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Discover the power of potatoes

May 14, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Isn't science wonderful? After finding out that red wine, chocolate and nuts have great nutritional properties, as it turns out potatoes do too.Of course, not if you're going to eat them as potato chips or fries, which will get you plenty of empty fat and calories. But depending how you prepare them, we can put spuds back on the menu.

Along with fiber, vitamin C and potassium, it's the starch in potatoes that has researchers excited. Known as the new power nutrient, potatoes, along with corn and rice, contain resistant starch that provides good benefits to the diet.

This starch actually resists digestion. And that's a good thing. The starch is bulky, making it difficult for the digestive tract to digest and absorb. That means many of the carbohydrate calories are passed through, and that in turn signals the body to use stored fat rather than these carbs.

In one study, replacing a mere 5 percent of other carbohydrates with resistant starch resulted in a 20 to 30 percent increase in fat-burning after a meal.

The fiber in the potato also helps fill you up and reduce hunger, along with improving blood sugar control. And as one of our most favorite comfort foods, it shouldn't be excluded.

Smart ways to serve them are baked with low-fat toppings like salsa and black beans, or top with roasted vegetables and a little shredded Parmesan. You can also scoop the flesh out and save it to thicken a soup while using the skins brushed with a bit of olive oil as a scoop to hold leftover cooked veggies.

If you like them mashed, replace butter and whole milk with fat free yogurt or sour cream and garlic for a creamy tasty swap.

Keep in mind a medium potato has 110 fat-free calories. That's not much. The point of this is, it's not so much the potato, it's what you do with it. So watch those toppings and keep your portions in check.

 

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