It’s one of the biggest Paleo controversies: Are white potatoes safe to add to your diet? As I’ll explain, the answer isn’t a simple yes or no. (And no matter which side you come down on, you’ll love today’s Paleo-to-the-core sweet potato dish.)
When it comes to organs, your heart gets all the love. Heck, we even exchange heart-shaped cards on Valentine’s Day.…
Aromatic Sweet Potato Salad
Written by Dr. Kellyann Petrucci
When I tell patients they can eat a potato, I get a look like Bruce Willis had in the film The Sixth Sense. In the end, Bruce was stunned to find out things were definitely not as they had appeared. Well, same thing here. I say potato, and it brings on a seemingly outer body experience to my audience.
This merits a conversation. Meet the real potato:
I happen to love potatoes. I prefer sweet potatoes because they are slightly more nutritious than white potatoes, and well, if you know me, that’s just me. However, if there is a clean recipe made with white potatoes, or I am at a restaurant and that’s all they serve, and I happen to need a jolt of energy, I go for white! Before you delete me from your Facebook feed, let me tell you why:
Sweet potatoes are slightly more nutritious than regular potatoes because they have more vitamin A in them (hence the orange skin). Otherwise, they are pretty much in a dead heat with white potatoes if you look at the nutrition facts. The fact that white potatoes are well, white – has nothing to do with the nutrition in them, they were just born white! (Think cauliflower here). There is some vitamin C in white potatoes, but definitely a predominance of A in the sweet potatoes making them more nutritious.
Carbohydrates are a pretty level playing field as well. Per 100 grams, sweet potatoes have about 20 grams of carbs, and white potatoes about 17 grams of carbs, with about equal fiber in both.
White potatoes have slightly more glucose as it’s starch, and sweet potatoes have slightly more fructose. This causes white potatoes to have a higher glycemic index. Keep in mind though, because fructose is not as efficient or absorbable in the body as glucose, white potatoes may not necessarily be unhealthy even with a slightly higher glycemic index, unless you have blood sugar issues to begin with. Remember my post on sugar, its important to always recognize the source of the starch or sugar, and understand how it plays out in your body.
When are white and sweet potatoes off limits:
When you are trying to flush fat. When you eat potatoes, yes … the fat-burning process stops. If you want to lean out, these are off the mark. Unless you are training hard and need to re-fuel, then potatoes are my favorite food for recovery. But just understand – your body stops burning fat. If you want to push your body into ketosis, or are on a ketogenic diet, then you definitely want to avoid potatoes.
Anyone with metabolic disorders like diabetes (severe) should limit them.
When white potatoes are off limits:
White potatoes are a nightshade vegetable, which means they contain types of chemicals called glycoalkaloids, which can trigger symptoms in people who are intolerant to them. Nightshades are bad news if you have an autoimmune disorder, or have chronic inflammation, and may play a role in chronic joint pain, so heads up on this one. Here’s an important point to note, though: Most of the glycoalkaloids in potatoes are in the skin of the potato, so you could just peel your potatoes to avoid the vast majority of them.
Both types of potatoes can be beneficial as long as you keep your heads up on the off-limits list and watch the serving sizes (Females approximately 1 cup; males approximately 1 ½ cups) and adjust to your activity/energy levels. Also, don’t push non-starchy vegetables that are loaded with nutrients off your plate to make room for more potatoes; keep these starchy vegetables in perspective.
Potato Verdict: They are a Dr. Kellyann-approved Real Food.
So now that you got the lowdown, check out this recipe — besides its nutritional value, it smells great (better than an apple pie in the oven!).
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