Are Potatoes Fattening?

by Steve Silverman

By themselves, potatoes are not fattening. However, most people do not eat plain baked potatoes, which consist of about 130 to 150 calories. Usually, its the ingredients people use with potatoes that are quite fattening, such as toppings on a baked potato. In addition to baked potatoes, people like to fry or mash them using fattening ingredients as well.

Benefits

Potatoes are actually quite healthy. A small or medium-sized potato with the skin on contains nearly half of the daily recommended amount of Viamin C. Potatoes are a source of iron, which is excellent for red blood cells. They are also a good source of fiber, which keeps people regular.

Misconceptions

Potatoes are mainly carbohydrates. Potatoes don't make people fat, nor do they lead to obesity. They are an excellent source of energy and if they are not loaded with fattening ingredients, potatoes can't make you fat unless you eat too many of them. When you overload on carbohydrates, you can add weight, but only in the way you can add weight by eating too much of any one thing.

Size

French fried potatoes are popular as a side dish throughout North America. However, an 85 gram serving of fries (about 19 pieces in an order) has 275 calories and 8 grams of fat. However, a solid alternative to this fattening version of potatoes is oven baking them. A similar order of oven-baked potato wedges contains 130 calories and 4 grams of fat.

Features

Potatoes can be good for the heart. Potatoes are rich in potassium and low in sodium. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Health Canada have declared that foods that are high in potassium and low in sodium are good for the heart and help reduce the risk of stroke and high blood pressure.

Warning

Stay away from heavy foods like butter, sour cream, cheeses and bacon when it comes to dressing baked potatoes. These foods are loaded with calories and fat. While potatoes with cheese and bacon may be delicious, they can lead to weight gain and health problems when they are not consumed in small portions. Potatoes with salsa or broccoli can be a more healthy alternative.

About the Author

Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.