As I was roasting some sweet potatoes last night in a bed of chopped onions, I came to the realization that we simply don't give potatoes much love anymore, do we? Ever since the health conscious become obsessed with starving themselves on high protein, low carb diets, the good ol' potato got the boot. But what these high-protein lovers forgot to mention was they had fewer than 3 (if that) bowel movements per week due to lack of fiber and were dumb (sorry) as a stump, due to lack of glucose from carbohydrates -- the primary fuel source for your brain. Don't feel bad, I've done my share of ridiculous diets too.
So I decided that I need to write a little post about potatoes. Someone's gotta do it, otherwise the gossip-mongering potato haters will keep you thinking that taters make you fat and are full of sugar.
Here's the deal. Potatoes are naturally higher on the glycemic index than other fruits and veggies. <Side note: The glycemic index measures the speed at which sugar in food causes your blood sugar to spike.> However, chromium, a mineral found in the SKIN of potatoes is incredible for balancing blood sugar. It enhances the action of insulin which carries glucose into the cell to be used as energy. (More detailed description here). BINGO! Case in point:
White potato no skin: 98 on the G.I. scale (glucose is 100)
White potato WITH skin: 69
Don't you just love how nature makes perfect sense? GASP! It's not the potato that's to blame, it's the processing. The truth is, most people are not eating a potato with it's skin. The average person is eating french fries and mashed potatoes which equates to a lovely dose of blood sugar and unhealthy fats. Excess sugar in the blood stream, if not used for energy (and most of us have too much of it) gets stored as FAT.