Tag Archives: potatoes

Are Potatoes Healthy?

Potatoes are always linked with weight gain and health issues. Many people avoid potatoes in their daily diet when they are trying to lose eight or manage it. But do you know that potatoes are full of health benefits and can even help fight bloating. The key to restoring all the health benefits of potatoes is by using the right techniques to cook it.

What makes potato a healthy food -

Carbohydrates: The potato is best known for its carbohydrates content (approximately 26 grams in a medium potato). The predominant form of this carbohydrate is starch. A small but significant portion of this starch is resistant starch which improves your digestion by resisting immediate digestion, thus keeping you full – the same way, fiber would. Potatoes are also a good source of dietary fiber which provides bulk.

Glycemic Index: Glycemic index (GI) provides a measure of how quickly blood sugar levels rise after eating a particular type of food. Potatoes are often broadly classified as high on the glycemic index (GI) and so are often excluded from the diets. In fact, the GI of potatoes can vary considerably depending on type, origin, preparation methods and with what it is consumed. To reduce the GI of the potatoes consume them in a combination with other vegetables and roasted chicken.

Phytochemical Content: Different studies have revealed that potato is a storehouse of phytochemicals, flavonoids and vitamins. These nutrients help fight cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems and certain cancers. A new analytical method developed by Agricultural Research Service plant geneticist Roy Navarre’s team also identified potatoes with high levels of vitamin C, folic acid, quercetin and kukoamines which have effect of regulating blood pressure.

Other Nutrients: Potatoes are good source of iron, protein, potassium, vitamins and phosphorus. The vitamin C in potatoes promotes iron absorption. Potassium in potatoes helps manage bloating. However eating potatoes with its skin can increase the amount of dietary fiber.

Healthy ways to eat a potato

To get the maximum benefits from the potatoes, it is important to check the cooking process. Due to high content of starch, potatoes tend to absorb more fat on frying. Therefore they are best eaten roasted, baked or steamed. This not only enhances the nutrition of the potatoes but also protects them from becoming a fattening food.

So, it is not the potato that is bad, it is the cooking process that makes it. Eaten the right way, they could actually help you lose weight.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo
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How to Control Sugar Cravings

Need to eat sugar is triggered by our body. This is body’s naturally tendency to tell you that blood sugar levels are dropping and need to be replenished. Over a period of time this physiological reaction becomes psychological and we start to mistake this desire as need. This is when most of the trouble begins that traditionally transforms into weight gain and then eventually lifestyle diseases like high blood sugar & diabetes type 2.  Sugar cravings can be controlled and managed  with some effort.

Sugar is a carbohydrate and quickly breaks down in our body providing energy and releases happy hormone serotonin which makes us feel good and reduces stress and anxiety. The sweet taste of sugar is liked by most people from birth and indulge in eating them for sugar cravings. Sugar is also known to release endorphins also known as “happy hormones” that is the reason why we also crave them when we are sad or generally stressed.

How do we control this urge? First we should start with understanding what is your daily sugar intake and what are the main sources of it. Let us explain this through an example of the common sugar foods consumed by us on a daily basis like a cup of tea/coffee,  sweetened cereals like cornflakes, musselli aerated drinks or sweetened drinks like packaged juices & lemonade along with one or two desserts/chocolates through the day.

Here is a quick list of a calories per serving:

Sugar coated cereals- 127 kcal (3/4 cup)

Tea spn of sugar- 20 kcal

100 ml aerated drink/soda- 37 kcal

1 chocolate- (plain Bar , 49 g of chocolate) 250 Kcal

Packaged juice-110 kcal (250 ml)

Energy drinks-152 Kcal (350 ml/one can)

All this roughly mounts upto 700 calories if you have one of each of these things listed. Incase you are looking to lose weight than you just require 2 tea spoons of sugar in a day. Besides processed sugar doesnt have any health benefits . Read here to know how it affects our health. (more…)

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

7 Essential Nutrient Checklist

Some nutrients are important for healthy living and play a important role in daily body metabolism. We eat nutritious food most of the time, but are you meeting your daily requirement? Most of the health problems are due to the imbalance of the nutrients.


— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Which Are The Healthiest Chips?

We all love chips. We know they’re not healthy, but we might as well know which are better than the others and pick the chips that are the healthiest in India. There are many different products in the market, so we considered the leading brands- Bingo, Lays, Uncle Chipps, Kurkure, Senor Pepito and Mad Angles.

Photo- Healthiest Potato Chips in India (sergeygalako@flickr)

For each of them we took a 100 gm sample. Surprisingly, 5 out of 6 had the same calorie content of about 545 calories, the same amount of fat- 34 gms and the same amount of carbohydrates- 55 gms. The one that stood out was Senor Pepito. For a 100 gm sample, they had 440 calories, 18 gms of fat and 66 gms of carbohydrates.

Considering calorie count and fat content, Senor Pepito lead the way. Its protein content was also 20% higher than the others. Even with higher carbohydrate content, since the calorie count and fat content are much lower, the Fitho choice of healthiest chips is Senor Pepito!

Regardless of the calorie count per bag, its important to note that none of these are healthy for you. If you’re hungry, instead of going for a bag of these, go for a fruit. Easily available, they are so much healthier- check out nutrition of apple nutrition, healthy guavas and healthy bananas.

Nutrition info per 100 gms of following:
Bingo: 545 cal, 34 gms fat, 55 gms carbs, 5.4 gm protein
Lays: 544 cal, 33 gm fat, 54 gms carbs, 7 gm protein
Mad Angles: 548 cal, 33 gm fat, 56 gms carbs, 7 gm protein
Uncle Chipps: Similar to above. Calories per 80 gm bag: 430
Kurkure: Similar to above. Calories per 144 gm bag: 785
Senor Pepito: 440 cal, 18 gm fat, 66 gms carbohydrates, 9 gm protein

Note 1: We could not assess saturated fat content, since the law does not require it to be listed.

Note 2: Some of these products are not sold as ‘chips’, but we considered it here, since its often perceived as the same category as potato chips.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Eat Vegetables for Muscle

Did you know that veggies can help build muscle too? Here’s a list of vegetables that can help you build muscle:

Beans/Legumes- All beans and legumes have protein, carbohydrates and fiber. The carbohydrates are slow releasing carbohydrates that supply long lasting energy for your daily routine and workouts. The fiber helps to clean your arteries and we all know protein is used to repair muscle damage and build new muscle. Examples of these are black beans, kidney beans (rajma), chick peas (chole), all types of dals.

Nuts- Nuts like, peanuts, almonds and walnuts are loaded with protein, unsaturated fat, fiber and antioxidants and Vitamin E.  Recent studies have shown that almonds can help lower bad cholesterol and reduce waist size. Nuts are also packed with protein for building muscle. Eat them raw, roasted, or chop some into your breakfast oatmeal/cereal

Potatoes- Yes, the much maligned scapegoat vegetable, blamed by many for their weight gain problems, can actually help you gain muscle. Its packed with carbohydrates, fiber, protein, minerals like Iron and Vitamins. Raw, or steamed, it has negligible fat content. Have some mashed potatoes (without the cream/butter) with your post workout meal, to add healthy carbohydrates. These will help to repair the damaged muscle and grow new muscle. In fact, potatoes help you lose weight.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo

Quick Fitness Quiz

What’s your Health IQ?

Try this quick myth buster fitness quiz, and test your fitness knowledge. For each question, note down your answer (True or False). Once you complete all 9 questions, check your answers with the correct answers given below.

The best part about this fitness quiz is that if you crack it, you can gloat in the glory of being a myth-buster :) And if you don’t crack it, then read the answers to become a myth-buster.

State whether the following statements are True or False -

1. Toe touching helps to reduce fat?

2. Potatoes are fattening?

3. A non-vegetarian diet makes you fat?

4. By doing a 200 crunches a day, I can lose my paunch and get a six pack?

5. Eating Banana and Milk will make me fat?

6. Walking is a great exercise to get in shape?

7. I’m diabetic. I should avoid sugar, but refined flour (Maida) is okay for my diet?

8. Nuts are high in fat, and thus bad for you?

9. Running is only for kids and athletes?

Answers are given below -

If you score:

0-3: This is the average score for this fitness quiz. Don’t believe any information without understanding why it is so. You should read the explanations below to understand better.

3-6: Congratulations, you are above the average fitness awareness levels. Read the answers below to understand more.

6-9: You are well aware of fitness information. You should educate the people around you with this information. Hope you are using your knowledge of fitness information to your benefit.

Answers -

1. False

2. False

3. False

4. False

5. False

6. Partly True :)

7. False

8. Partly False

9. False

Answer Explanations -

1. Yoga has some toe touching exercises. From that a common myth has spread in India that toe touching will help lose fat from the belly. But what does toe touching do?

- Every time you bend to touch your feet, you stretch your back muscles, and compress your belly. So, your belly fat is getting compressed.

Now, think about an analogy – take a rubber ball. Compress it 20 times. Has the rubber reduced? Similarly, by compressing your fat, it doesn’t reduce. You might burn some calories doing this, but that calorie burn is minimal.

2. Potatoes are very healthy vegetables – they’re loaded with energy providing carbohydrates, fiber, protein, iron, Vitamin C and other minerals. They Glycemic Index of a potato is not high.
But potatoes absorb fat, so depending on the cooking process they might absorb the oil/butter. So, its the potato concoction that can be fattening, but not the poor spud by itself.

3. Many meats like fish and chicken are high in protein, and low in saturated fat (bad fat). The protein helps to build muscle, which in turn burns calories.

Again, the cooking process might make it fattening. If you eat butter chicken, its not the chicken itself that is fattening, but the curry that is loaded with cream and fat.

4. Crunches help you work those abdominal muscles, but not lose fat on that belly. Read on to see why crunches won’t help you get that six pack.

5. Banana and milk are not fattening. Both banana and milk have a relatively low Glycemic Index, so its not the carbohydrate content that makes you fat. The total calories from this concoction are lower than a bag of chips. Besides, it provides you with lots of nutrients.

6. Walking is an exercise and may help you burn calories. But the calorie burn is not significant enough to make a big enough dent in your fat loss plan.

Also, your body gets used to walking very fast, so it burns fewer calories when walking the same distance. What do you do then? Read to find out how to overcome weight loss plateau!

7. Maida (refined flour) has a very high Glycemic Index, and has the same effect on your body as sugar.

8. Nuts are loaded with unsaturated fat (good fat) and have cholesterol lowering power, along with protein.

9. Most adults in India assume this. But why should running be limited to kids and athletes. According to a recent study, running can actually help you live longer and healthier.

— this article is written by a dietitian @ FitHo