Baked, fried, roasted and mashed—potatoes are one of the most multi-dimensional foods out there. They’re also known to be a great supplier of empty carbs, right? Wrong. Well, not entirely wrong. They’re definitely not the healthiest option, but this versatile vegetable actually has a lot more to offer than deep fried calories.
The problem isn’t the vegetable itself, but more the way we prepare it—after all, anything deep fried and covered in heaps of cheese, sour cream, and bacon is likely to be a bit of a drag on our health. However, if we wanted to slap a scoop of lightly buttered mashed potatoes on our plate every night, we could actually be perfectly healthy.
In Human Nutrition and Dietetics, a book by Stanley Davidson, potatoes are said to be able to sustain life better than a lot of other foods when eaten as the sole component of a diet. This is not to say we should ditch our low-carb, low-fat, veggie or vegan diets for this glorified starch, but it’s definitely a short-term possibility.
Chris Voigt, executive directer at the Washington State Potato Commission, actually tried eating nothing but potatoes for two months. His goal was to “show the world that the potato is so healthy that you could live off them alone for an extended period of time without any negative impact to your health.” And he did. Plus, if Matt Damon can live alone with his potato lab on Mars, why cant we?
Although it might be possible to life entirely off of potatoes, it may not be the best option. Potatoes are chock full of nutrients like vitamins C and B6, potassium, and phosphorous—all things known to help reduce various health issues. But, they definitely don’t offer quite as much as a truly well-balanced diet would.
So again, its probably not the best dietary decision to commit to exclusively eating potatoes, but this carbo-loaded veggie is definitely not as bad as we might think.