Potatoes get a bad rap for one reason and one reason only: their high glycemic index (GI). (FYI, a food’s GI represents how much it causes your blood sugar to spike.) But new research published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition shows that you can eat foods with a high glycemic index—even potatoes—and still lose weight.
For the study, researchers from the University of California at Davis and the Illinois Institute of Technology assigned ninety overweight men and women to follow one of three diets: one that reduced calories but allowed for high-GI foods, one that reduced calories as well as high GI-foods, and one that didn’t limit the consumption of calories or high-GI foods. The researchers then gave all three groups russet and red potatoes, healthy recipes for preparing them, and instructions to eat five to seven servings of spuds per week. (Seriously, five to seven servings!)
At the end of the 12-week study period, all three groups had lost weight, and researchers found that even the control group, which hadn’t been given any weight-loss instructions, had automatically reduced their caloric intake and lost weight by eating more potatoes.
The study (which we should note was funded by the U.S. Potato Board, the nation’s potato marketing and research organization) didn’t investigate why—but previous research suggests that potatoes’ high fiber content could certainly play a role. One medium-sized potato contains 4.7 grams of filling fiber.
Plus, since a potato packs a mere 110 calories, if you prepare them in a healthy way, they can be a low-cal and nutrient-packed addition to just about any meal. A single potato contains 620 grams of potassium (that’s more than a banana!), 45 percent of your daily vitamin C needs, and zero fat, sodium, and cholesterol.
Don’t know how to prepare your taters without frying them or whipping them with heavy cream? You’ve got to check out all of our healthy potato recipes.
More from Women’s Health:
6 Foods That Don't Deserve Their Bad Reputations
The Best Carbs for Weight Loss
20 Satisfying Lunches That Promote Weight Loss
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