Q: Are potatoes bad for you? I read that eating too many is unhealthy.
A: It can be confusing to make sense of how potatoes fit in healthy eating habits. Some sources talk about potatoes as loaded with nutrients, yet others say potatoes don’t even count toward goals of eating more vegetables. Here’s the scoop….
Nutrients, Calories and Phytochemicals – A medium potato is rich in vitamin C and offers even more blood-pressure-friendly potassium than two medium bananas. Potatoes provide other protective nutrients, including the phytochemical quercetin and dietary fiber (particularly with the skin on).
Along with corn, peas and lima beans, potatoes are categorized as a starchy vegetable. Each serving has more carbohydrate and calories than non-starchy vegetables like broccoli, lettuce or tomatoes, making some people think potatoes are high-calorie.
When you eat brown rice, oatmeal or 100% whole wheat bread, you know it’s 100% whole grains. Choose pizza, wheat bread, or a breakfast cereal however, and it’s not always clear if you’re getting a whole grain food.
Research shows that whole grains are an important part of a cancer preventive diet. AICR’s continuous update report on colorectal cancer found that foods containing fiber, such as whole grains, help lower risk for this cancer. And whole grains boost health in other ways, including promoting heart health.
But how much whole wheat or oats, for example, do you need in a bread or cereal to say it is a whole grain?
That’s the problem, say experts. There isn’t a global standard definition for what makes a whole grain food for food labeling. Some countries in Europe have their own distinct label guidelines for whole grain foods, and the US doesn’t have one at all, so now a group of scientists is working to find a common definition. Defining what a whole grain food is can help you can more easily identify and compare foods that contain whole grains. Read more… “What is a whole grain food? Researchers have an idea”
For lower cancer risk, AICRrecommends not to drink alcohol. Its ethanol is a recognized carcinogen and our latest report found that even moderate amounts increase the risk of breast cancer. Yet whether drinking moderate amounts of alcohol has some health benefits is an ongoing area of research.