Many diets recommend limiting your carbohydrate intake, which may make you wonder if baked potatoes can be part of a weight-loss diet. Do not get hung up on banning particular foods, or groups of food, from your diet. Rather, consider each food and whether its calories and nutrient content justify including it as part of your diet. Baked potatoes have many nutritional benefits and a modest number of calories, making them a good food to include in your weight-loss eating plan.
Baked potatoes are lower in calories than you might think. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food & Nutrition Information Center reports that a small baked potato including the skin has 103 calories, a medium potato just 130 calories, and a large baked potato has just under 225 calories. Toppings, however, can quickly increase the calorie count. Try toppings such as tuna or low-fat chili instead of butter or cheese.
Baked potatoes are a good source of protein, with between 4 and 7 g in a single potato, according to the USDA. This is an important element of a weight-loss eating plan. In "Easy Natural Weight Loss" author Patrick Engelen notes that protein boosts your metabolism because your body burns 20 percent of protein calories for fuel. Protein also supports your immune system, which is important anytime, including when you're dieting. It also helps keep your blood sugar levels stable so you don't have cravings between meals.
Fiber And Water Content
MayoClinic.com notes that high-fiber foods are an excellent choice for weight loss. A small baked potato has 3 g of fiber, while a large baked potato has 6.5 g, notes the USDA. This will keep you feeling full for longer, and promote digestive health, which helps reduce bloating. As well as being high in fiber, potatoes have a high water content – between 100 g and 220 g per potato – which helps your digestive system process the fiber and keeps you hydrated.
Vitamins and Minerals
One of the best reasons to include baked potatoes in your diet is that they have a significant quantity of vitamins and minerals. The Washington State Potato Commission says that a medium potato has 45 percent of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, as well as vitamin B-6, thiamine, folate and niacin. Potatoes are also high in minerals: They have as much potassium as an average banana, as well as iron, phosphorus, magnesium and zinc.
- “Easy Natural Weight Loss”; Patrick Engelen; 2010
- USDA: Food & Nutrition Information Center – Potato, Baked
- MayoClinic.com: Nutrition and Weight Loss – High Fiber Foods; 2009
- Washington State Potato Commission: “Washington Potatoes Are Nutritious”; 2011
- International Year of the Potato: Potatoes, Nutrition and Diet