In this detailed guide, we will talk about potato nutrition, different types, and healthy potato recipes.
You will often hear people say, “You cannot lose weight if you eat potato” or “Having potato will ruin all your weight loss plans”. Are such claims true?
We have put together this write-up to find out whether consuming potato really makes us gain weight or it’s just a myth.
So, here’s everything you need to know about potatoes.
- 1 Potato Nutrition Facts and Information
- 2 Types of Potatoes
- 3 How Should you have Potatoes (3 Recipes)
Potato Nutrition Facts and Information
Unpeeled cooked potatoes are rich sources of a series of minerals and vitamins.
Besides, this vegetable has high water content when fresh.
Potato is primarily made up of carbohydrates and includes moderate amounts of fiber and protein. Its fat content is, however, almost negligible.
The facts below would give you a clearer idea:
Two-third cup or 100 grams of unpeeled boiled potatoes (cooked without salt) contains:
- 87 calories
- 77% of water
- 20.1 grams of carbohydrate
- 1.8 grams of fiber
- 1.9 grams of protein
- 0.1 grams of fat
Read on to know more about the macro and micronutrients present in potato.
As mentioned above, potato is mainly made up of carbohydrates. To be more precise, 66 to 90% of a potato’s dry weight comes from its carb content.
The biggest portion of these carbs is starch. Other than that, potato also contains simple sugars like glucose, sucrose, and fructose in small quantities.
Potato is positioned pretty high on the GI or glycemic index. This makes them a bad food choice for diabetics.
For those who don’t know, the glycemic index measures how strongly a food item can affect the post-meal increase of our blood sugar levels.
Here, we would like to mention that you can reduce the effect of potatoes on your blood sugar levels by cooling them after cooking. The GI of cooked potatoes at room temperature is around 25 to 26% lesser than the GI of hot boiled potatoes.
Potatoes are never described as high-fiber food. However, they can act as a rich source of fiber when consumed regularly.
The quantity of fiber is maximum in the potato skin. Around 50% of dried skins of potato is made up of fiber.
The fibers present in potato, for instance, hemicellulose, cellulose, pectin, etc. are primarily insoluble.
Additionally, the vegetable is also a potent source of resistant starch. It’s a fiber known for feeding the good bacteria present in our gut. This means resistant starch is good for our digestive health.
The quantity of resistant starch is higher in cooled potatoes compared to the hot ones. That’s the reason why the cooled potatoes have a lower glycemic index.
The protein content of potatoes is not too high. They have much less protein compared to food crops like corn, rice, and wheat.
The protein content of fresh potatoes is 1 to 1.5%. However, when the measurement is done based on the vegetable’s dry weight, its protein content becomes 8 to 9%.
What is worth remembering here is that the protein present in potatoes is of very high quality.
You will struggle to find a plant source offering such high-quality protein. Even soybeans and most legumes lag.
The primary protein found in potatoes is known as patatin. Some people might be allergic to this protein type.
Vitamins & Minerals
Potatoes contain a range of essential vitamins and minerals. They are:
- Potassium: This one is the main mineral found in potatoes and is responsible for making them a good food option for patients with heart disease.
You will find the maximum amount of potassium in the skin of this veggie.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is the primary vitamin found in potatoes.
The presence of vitamin C makes potato a potent remedy for skin conditions like freckles and hyper pigmentation. Topical application of grated potato or potato juice can lighten these dark spots on our skin notably.
- Folate: This nutrient is present primarily in the skin of potatoes having colored flesh.
The quantity of some of these nutrients drops significantly during cooking.
You can minimize this drop in the nutritional value of potatoes by boiling or baking the vegetables without peeling their skin.
Other Beneficial Plant Compounds
You will find a series of bioactive plant compounds in potatoes, specifically in their skin.
The potato variants with red or purple skin contain these compounds in the highest quantity.
The most beneficial plant compounds found in potatoes are polyphenols like catechin and lutein.
Types of Potatoes
If we had to elaborate on what potatoes are, then these come under root vegetables that belong to the family, Solanum tuberosum.
It’s nothing but a small plant with large leaves.
Most of the times, the part of the potato that people eat is tuber. Such a kind of portion grows below the ground level.
As far as the constituents are concerned, these vegetables contain starch and carbohydrates.
They are light brown in color with a yellowish skin.
In case the potato is exposed to light, the tuber starts becoming blue in color and makes the vegetable unhealthy.
Basically, potatoes come under two different categories, starchy and waxy. You can also think about a category in between the ones mentioned above.
It has been observed that there are 200 different varieties of potatoes found in the United States. Depending on the texture and ingredient functionality, they are classified into different categories.
So, let’s dive deep into the different types of potatoes –
As the name implies, starchy potatoes are always high in starch. The varieties include Idahos, yams, Russets, and sweet potato.
Due to less moisture content, these vegetables are the most suitable ones for baking, mashing, boiling, and frying.
An individual couldn’t determine the shape because the potato flakes easily separate soon after cooking.
If you are thinking about the health benefits, then starchy potatoes can help in resolving bowel irregularities and problems pertaining to digestion. Besides it, you can read more health benefits of potato starch here.
With other ingredients like cucumber, a person can also use the starch for preparing a face mask.
Starchy Potatoes Nutrition Facts
If you consider 1 tablespoon of mashed starchy potatoes, then the calorie intake is as much as 40 calories. The person can expect around 10 grams of carbohydrates with little dietary fiber. The figures are a little more when compared to cornstarch.
As compared to starchy potatoes, waxy potatoes are low in starch, but contain high amount of sugar and moisture.
These are generally smaller and spherical in shape due to a thin skin and smooth texture.
Red bliss or French fingerling are the most common varieties of waxy potatoes.
Since these retain the shape even after they have been cooked, these are can be included in salads or gratins.
Waxy Potatoes Nutrition Facts
Waxy or new potatoes contain less starch and often have a moist as well as creamy flesh.
While the calories of new potatoes are around 100 calories, these have Vitamin C and potassium in significant amounts.
Popularly known as Yukon Golds, the all-purpose potatoes are less starchy and are far more capable to retain the shape.
But, these are very much fluffy and absorbent, thus making them ideal for a potato dish.
You can always use them in a different kind of recipe once they are mashed well.
Known as Idaho potatoes, Russets are relatively larger in size, and have a brown skin.
In our opinions, these are best for mashing, frying and baking. Chunks fall apart easily once these are boiled for some time and are fluffy.
Sweet Potatoes & Yams
These tubers could be served as a part of a dessert because of the sweetness.
Basically, these come under two types – oblong shaped potatoes and boniato.
While the first type has a reddish-brown skin and a sweet orange flesh, the other type has a dry flesh and a light tan skin. Both the types can be roasted, baked, steamed, mashed, boiled, or pureed. You can also use them for making noodles.
If you take care of removing the dry skin, then you can roast them for a delicious and lip-smacking treat. Additionally, they help to enhance health because they are fibrous and are packed with loads of nutrients.
Yams, on the other hand, are less sweeter than sweet potatoes. The flesh may sport different color shades, ranging from milky white to dark red.
In case you can’t source sweet potatoes at the market, then yams could be considered for recipes.
These round, thin-skinned potatoes bear a waxy flesh that can be cooked. While these are suitable for crispy roasted potatoes, they can be boiled for stews and soups.
One red potato which weighs 5.2 ounces has 110 calories and is a rich source of potassium and Vitamin C.
Apart from other nutrients, these are known to be a good source of Vitamin B6, and are free of fat, cholesterol and sodium.
It’s never a good idea to eat raw potatoes. But, in case you are going to smash or boil them for the side dish you have been thinking about, then let’s look at the nutritional facts.
Red Potato Nutrition Facts
The mashed potatoes nutrition fact sheet states almost 200 calories, 4 grams of protein, 35 grams of carbohydrates, and 12.5 milligrams of Vitamin C.
On the other hand, one medium sized baked potato has just 110 calories and zero percent fat as well as cholesterol. It can also furnish the body with half amount of required Vitamin C.
In case you would have to consider a large boiled potato, then it has 261 calories, 3 grams of fat with the skin left as it is. But, if you peel off the skin, then there’s no difference in the calorie and only half gram of protein is retained.
Boasting a round or oblong shape, white potatoes have a thin skin and is waxy in texture.
The variants are broadly classified under those of White Rose and Finnish yellow. Since they can be used for different purposes, they can be boiled, sauteed or steamed.
Yukon Gold is yet another variety that has a tender pale yellow skin. They are much expensive because of the creamy gold flesh and a butter like flavor.
So, if you are thinking about a nutty taste, then you should add them to mashed cauliflower potatoes.
White Potatoes Nutrition Facts
As far as white potato nutrition is concerned, then a small potato has 17 milligrams of Vitamin C as well as 52 milligrams of folate.
While the dietary fibers are as much as 2.9 grams, 751 milligrams is the weight of potassium present in the potatoes.
Besides, these are fat-free and helpful to reduce the risks of hart strokes owing to 10 milligrams of sodium.
As it means through the name, purple potatoes have a dark purple colored skin and a starchy flesh along with a slight nutty flavor.
Extra antioxidants from anthocyanins is what makes this type unique.
So, when you think about following a balance diet, you should add these to boost the dose of health benefits.
Purple potatoes Nutrition Facts
You can always be amazed with incredible health benefits of eating purple potatoes. But, the only thing that distinguishes purple potatoes from white potatoes is the antioxidant content.
The purple ones contain four times more antioxidants than white ones.
Moreover, the calorie intake is 52 calories, carbohydrates are 12 grams, protein content is 1.4 grams, and Vitamin C is present as less as 6.5 milligrams.
But, comparatively, potassium constitutes 341 milligrams. Magnesium is also present in significant amounts because it is 16.5 milligrams in weight.
Whenever you come across all purpose potatoes, these contain zero grams of fat and cholesterol. While the sodium content is 5 mg, potassium is as much as 680 mg.
These can contribute to the overall development of the body due to 3 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.
The findings are based on 1 medium size potato weighing 148 grams.
How Should you have Potatoes (3 Recipes)
Do you want to ensure that you can consume potatoes without suffering from obesity, diabetes, or cardiovascular diseases?
You can do that seamlessly by staying away from potato chips, French fries, and other forms of fried potatoes. Those food items are sources of various unhealthy compounds and contain a high quantity of trans fat.
Instead, you can try the following recipes:
Recipe #1: Baked Potatoes
You can avoid weight gain and acquire maximum nutrition from potatoes by consuming baked potato wedges.
Baking is in fact a great alternative to frying potatoes as the latter would add extra calories to the meal in the form of oil.
You cannot fry potatoes without filling your pan with enough oil. Baking, on the contrary, requires only a few drops of oil.
To prepare this dish, you will have to cut the potatoes into small pieces and wash them well.
Now, add your favorite herbs (chili flakes, oregano, thyme, etc.), salt, and freshly crushed black pepper to the potato wedges.
Cover the wedges well with all the dry ingredients before putting them into the oven.
Bake the potatoes for 30 to 40 minutes. The yummy wedges are now ready to be served.
Recipe #2: Potato Salad
This recipe involves the use of boiled potatoes and thus is extremely healthy.
If you want the dish to be more nutritious, you can add the potatoes without peeling their skin.
Put four potatoes in a large pot and fill it with enough water to submerge the potatoes. Heat the potatoes until the water starts boiling.
Now, simmer over medium heat till the potatoes become tender. This should take around 20 minutes.
Take out the potatoes form the water and allow them to cool. Based on your preference (and need), you may or may not peel the potatoes.
Cut the potatoes into one-inch pieces and put them into a large bowl.
Add some Greek yogurt, parsley, celery, cornichons, and onion and fold the potatoes in. Season the salad with pepper and salt.
Having a bowl of this salad will keep you full for 5 to 6 hours. You can prepare the salad ahead, refrigerate it overnight, and have it the next morning.
Recipe #3: Healthy Mashed Potatoes
Cut 3 medium sized potatoes into two-inch chinks and boil them for 30 minutes. Once the potatoes are tender, drain and cool them.
Now, peel the potatoes and mash them using your potato masher.
Take the mashed potatoes in a large bowl and add two tablespoons of milk to it (you can add almond milk if you are allergic to dairy products). Blend the two ingredients well until the potatoes becomes smooth and buttery.
Add some parsley, pepper, salt, and olive oil and mix again. If you are not looking to lose weight, you can add half a teaspoon of butter to the mix. This will do no harm to your health.
Your healthy mashed potato is now ready. You can have it with multigrain bread or as it is.
Can Potatoes Make You Gain Weight?
People who claim that eliminating potatoes from your diet is mandatory for losing weight are both wrong and right. Read on to find out how.
Indeed, carbs often turn out to be the main culprit for people struggling to lose weight or experiencing a constant increase in weight.
However, that should not make you eliminate them from your diet chart.
You must remember that glucose is the fuel that allows you to perform all your daily jobs. And the only way you can get glucose is by consuming carbs.
Several studies conducted over the years have confirmed that potatoes have nothing to do with weight gain.
These vegetables can make you feel full for a long time. It’s a feature that makes them a good food option for people looking to shed pounds.
This means even if you are following a fat loss diet, you can afford to have some potatoes every day. The only thing you will have to make sure is that you are not consuming the vegetable in an unhealthy way.
Is Potato Good for you?
Plain baked potato is always considered as a healthy foodstuff. Apart from offering Vitamin B6, Vitamin C and iron, the vegetables are supposed to be rich in potassium, starch and fiber. The antioxidants promote cardiovascular health and keep the person fit all year round.
The above discussion must have helped you to understand that potatoes don’t make you gain weight. You will gain weight only if you have potatoes in the wrong way.
The good news is that if you know the art of portion control, you can make this vegetable a part of your daily diet.
If you are looking to maintain weight, having a couple of medium-sized boiled or baked potatoes every day would not trigger weight gain.
And if you are looking to lose weight, you can have one medium sized potato every day without any hesitation.