Although popular, potatoes have been the subject of much unfair criticism regarding their role in weight loss, low GI and low carbohydrate diets. However, it is evident from their ‘stand-out’ nutritional qualities that they fit well into a balanced diet.
The facts are:
‘A high intake of fruit and vegetables reduces the risk of
coronary heart disease’
This is a recognised high level health claim and guess what? The potato is a vegetable.
‘Fruit and vegetables automatically qualify for the Heart Foundation Tick’
This is a trusted, independent, not-for profit program and guess what? The potato is a vegetable.
Nutritional Value of Potato
|Quantity per serving||% Daily Intake (per serving)||Quantity per 100g (or 100ml)|
|Energy||421.5 kj (100.8 cal)||5%||281 kj (67 cal)|
|Protein||3.57 g||8%||2.5 g|
|Fat, total||0 g||0%||0 g|
|– saturated||0 g||0%||0 g|
|Carbohydrate||19.2 g||6%||12.4 g|
|– sugars||0.6 g||1%||0.4 g|
|Sodium||4.5 mg||0%||3 mg|
|Vitamin C||31.5 mg||70%||21 mg|
|Fibre||3.45 g||12%||2.3 g|
Cooking method was boiled with skin on as this is the preferred preparation method. Percentage daily intakes are based on an average (8700kj) may be higher or lower depending on your energy levels. Percentage Recommended Dietary Intakes (RDI) were calculated using the schedule Standard 1.1.1 of the FSC.
How Many Kilojoules KJ in a Potato?
One medium size potato has around 420 Kilojoules. This is the same amount of energy as approximately 100 grams of pasta. Kilojoules are a unit of measurement for energy and are often used by nutritionists to calculate the amount of energy in food.
|Nutrient||Potato, non specified type, boiled, no added salt/fat (100g)|
How Many Calories in a Potato?
One large potato has about 110 calories. Most of the calories in a potato come from the carbs it contains. A small baked potato with skin has 26 grams of carbs, while a large baked potato with skin has 37 grams of carbs.
One small potato will have about 67 calories and a medium potato will have 85 calories.
The majority of the carbs in a potato are in the form of starch. A small baked potato with skin has 2 grams of fiber, while a large baked potato with skin has 3 grams of fiber.
One way to reduce the number of calories in a potato is to remove the skin before eating it. The skin of a potato contains a lot of the starch and some of the fiber.
A small baked potato with the skin removed has 19 grams of carbs, while a large baked potato with the skin removed has 28 grams of carbs.
Another way to reduce the number of calories in a potato is to eat it without adding any additional toppings or seasonings. This will help lower the calories
|Nutrient||Small Potato, boiled, no added salt/fat (100g)|
Health Benefits of Potatoes
- 99.9% fat free
- Gluten free
- Less calories than rice and pasta
- Cholesterol free
- Very low in salt (sodium)
- More fibre than five bananas
- More potassium than a banana
- Twice the Vitamin C of blueberries, more Vitamin C than an orange
Potato Glycemic Index (GI)
Children all over the world eat the versatile potato with little complaint, but in the adult developed world, many consumers have discarded potatoes from their diets because they believe that potatoes are fattening, high in “bad carbs” and full of “empty” calories. There is also a lot of discussion about foods which are high or low GI.
The GI is proposed as tool to rank foods based on their immediate effect on blood sugar levels and to evaluate low-GI foods based on the speed at which they enter the bloodstream.
The GI ratings are:
- High GI > 70
- Medium GI 56-69
- Low GI < 55
The potato has a GI of 65-101 and is generally considered to be a high GI food although this is dependent on variety and cooking method. Not all potatoes fall into this category and some potato varieties have actually been tested and given a “low” glycemic index. There is large variability and it is influenced by methodology.
However, the index has some limitations in its use. The index does not reflect the glycemic variation in potatoes due to factors such as variety, country of origin, processing or preparation techniques. It is known that the GI of cooled potatoes is significantly lower compared with potatoes consumed immediately after cooking. Cold storage can also reduce GI values.
The GI does not reflect the nutrient content of food. Many nutrient poor, high energy foods such as chocolate have a low GI, and so the overall health benefits of a food cannot be based on this index alone.
In addition, eating potato with other foods, often lowers the overall GI value substantially.
Potatoes also get a bad ‘rap’ because of the heavy foods associated with them including butter, margarine, sour cream, cheese, bacon and fatty oils. For this reason, potatoes have been blamed for weight gain. However, when cooked simply in their skins, the potato is a vitamin tablet, a nutritious way of receiving your dietary fibre and carbohydrate requirements and a healthy choice in any diet. In fact, the potato is a nutrient-dense food which means that for the amount of calories it contains, it provides a good nutritional return.
Potatoes boiled with their skin on are actually naturally free of fat. However, the choice of cooking method affects overall fat content.
This table illustrates these variations per 100g of potato:
|Cooking method||Fat content (grams)|
|Baked Jacket Potato||0.3|
|Fat Chips (Fish & Chip Shop)||9|
|Peeled & Roasted||5|