So yesterday was apparently International Fries day, and as a happy coincidence this is what I plated up for dinner.
I must say its not something I'd regularly cook, but last night I was really craving some tater-y goodness. These fries are a far cry from the ones you would get at Maccas, but they were delicious just the same.
Now, white potatoes have taken a beating in the media over the last few years and many people now avoid them because they are concerned about the carbohydrates, the high glycaemic index and the potato glycoalkaloids (alko-what now? More on this later) ...but is it justified? Lets take a look.
Originating in South America, potatoes are a starchy, tuberous crop from the nightshade family and have been a dietary staple for thousands of years.
Lets take a look at the nutrition of a small white potato (150 g):
420 kJ (100 calories)
3.5 g protein
Very low in fat, with less than half a gram
3.5 g of fibre
Low in salt
31.5 mg of Vitamin C (70% of RDI)
645 mg of Potassium ( 23% of RDI for women, 17% of RDI for men)
0.2 mg of Vitamin B6 (15 % of RDI)
That's not too shabby. So a small potato contains more potassium than a banana, and more vitamin C than an orange! Potassium is a very important nutrient that can help decrease your blood pressure and reduce your chance of stroke, and unfortunately most of us aren't eating enough.
Potatoes also score very highly on the satiety index, meaning they fill you up and keep you full. In fact potatoes score almost 2.5 times higher than other carbohydrate sources like rice and pasta. This means potatoes could have a key role in weight management by helping control our appetite.
But here's the problem
The devil is in the detail. How you prepare a potato can either turn this food into a nutritious and delicious dinner OR turn it into a health disaster. If you load your potatoes up with salt, oil, sour cream or bacon bits all the potassium in the world isn't going to save you. Additionally processed potato products do not have the same satiety - you can easily overeat. Let's take a look at the difference in fat content, depending on cooking method: