Lately it seems like a whole host of trendy grains have taken over as our go-to choices of carbohydrate at dinner time. Personally, I’m not keen on quinoa. But what about the potato? They have good nutritional benefits (including complete proteins, low-calorie density, packed with micronutrients). Mashed with butter, you cannot beat a good spud I think!
Here is an interesting article written by Stephan Guyenet about his own 7-day potato only diet trial. He references a book called ‘Potato: A history of the propitious esculent‘. It includes an amazing paragraph by Royal Society fellow Arthur Young, on Irish people and our diet at that time (the 1770’s):
“I have heard [the potato] stigmatized as being unhealthy, and not sufficiently nourishing for the support of hard labour; but this opinion is very amazing in a country, many of whose poor people are as athletic in their form, as robust, and as capable of enduring labour as any upon earth. When I see the people of a country, in spite of political oppression, with well-formed vigorous bodies, and their cottages swarming with children; when I see their men athletic and their women beautiful, I know not how to believe them subsisting on an unwholesome food”.
Athletic form? Cottages swarming with children! (we had the highest fertility rate in Europe, but now 2nd behind France). So potatoes certainly didn’t seem to do us any harm. Maybe it’s time they became trendy again.
Now clearly, there are differences in how potatoes are prepared and cooked. Boiled, roast and baked potatoes are all healthy, but many mashed potatoes in restaurants and chips are of course higher in calories and not quite as satiating.
So if you have ignored or lost affection for the potato, give it another go! They are healthy, nutritious and almost a complete food.