Cold Cooked Potatoes for Weight Loss

You may have heard about the extreme diet of Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission, who pledged to eat nothing but potatoes for a 60-day period. To meet his caloric needs, Voigt planned to eat 20 potatoes a day. In light of this, the validity of the claim that eating cold cooked potatoes can enhance weight loss is called into question.

Potato salad. (Image: Igor Dutina/iStock/Getty Images)

History of Potatoes

Assorted potatoes. (Image: Keith Levit/Keith Levit Photography/Getty Images)

Potatoes were first imported to Europe in the 16th century. It took another 150 years before the potato was established as a staple crop. Today, the highest per capita consumers of potatoes reside in Central and Eastern Europe.

Dietary Benefits

Whole potatoes. (Image: Daniel Ernst/iStock/Getty Images)

Potatoes are virtually fat free and provide an excellent source of fiber. Potatoes also provide vitamin C, vitamins B1 and B6 and are a significant source of potassium.

Resistant Starch

Cold potato salad. (Image: travellinglight/iStock/Getty Images)

The central benefit of eating cold cooked potatoes is in resistant starch -- RS. A tasteless form of fiber, RS aids in weight loss due to its slow absorption rate in the small intestine. This causes most of the dietary bulk of RS to pass as excrement. When potatoes are cooked, then cooled, resistant starch forms tight crystals. These crystals are broken up when the potato is reheated. This slow absorption also gives you the feeling of satiety for a longer period, reducing food intake.

A 2004 "Nutrition and Metabolism" study showed an increase in fat oxidation from eating the RS meal. It was further shown that the oxidation is sustained by a daily diet containing RS, suggesting that a diet including high RS foods may help you manage your weight.

Suggestions

Potato salad with herbs. (Image: HandmadePictures/iStock/Getty Images)

With an almost unending variety, the cold potato salad is limited only by your personal tastes. Additional consideration should be given to the ingredients, but calorie-conscious recipes are abundant.

Warnings

Mashed potatoes. (Image: DENIO RIGACCI/iStock/Getty Images)

Potatoes should not be considered a single food source, according to Barry Swanson, regents professor and interim director of the School of Food Science at Washington State University and University of Idaho. Potatoes are high on the glycemic index, which is not helpful to those struggling to maintain blood sugar levels, and the high concentration of potassium may be taxing on your kidneys. An all-potato diet would also be void of essential nutrients, such as vitamin A.

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