Researchers from the University of California at Davis and the Illinois Institute of Technology confirmed that the beloved potato can still be part of a weight loss plan and that people do not gain weight if they eat potatoes as part of a healthy diet. One medium-size (5.3 ounce) skin-on potato contains 110 calories per serving, boasts more potassium (620g) than a banana, provides almost half the daily value of vitamin C (45 percent), and contains no fat, sodium or cholesterol.
“Some people have questioned the role of potatoes in a weight loss regimen because of the vegetable’s designation as a high glycemic index food,” explained Dr. Britt Burton-Freeman, PhD, the lead investigator of the study. “However, the results of this study confirm what health professionals and nutrition experts have said for years: it is not about eliminating a certain food or food groups, rather, it is reducing calories that count,” said Burton-Freeman.
The study consisted of assigning ninety overweight men and women were randomly assigned to one of three groups:
(1) reduced calorie/high GI,
(2) reduced calorie/low GI,
(3) control group with no calorie or GI restrictions.
All three groups were provided with potatoes, healthy recipes and instructions to consume 5-7 servings of potatoes per week. At the end of the 12-week study period, the researchers found that all three groups had lost weight and there was no significant difference in weight loss between the groups.
“There is no evidence that potatoes, when prepared in a healthful manner, contribute to weight gain. In fact, we are seeing that they can be part of a weight loss program,” said Burton-Freeman.
Jody M. Randolph, Indika Edirisinghe, Amber M. Masoni, Tissa Kappagoda, Britt Burton-Freeman. Potatoes, Glycemic Index, and Weight Loss in Free-Living Individuals: Practical Implications. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2014; 1 DOI: 10.1080/07315724.2013.875441