Baked potatoes: pros and cons

Baked potatoes: pros and cons


The consumption of potatoes is often associated with weight gain . However, the potato is a food that can provide many health benefits and play an essential role in the fight against malnutrition around the world. How potatoes are cooked can significantly affect their nutritional value and health effects.

Baked Potatoes: nutritional values

In terms of macronutrients , potatoes are a high- carbohydrate , relatively low -protein (albeit high-quality), and virtually fat-free food. The carbohydrates in potatoes are primarily two types of starches: amylopectin , which the body can digest  easily, and amylose , an indigestible starch (known as resistant starch ). This resistant starch provides many of the health benefits of potatoes. Potatoes also contain a fair amount of fiber , mostly in the skin.

Potatoes have a high quality protein content, thanks to amino acids , the building blocks of protein . Potatoes have particularly high levels of the essential amino acids lysine , methionine , threonine and tryptophan . As for their vitamin and mineral content , they are a good source of iron and zinc , which the body needs to transport oxygen and support the immune response.

Cooking methods can greatly affect the macronutrient content of potatoes, especially their fat content. For example, a 100-gram serving of hash browns contains 14 grams of fat . By comparison, the same serving of baked or boiled potatoes has just 0.1 gram of fat. Also, the way potatoes are prepared can lead to the loss of micronutrients. For example, potatoes contain a significant amount of vitamin C. However, baked or microwaved potatoes have about twice as much as boiled or fried potatoes .

Nutritional values ​​for 175 gr (a medium sized baked potato)

  • Calories :  161
  • Carbs:  37 grams
  • Fiber:  3.8 grams
  • Protein:  4.3 grams
  • Fat:  0.2 grams
  • Vitamin B6 :  25% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Potassium :  26% of the DV
  • Vitamin C:  27% DV
  • Folate:  12% of the DV
  • Magnesium :  12% of the DV

Health benefits

Potatoes are a particularly satiating food, which helps control appetite , promoting weight loss , contrary to common opinion. Several studies have shown that potatoes promote a greater feeling of fullness than other foods with the same carbohydrate content. This may be due to a molecule, protease II inhibitor (PI2), which can reduce appetite and thus limit food intake .

More specifically, PI2 blocks an enzyme that breaks down a hormone called cholecystokinin (CCK), which reduces hunger and increases feelings of fullness. In turn, CCK levels in the blood rise, leading to decreased food intake. Elevated CCK levels also reduce the rate at which the stomach empties its contents, further promoting feelings of fullness.


Potatoes are a rich source of resistant starch and potassium. Because of this, they have a similar effect to dietary fiber : they lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity . Additionally, resistant starch helps lower the glycemic index ( GI ) of a food. Foods classified as high GI foods raise blood sugar, while low GI foods promote a steady, controlled rise in blood sugar .

Hot or cold? While freshly cooked potatoes are a high glycemic index food, refrigerated cooked potatoes have a low glycemic index . This is due to a process known as starch retrogradation , which causes starches to become harder to digest when cold. In addition to temperature, cooking methods also affect the resistant starch content of potatoes. Research shows that baked potatoes have a higher resistant starch content than boiled potatoes. For example, one study determined that 90 minutes after a meal, participants’ blood sugar levels were lower if they ate baked potatoes compared to mashed potatoes, French fries and white bread .

So, consuming baked potatoes can help control blood sugar levels .

Baked potatoes: contraindications

While potatoes are a nutritious food with many health benefits, they also have potential drawbacks. Baking potatoes – or cooking them at high temperatures – can lead to the production of acrylamide , a chemical formed when starchy foods are cooked at high temperatures, which can have a toxic effect on the body . To reduce the formation of acrylamide in baked potatoes, cook them for less time at lower temperatures. Alternatively, boil or steam the potatoes. These cooking methods do not tend to produce acrylamide.

Can sprouted potatoes be eaten?


The right condiments

Baked potatoes can make a good nutritious side dish or one high in fat or calories, depending on the seasonings . Butter , sour cream , fatty cheeses and bacon are some of the most common condiments that flavor and enrich baked potatoes. While many of these foods have their own nutritional benefits, they tend to significantly increase the fat content of potatoes. Opt for low-fat alternatives, such as Greek yogurt , low-fat cheese and chopped greens .



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