After sugar, starchy carbs like potatoes are one of the first things people cut out when keeping an eye on their weight.


They’re carby, sure, but potatoes aren’t nearly as bad as some people make them out to be. According to a study in the British Journal of Nutrition, potatoes were wrongly classified as high on the Glycemic Index (GI), which ranks carbs from 1 to 100 according to how quickly they are broken down into glucose during digestion. If you want to lose weight, eat low-GI foods. But research found that the GI of potatoes varied depending on the type, where it was grown and the preparation methods. The GI of potatoes is much lower when they are eaten slightly cooled rather than hot, and when boiled and consumed whole rather than mashed.

Besides, they contain much more than just starch. With the exception of vitamin A, white potatoes have just about every nutrient. They are, after all, underground storage centers. The bad rap probably belongs to the toppings and preparation methods we often use to turn potatoes from a healthy food to a fatty, salty snack. Because the carbs in potatoes are almost all starch, they’re perfect for replenishing glycogen stores after a workout. This is especially true if you’re on a low-carb diet and having trouble recovering from exercise. Your glycogen-depleted muscles will be insulin sensitive and suck up most of your dietary glucose.

And if you’ve hit a fat-loss plateau and are near your goal, potatoes may be just the thing to restore your leptin levels and jumpstart the leaning out process. This technique, called carb refeeding, can unlock an entirely new level of fat loss. Potatoes can also help you curb your cravings for sweets and breads when on a low-carb diet. Just make sure it doesn’t cause you to gain fat. With the myriad of potato varieties and the myriad of body shapes and metabolisms, you need to assess how potatoes affect you personally.