Potatoes (by NESHMIA)
Many people fear that potatoes will make them fat or cause other health problems. Are potatoes really such villains? Discover here that whether potatoes are better or worse than bread, rice, or other starchy grains
Potatoes have a bad reputation, in part, because they have a high glycemic index (GI), meaning that their carbohydrates are quickly broken down into sugar, causing blood sugar and insulin levels to rise rapidly. This, in turn, increases fat storage and the risk of obesity and diabetes at least in theory. A few studies have implicated potatoes in weight gain and diabetes. For instance, a 2009 study found a link between potato consumption and waist circumference in women (but not men). In 2006, another study linked potato intake and the risk of type 2 diabetes in obese women especially when potatoes were eaten in place of whole grains.
But there are plenty of facts to consider before you drop the potato. For one, not all studies support the idea that high GI diets – let alone potatoes, in particular – have such adverse effects. Several have found no relationship between high GI-diets and body fat or diabetes. In any case, the GI of potatoes (and other foods) depends on many factors, including how they're cooked and what they're eaten with. And not all varieties have such a high GI.
Moreover, it's hard to separate the effects of potatoes from those of other foods in a typical diet. That is, the undesirable associations seen in some studies could be due to the meat, refined grains, sugars, and trans fats (as in French fries), rather than the potatoes. People also vary in their responses to carbohydrates and some research suggests that potatoes may be more problematic in overweight and/or sedentary people, who are more likely to have insulin resistance. However a small study found that overweight and obese people who ate a healthy diet that included several golf ball-sized purple potatoes every day saw a reduction in their blood pressure and didn't gain weight. Purple potatoes were chosen because researchers believe they contain healthy phytochemicals, but it's believed the more common white-and red-skinned potatoes would produce similar result.
Good For Weight Loss?
On the flip side, some research suggests that potatoes may help with weight control. They rate high in satiety, meaning they help fill you soon, so you may eat less. Potatoes also contain proteinase inhibitors, which may suppress appetite. And preliminary experimental work suggests that potato extracts may improve insulin sensitivity and decrease diabetes risk due to their polyphenols. There's even a weight-loss supplement that contains a potato extract, which is claimed to act as an appetite suppressant, though there's no evidence it works. More research is needed, certainly, to confirm any weight-loss potential of potato extracts.
Fully Baked Facts
In actuality, potatoes are relatively low in calories just 130 to 140 in a medium plain baked potato 140g. That's more per gram than non-starchy vegetables, but fewer than the calories in bread and rice. The problem is that potatoes are often prepared and served with lots of high-calorie ingredients like cream butter. Gram for gram, potato chips have more than five times as many calories as a plain potato.
Potatoes are also a good source of fibre (leave the skin on), potassium (more than bananas), and vitamin C and they provide some protein, iron, B vitamins (notably folate) and magnesium, along with other potentially beneficial plant compounds. The more colourful the potato, the higher the antioxidants.
Final Thoughts: There's plenty of room for potatoes in a healthy diet that's rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains. Eat them in moderation and go easy on the oil, cheese and cream when preparing them. By the way, sweet potatoes are technically unrelated to potatoes, but are a nutritious vegetable that provides lots of beta carotene and other carotenoids. You'd do well serving them up in place of white potatoes on an occasion.
Don't Get Into A Jam
High-fructose corn syrup (a combination of fructose and glucose) is used to sweeten many foods and drinks, including coals, fruit drinks, baked goods, chocolate, and jams. But high-sugar diets have been linked to multiple health problems, including obesity and an increased risk of diabetes. Now, it appears that fructose also may have an effect on blood pressure, according to a latest research. The study suggests that an increased intake of fructose is independently associated with hypertension, which increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems.
Researchers found that consuming more than 74 grams of fructose per day (the equivalent of two-and-a-half regular soft drinks) led to a 36 per cent higher risk of a blood pressure of 140/90mmHg and 87 per cent higher risk of a blood pressure of 160/100mmHg. (A blood pressure reading of 120/80mmHg or below is considered healthy.) More research is needed to determine if reducing fructose intake could lower blood pressure and prevent hypertension.
Learn To Love Egg Whites
Morning is a great time to eat lean protein, such as egg whites. Protein can trigger the release of energising brain chemicals that help fight a late-morning slump. You may want to save your carb fix for dinner because carbs help produce the calming chemical serotonin. Because egg whites are fat-free and cholesterol-free, they are great choices for a lean omelette.
To Make: Brown a medium, sliced mushroom in 1/2 tsp oil on low heat in a small skillet. Add 1/2 tbsp sliced green onion and 1/2 cup chopped spinach. Pour in 2 to 3 beaten egg whites and cook until eggs solidify. Place open-faced on a plate, add 1/2 tbsp each low fat paneer and chopped tomato and fold in half. Add salt and pepper to taste.