The potato is now the most consumed vegetable
in the United States. White potatoes contain essential nutrients,
vitamins and are a good source of fiber. One medium russet potato for example provides
37% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C, 31% of Vitamin B6, 27% of potassium and
20% manganese to name just a few. Potatoes provide lots of Resistant starch. Resistant starch is a type of starch that
is not digested in your small intestine. Instead, it passes through to the large intestine,
where it can feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Resistant starch has been associated with
a number of health benefits, especially in terms of blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity. Interestingly the way we prepare our potatoes
can influence their nutrient content. Many of their nutrients are concentrated in
the outer skin, so peeling the potato can remove a large portion of the fiber and mineral
content in each serving. However in Dr Greger’s book how not to die
white potatoes are listed as a red/yellow light food on his food traffic light system
why is this? Well let’s hear from him now.[Dr Greger]
Why are white potatoes a red/yellow light food? The reason white potatoes are not the best
thing is because every time we put a white potato in our mouth we’re missing an opportunity
to put something healthier in our mouth so just like, why is iceberg lettuce not the
best thing in the world? Because every time we have an iceberg lettuce
salad we’re missing an opportunity to have an arugula salad or a spinach salad and every
time we eat a white potato we’re missing an opportunity to eat a sweet potato which
is so much healthier. Although probably the primary reason why white
potatoes have been associated with negative health outcomes is because people eat them
fried or if they eat them baked and put a lot of sour cream cheese or whatever on them. But the Harvard cohorts found some negative
associative affects even controlling for that. Although a new study that just came out, actually
this month, trying to differentiate between healthy and unhealthy plant food indexes,
there’s these pro vegetarian indexes-basically gives you points for all the plant foods you
eat, it gives you negative points for the animal foods you eat, and you see if that
correspond to health outcomes and when you do that- feed healthy plant foods then you
live longer lower risk of cardiovascular disease etc. But if you do an unhealthy plant food index
which had included white potatoes, french fries, unhealthy processed snacks that kind
of thing, you actually don’t get that benefit. Ironically actually you don’t get a detriment
either but you do get a detriment compared to eating lots of whole healthy plant foods
but when they did that with or without white potatoes they actually didn’t see a difference
so it probably wasn’t the white potatoes but all the other junk that was impairing
people’s healthy scores.