Eat Spuds, Gain Pudge - FamilyEducation

Eat Spuds, Gain Pudge

July 07,2011
Lindsay Hutton

Do you love your spuds?

To me, that's a silly question. Of course I love potatoes. Who doesn't?

However, I've always known that potatoes that have been fried, mashed with butter, or turned into a chip weren't good for me. And I do a (pretty) good job of only eating these foods on occasion, as a treat.

But, I have always been under the assumption that a potato, a plain, unaltered potato, was a healthy addition to a well-rounded diet. I mean, how could something from the earth make me gain weight? Not to mention, the good 'ol spud is a certified "heart healthy" food by the American Heart Association.

Well, I'm here to deliver some bad news. If you're looking to lose a few extra pounds, you might want to steer clear of this unassuming vegetable, because a new study published by the New England Journal of Medicine has found that an individual who eats an extra serving of potatoes each day will gain more weight than if they consumed an extra 12-ounce sugary drink or extra helping of red or processed meats.

Say it isn't so!

Here's the breakdown: In general, the participants in the study gained an average of 0.8 pounds per year. However, those who regularly ate potatoes gained more.

Those who ate an extra serving of french fries every day added an average of 3.4 pounds to their total weight over 4 years.

Potato chips added 1.7

And any potato in non-chip form contributed 1.3 pounds.

Now, I know this doesn't seem like a lot, and to many, it isn't worth giving up the starchy goodness of this diet staple.

But when you add up the weight gain over 20 years, even the seemingly innocent 0.8 pounds balloon to a whopping 16 extra pounds you have to carry around.

Add the extra weight you'll gain from your potato-laden diet and you'll be heaving around much more than you are today.

Yikes.

So, what are my thoughts on this? Do we need to give up potatoes in an effort to reach healthy diet nirvana?

No.

I mean, in all honesty, who eats an extra serving of french fries, potato chips, or any form of potato for that matter, every single day? If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say probably not too many people.

But maybe this study will help deter you the next time you're eyeing the all-you-can-eat baked potato bar at your favorite restaurant, or from polishing off your kid's french fries that he's left on his plate.

Maybe just knowing these facts will help you clean up your diet a little, and maybe next time you order a Friday night burger, you'll order a side salad instead of steak fries.

Maybe.

What do you think? Will you cut potatoes out of your diet? Or are they too much of a staple for you?