Building a Lean Body – Should You Avoid Potatoes and Other "White Foods"?

Baby Potatoes

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely agree that refined white sugar and white bread are two of the worst things we can put in our bodies. However, I certainly do not agree with the advice to avoid any and all “white carbohydrates.” I realize that the latest hype has been all about colorful foods and their protective antioxidants. They tell you to focus on anything colored and to avoid anything white.

Colorful foods are in deed great for your body, but it would be a mistake to completely avoid white foods! There are a lot of white foods that have beneficial nutrients which are difficult to find in other foods. Here are a few examples:

Mushrooms

A lot of people do not realize this, but surprisingly, even white mushrooms have large amounts of unique antioxidants and nutrients. White mushrooms are high in two types of antioxidants called ergothioneine and polyphenols.

Cauliflower

Another example of a white food, which is good for you, is cauliflower. Cauliflower is rich in minerals, fiber, vitamin C, and special compounds such as thiocyanates and glucosinolates, which are especially plentiful in cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli. Another not so well know fact is that some of the compounds in cruciferous vegetables are beneficial in combating other estrogenic compounds in our diet and environment which can assist in preventing excess stomach fat.

Garlic & Onions

What about garlic and onions? Both of them are white and full of vitamins, trace minerals and phytonutrients which protect your body and which aren’t easily found elsewhere in a normal diet. Specifically, some of these nutrients are chromium, quercetin (an important flavonoid), allicin, and other unique anti-inflammatory nutrients.

Potatoes

This leaves us with our last example – white potatoes (also found in purple, yellow and red varieties, etc). The high glycemic index of potatoes has lead a lot of health professionals to assert that potatoes are a bad source of carbohydrates. However, if you have already read the Truth about Six Pack Abs book, then you realize that glycemic index is not always the main or only factor in selecting your carbohydrates.

It is true that you can make a broad generalization about most low glycemic index carbohydrates helping you to lose body fat more easily than most high glycemic index foods. However, you should not use glycemic index as the sole means of selecting your foods. Several other factors come into play in determining how your body will react to and process the carbohydrates you eat. A couple of examples are glycemic load and the way you combine the high glycemic index food with other foods selections.

Let’s look at an example using glycemic load. Watermelon is a common food which has a high glycemic index. That being said, a normal sized serving of watermelon is entirely too small and has too low of a glycemic load to trigger your body into storing body fat. In order to get enough carbohydrates to produce a negative glycemic effect, you would have to consume a hugh amount of watermelon. It just doesn’t make sense to avoid watermelon.

In addition to the low glycemic load, watermelon is also a great source of vitamins, minerals, and lycopene. When you consider the benefits, there really is not reason to avoid watermelon even if it does have a high glycemic index. The point is donuts, cupcakes, and candy bars make you fat; not watermelons, carrots or potatoes.

In addition, food combinations make a difference in the way your body processes carbohydrates and the resulting blood sugar and insulin response you receive. As an example, your blood sugar and glycemic response will often times be slowed down by a significant degree by the way you combine your foods if you add an extra source of fiber, healthy fats, or even certain proteins to a high glycemic index carbohydrate. If you like more information about this topic, it is covered in detail in the Truth about Six Pack Abs book

Okay, let’s get back to my point about white potatoes being a healthy carbohydrate if you eat them the right way. That means with the entire skin and no deep frying them into french fries either! French frying a potato is one of the most evil things you could ever do to a potato. It ruins their health benefits because it soaks them in the deep fryer in a bubbling bath of trans fats made up of the hydrogenated oils that are typically used.

Keep in mind that there are so many minerals and vitamins in potatoes that the list is way too long to enumerate here. Also, if you eat the skins, you get a pretty good dose of fiber too.

I recently read a study that had participants eat between 7-9 whole potatoes a day over the course of several weeks. The study concluded that the participants had actually consistently lost weight! My guess is that the people lost weight, in large degree, because they were so full from eating all of those darn potatoes, that they actually consumed fewer calories than normal! There are only about 100-120 calories in the average sized potato. Even at a such a low calorie level, I’m pretty sure you would stay pretty full on 7-9 potatoes a day.

Just to be clear, I don’t recommend going to those extremes, but the occasional potato is not going to kill your efforts to slim down, especially if you eat it with some other fibrous vegetables and perhaps a healthy fat and some protein. All that being said, here is a good potato recipe for you to try:

Lean-Body Potato Side Dish

  • Desired quantity of baby potatoes

  • 1 red pepper

  • 1 green pepper

  • 1 yellow pepper

  • 1 or 2 onions

  • a couple cloves of garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 or 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • a little salt and pepper to taste (I like using a sea salt instead of normal commercial salt)

Cut the baby potatoes into pieces (the cut doesn’t matter) and put them in a steamer until they are soft all the way through. Slice the peppers and onions into strips and put them, with the chopped garlic, in a pan with the olive oil. Cook the peppers, onions, and garlic until tender. Add the steamed baby potatoes. Stir it all together and serve hot. This is a healthy and delicious side dish that goes great with red meat or chicken.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little rant on healthy carbohydrates, potatoes, glycemic index, and my delicious potato recipe idea!

If you’re interested in taking your fat-loss efforts to an entirely new level, make sure you grab a copy of the Truth about Six Pack Abs book.


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9 Responses to “Building a Lean Body – Should You Avoid Potatoes and Other "White Foods"?”

  1. Nice post :-)

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