight.

Resistant starch has been shown to exert a “second meal effect.” This means that not only does resistant starch beneficially decrease the blood glucose response at the time it’s consumed, but, somewhat surprisingly, blood glucose and insulin levels also rise less than would otherwise be expected with the subsequent meal.

Several studies have shown alterations in the gut microbiome in association with obesity, which subsequently change towards that seen in lean individuals with weight loss. For example, one study demonstrated that the relative composition of the gut microbiota of two predominate beneficial bacteria, Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, varied considerably in association with body composition. Specifically, obese individuals often have a higher proportion of Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes, which may be reversed with weight loss, gastric bypass surgery, or treatment with prebiotics. However, not all studies confirm a significant or measurable change in the composition of the microbiome in obese compared to lean individuals, and further studies are needed.

Butyrate plays an important role in gut health and decreasing inflammation in the gut and other tissues. Resistant starch intake allows for increased production of butyrate by our gut microbes. Butyrate acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent for the colonic cells, and functions to improve the integrity of our gut by decreasing intestinal permeability and therefore keeping toxins in the gut and out of the bloodstream.

The short chain fatty acids that aren’t utilized by the colonic cells enter the bloodstream, travel to the liver, and spread throughout the body where they exert additional anti-inflammatory effects.

Resistant starch is also associated with decreased risk of colorectal cancer, thought to occur through several different mechanisms including: protection from DNA damage, favorable changes in gene expression, and increased apoptosis (programmed cell death) of cancerous or pre-cancerous cells. Some common food sources of resistant starch include cooked and cooled potatoes.

Studies indicate that the benefits of resistant starch may be seen when consuming around 15 to 30 grams daily,equivalent to two to four tablespoons of potato starch. This may be too much for some people to tolerate, particularly in the setting of gut dysbiosis, and going above this amount is not necessarily beneficial.

Pesticides in Potatoes

White potatoes have glycoalkaloids, which has been suggested to be harmful to humans. Peeling white potatoes may remove three-quarters of the glycoalkaloids. Purple potatoes decrease inflammation.

Conventionally grown potatoes may contain pesticides. If you soak potatoes in water, only about 2 to 13% of the pesticides are removed; a 5% acetic acid (vinegar) removes up to 100%. Salt water, appears to work as good or better than full-strength vinegar.

According to the USDA’s Pesticide Data Program, 35 different pesticides have been found on conventional potatoes.
– 6 are known or probably carcinogens
– 12 are suspected hormone disruptors
– 7 are neurotoxins
– 6 are developmental or reproductive toxins

The chemical that is found on 76% of all conventional potatoes is chlorpropham, an herbicide that is used to stop the growth of weeds and to inhibit potato sprouting. Not only is this chemical toxic to honey bees, but according to the Extension Toxicology Network, chronic exposure of laboratory animals to chlorpropham has caused “retarded growth, increased liver, kidney and spleen weights, congestion of the spleen, and death.”

As a root vegetable, potatoes absorb all of the pesticides, herbicides, and insecticides that are sprayed above the ground and then eventually make their way into the soil. With potatoes, however, the chemical treatment is quite extensive. During growing season, they get treated with fungicides. Before harvesting they get sprayed with herbicides to kill off the fibrous vines. After being dug up they get sprayed again to prevent them from sprouting.

Jeff Moyer, farm director at the Rodale Institute and former chair of the National Organic Standards Board, has been quoted as saying “I’ve talked with potato growers who say point-blank they would never eat the potatoes they sell. They have separate plots where they grow potatoes for themselves without all the chemicals.”

Organic production does not allow for the use of all of these toxic chemicals. But organic does not equal chemical and pesticide-free. Organic chemicals and pesticides often have to be sprayed much more often in order to be effective and are about as toxic to humans consuming them as inorganic chemicals. Organic farming uses its own set of pesticides fungicides insecticides herbicides. Sometimes these are often just as toxic if not more toxic than conventional alternatives.

Pesticide residues are constantly monitored by the government and are found to be orders of magnitude below what is not represent a level that would do any harm to humans. In. In short you do not understand what you’re talking about and should refrain from trying to scare the public in order to make a living.

Grow your own potatoes, keep them watered all summer, then dig them up in the Fall.

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