Ideal for boiling & potato salads
Small size red potatoes
One serve of this vegetable provides a source (10% of the RDI
Energy; Fibre; Potassium; Folate
Potatoes are the number one vegetable in New Zealand with 97% of us eating them. 53% of New Zealanders consume fresh potatoes four times per week & 21% of New Zealanders eat them daily.
Potatoes are often perceived as unhealthy because they have a reported high glycaemic index (or GI).
HOWEVER, many nutritionists now believe the glycaemic index is not a very useful measure because it is a ratio that refers to the digestibility of carbohydrate relative to glucose, & does not reflect the density of carbohydrate in the food or the amount of food eaten to achieve a blood glucose response.
Glycaemic impact is a new way of measuring blood glucose response to food.
The advantage of this measure has gram units & can be expressed as g/100g of food or g/serving of food, just like other nutrients on a food label.
Potatoes are in fact an excellent source of low-density energy.
This means that the energy we get from potato comes from carbohydrate (17kJ/g) rather than fat (34kJ/g) & is diluted about eight times with water.
They are also a good source of vitamin C, a source of potassium & niacin, & if you keep the skin on a source of dietary fibre.
The glycaemic impact of potato is easy to manage in a healthy diet.
When potato is cooked the starch gelatinises & becomes digestible.
But when you cool cooked potato & let it stand for a while the starch chains partially join up, & this slows down the speed they are digested.
So starch in cold cooked potato is digested at a lower rate than in the hot potato, & correspondingly has a lower glycaemic impact per weight.
In addition, the acid in the vinaigrette you add to your potato salad (lemon juice, lime juice, or vinegar) will slow stomach emptying which means the starch does not reach digestion/absorption sites in the small intestine as quickly & the glycaemic impact is less acute.
So potato is not the villain it has been made out to be because it is not carbohydrate dense.
You should continue to enjoy your potatoes & by choosing a potato salad with vinaigrette keep your blood glucose under control.
POTATOES ARE NOT A SUPERFOOD, THEY ARE SOMETHING FAR SUPERIOR – A QUIET ACHEIVER
MaryRose Spence (Nutrition consultant)
MaryRose Spence sees potatoes as a prime example of a food that has fallen out of favour in recent years for no reason other than fashion.
"I like potatoes because they're a starchy carbohydrate that offers volume & some chewing. They're a consistent source of vitamin C & a good source of potassium. There's fibre in potatoes too, which helps with appetite satisfaction.”
“People often choose low carb options but the evening meal has to have a carbohydrate component to provide fullness."
"So many myths and fads need to be dispensed with." says Spence. "Years ago, we used to have potatoes on our plates most nights - & we didn't have the obesity rates we have nowadays."
Spence says with so much misinformation around, many are forgetting that food should be one of life's great pleasures. "Be protective of yourself when hearing media messages around what constitutes healthy food - a lot of them are dated or quite simply untrue.”
Deb Sue (Heart Foundation)
Sue believes potatoes are an important part of New Zealanders’ diets.
“Potatoes would be one of many favourite foods because they’re so versatile. I like to cook double so you’ve got potatoes to use the following day for a Spanish omelette or a potato hash. Sadly there has been a misconception that potatoes are somewhat bad, but like any vegetable, it’s really what you do to the potato that’s the issue.”
Paula Dudley (5+ A Day)
Paula Dudley sees potatoes as a great carbohydrate option for both young & old.
“Potatoes stack up nutritionally - this is the time to bring potatoes to the forefront of food fashion.”
Sarah Hanrahan (Nutrition Foundation)
Sarah Hanrahan says that “there’s enormous scope with potatoes given they are so versatile, affordable & well-liked.”
With many families managing their food bills on limited budgets, potatoes provide a cost effective way of bulking up a family meal.
“They’re a good filler. We suggest that starchy vegetables share half a plate with protein. The other half should be green & colourful vegetables.”
Nicola Martin (New Zealand Army)
Major Martin says, “When you look at potatoes as a carbohydrate option, their versatility is a real advantage. They also provide nutritional benefits within a well-balanced diet. Potatoes contain potassium & vitamin C, & if we are cooking them with their skins retained, then they provide some extra dietary fibre as well.”
Jeni Pearce (High Performance Sport New Zealand)
“I like my carbohydrates to have additional nutritional impact,” says Pearce. “People don’t realise that potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C when you leave the skin on. There are B vitamins in there as well. When mashing them, we’ll add calcium-enriched milk & maybe a bit of olive oil for Omega 3s. We call it our ‘nutrient dense mashed potatoes’ & we encourage athletes to eat this as part of their recovery meal after training & competing.”
For athletes requiring mini-meals throughout the day, Pearce believes that cold potatoes represent a good option. “Cold potatoes take a bit longer to be absorbed so they are great for sustained energy. Boil a jacket potato, wrap it in foil – it stays good all day.”
Roast Baby Red Potatoes and Beets with Feta