Are Potatoes Considered Good Carbs or Bad?

Dr. Oz has the answer.

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Q: Are potatoes considered good carbs or bad?

Oz Says: They can go either way, depending on how you prep them. Steeped in fat (we mean you, french fries, hash browns, and mashed potatoes), they're bad carbs — high in calories, low in fiber, with most of the vitamins zapped out.

"But when a potato is close to its whole form and has the skin on, I'd slide it over to the good side of the scale," says Diane L. McKay, PhD, an assistant professor of nutrition at Tufts University.

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When potatoes are baked, ½ cup has just 60 calories; that's half of what's in brown rice with nearly the same amount of fiber. Spuds also pack almost as much potassium as a small banana.

"And potatoes contain certain amino acids, important building blocks of protein, that our bodies can't create on their own and need to get from food," says McKay.

Yes, potatoes do have a high glycemic index (GI), meaning their carbs spike your blood sugar faster than those in, say, brown rice.

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"But even if you have diabetes or prediabetes, you don't have to eliminate them based on their GI. They're fine in moderation — no more than 5 or 6 cups per week. Just keep the skin on, because that's where the fiber is, have smaller amounts at a time, and watch your total carb count that day," says McKay.

This story originally appeared in the July/August 2016 issue of Dr. Oz The Good Life.

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