Recently I was asked this question: why are potatoes labeled as the “embodiment” of evil? “All I hear is that you should not eat potatoes, cause they are bad, but actually I don't understand why.”
I will answer now this question. First of all, potatoes are not “bad”. If we let's say 'compare” potatoes with broccoli or any other vegetable, we can not affirm that one is bad, namely, the poor potato unlike the broccoli, which would be some kind of reincarnation of Mother Theresa in vegetable form. Everywhere you read on the net, we get the same information: eat chicken with rice, but don't you dare to eat that boring chicken with potatoes, cause that is just pure evil and bad for you. So, let's get this straight: NO, we can not put it simply like this. But now comes the obvious question, then why the heck is the potato so scorned? What did the potato do? The logical assumption is, that the potato must have committed something for sure... We have a Hungarian saying: there is no wind without a blow, meaning that whatever the gossip would be, something must have triggered it, some truth must lie there, wherever deep it may lie... So, getting back to our mystical potato, I must admit that there is a reason (of course) why the potato is called bad all the time. Is due to the fact that it has a relatively high *glycemic index (you can click on the link and download a free glycemic chart, published by the Harvard Health Publications). This is a number, which reflects, how a carbohydrate-containing food affects the blood sugar level. The higher it is, the more it affects the blood sugar and implicitly the insulin levels. On the other hand, naturally we can deduce, the lower it is the less it affects them.
What does the high blood sugar level actually mean? The high glycemic index foods are easier to be transformed in glucose. Glucose is the sugar which our body uses as a source of energy. The carbohydrates which are more slowly digested are not shooting up your blood sugar level very fast because it takes more time to be transformed as a source of energy. And exactly here we arrive at the most important part: if a food offers you energy very fast, it also must be consumed accordingly, otherwise, energy which is not consumed, will be stored as fat on one hand and on the other, when blood sugar “skyrockets”, it will also plunge. When the blood sugar level goes down, is no good news, because it will cause a wolf-like hunger. So, you will most probably engage yourself in some uncontrolled bulging, which of course again will lead to way too much food intake. Also, your body will crave easy-carb-containing foods, so consuming those, again your blood sugar level will rise. After this, it will fall, and you will practically enter a doomed circle of eating too much easy digestible carbs which will all the time cause the same described results. We can put it like this: if we consume foods with a high glycemic index, but afterward we don't go “chasing a grizzly bear in the forest” or more modernly put: if we don't work out hard after it (be aware that after eating must pass at least 1,5 -2 hours before you can engage yourself in hard training) than, the energy you ingested is wasted...or in our case stored as fat.
So, after the thinking of a 5-year-old, potatoes are bad, because ultimately through all sorts of body processes, they will make you fat. That is the basic idea at least, which lies underneath the potato-raid. Of course also comes along being unhealthy, because raised blood sugar levels, cause more insulin release and that is again unhealthy... Keeping it low, will also keep your hunger at a normal level, you won't eat too much or won't crave for simple carbohydrates. If you are sensitive, have diabetes, or whatever health issue you may face and the doctor advises you particularly to avoid foods with high glycemic index, to keep your blood sugar levels at a low, normal stage, then, you must do that, no question about it.
If you want to get ripped, prominent abs, veins, etc. probably consuming lots of potatoes is also not the best idea. A certain fried potato may have glycemic index even beyond 100, which is pretty high, but a boiled potato is around 80, which although also lies in the high range, still is not top.
As general information, accepted worldwide, it goes like this:
But, as you can probably feel from my article, I am not a potato-hater. I see the issue slightly differently, although I am not arguing the potatoes glycemic index, which is a scientific fact. But, our body is anything but an easy machine. And things are not always that 100% bad or good. Even timing, when you are consuming a certain macronutrient, can have an effect on how it is assimilated by the body. And a potato, boiled or simply baked, without fat, not fried is still a nutritious and delicious vegetable. You should not consume it in huge quantities, but a 1-2 medium sized potato, even two-three times a week, won't by its own make you fat or damage you.
If you are a healthy individual, then you can undoubtedly consume some potatoes without fear. If we compare potato, to some famous beverages or caloric bomb hamburgers than much better you are with a potato even with some butter on it, as with the previous mentioned.
So, we cleared up somehow the potatoes reputation. Eat what you prefer, in the less processed way possible, as clean as possible, in not too high quantities and of course, enjoy life, always!