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The Number 1 Most Slandered Food

There are a copious number of foods who get mislabeled as "bad for you" or given a variety of other personality traits but the one that gets the worst rap is by far potatoes.

I'd like to start off by saying, if the resource that you receive nutrition advice from labels foods as "good" or "bad", barring any allergies or medical conditions, you should stop subscribing to it.

Foods are not good or bad. They're simply composed of macro and micro nutrients and ingredients. Over consumption of anything can be a detriment to one's health.

I digress, let's discuss why potatoes have been bastardized while their cousin, the sweet potato, is held on a pedestal and consistently labelled a "superfood".

Here are the numbers:

As you can see, there are categories that favour both of our spudded friends.

Next let's talk about glycemic load & glycemic index.

What is glycemic load?

Glycemic load is a measure of how much of a food converts to glucose.

What is glycemic index?

Glycemic index is a measure of how quickly a food converts to glucose.

Why are GI & GL relevant?

High glycemic index foods tend to spike a persons blood sugar, causing their body to produce more insulin. As a result of this spike, a persons blood sugar can drop shortly after consumption, resulting in feeling tired, or less productive.

For those who are not conscious of such a drop, this may result in further consumption of high GI foods in an attempt to correct the energy imbalance. The rollercoaster then continues.

You can see how this would be an issue, right?

That being said, everything comes down to moderation; quantity and preparation matters.

For most, potatoes are a diet staple for socioeconomic reasons and the above micronutrient profile.

Always consume a wide array of fruits and vegetables and don't let marketing dictate what you do and do not put into your body. Potatoes are a natural source of valuable macro and micronutrients and I would argue the improvement that sweet potatoes bring isn't worth a 3x price point.


Beth Czerwony, RD. Cleveland Clinic

Krista Scott Dixon, PhD, Brian St. Pierre, MS, RD.

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