Potatoes: America’s Favorite Vegetable

Healthy, Recipes
on January 10, 2006
Rin Ran
High Cotton Food Styling and Photography

Long assigned to the produce aisle’s doghouse, potatoes are making a breakout. During the high-protein, low-carb craze, this meat-and-you-know-what staple was transformed into a tuber non grata. Health-conscious consumers began believing that potatoes were diet-sabotaging carb bombs. Then there was that whole “couch potato” thing. All in all, potatoes had a serious PR problem.

But now there’s cause for spud-lovers to rejoice. The consensus in the weight-loss community is that high-protein diets aren’t any more effective than any other kind of diet. The secret to weight loss is calories—fewer of them.

In addition, a group of Australian researchers came up with the Satiety Index to determine which foods are the most filling. Which food did they discover has the most “stick-to-your-ribs” power? The potato. Bravo!

We’ll admit that the potato doesn’t have the charisma of, say, arugula. But let’s take a moment to consider its virtues—besides its hunger-fighting power. It’s cheap. It keeps. It’s available everywhere. It’s nutritious. And a medium-size baked potato has only 130 calories.

Even better, it’s versatile. Its mildness means it blends with anything. Its starch content gives heft to soups, sauces and stews. Texture-wise, it ranges from the creamy-waxy to crumbly-starchy, so it’s at home in just about any dish, chunky or smooth.

So if you’ve been avoiding potatoes, take another look. There’s a reason it’s America’s favorite vegetable. Take that, arugula!

—By Tamar Haspel, a food writer in Marstens Mills, Mass.

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