This article has been Fact-Checked by Kendall Kennedy MS, RD, RYT
Picking the right foods for your weight loss diet can get confusing. What about potatoes, are they good for weight loss or fattening?
Potatoes are one of the most popular vegetables around the world, specifically in Europe. They are fairly inexpensive food with a nice amount of certain nutrients. Potatoes are native in America but they were introduced in Europe in the 16th century.
Being popular does not necessarily mean being healthy. Find out whether potatoes are good for weight loss or fattening, what some of the best ways are to eat them, and how they compare to other foods.
Micronutrients in potatoes
The first thing to look at is the amount of micronutrients in potatoes.
Micronutrients are a group of nutrients your body absolutely needs to survive and thrive. Micronutrients include vitamins and minerals. These are involved in basically every aspect of your health, including weight loss.
100 grams of potatoes, boiled, cooked in their skin, without salt, provides you with approximately (1):
- Vitamin C: 22% of the DV (Daily Value)
- Vitamin B6: 15% of the DV
- Potassium: 11% of the DV
- Copper: 9% of the DV
- Manganese: 7% of the DV
- Niacin: 7% of the DV
- Vitamin B5: 5% of the DV
- Magnesium: 5% of the DV
And a few others in smaller amounts. These are not the greatest amounts of vitamins and minerals compared to certain other whole foods.
That being said, small amounts do add up. Potatoes can be good to round of a balanced diet but you shouldn’t rely on them alone for your vitamin and minerals needs.
Fiber in potatoes for weight loss
Another very important factor for weight loss is the amount of fiber in your food.
Boiled potatoes contain around 1.8 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
That’s a good amount but there are a good amount of vegetables higher in fiber.
Fiber has multiple benefits. First of all, it feeds your microbiome, the microbes that live in your intestines. The health of your microbiome influences your body’s health and weight. Feeding it well is usually not a bad idea.
Fiber also helps you feel less hungry without adding a lot of calories to your diet. Hunger and cravings can be a big pitfall for people trying to lose weight, so avoiding this is a big plus.
With the amount of fiber in potatoes you can reduce the time you spend craving for food a good amount.
Do potatoes help you lose weight?
You still need a final piece of the puzzle. The amount of calories in potatoes.
Boiled potatoes contain 87 calories per 100 grams. 81 of these calories come from the carbohydrates (20.1 g per 100 grams of which 1.8 g fiber). One medium boiled potato with skin (136 g) contains around 118 calories.
Potatoes are not the greatest for low carb diets like the keto diet but you could fit in a tiny amount if you want.
The amount of calories in potatoes is not that much. That being said, fruits and vegetables are usually lower in calories than potatoes.
Even with that in mind potatoes are still a low-calorie food that can help you feel fuller without adding too many calories to your diet.
This in turn can help you avoid higher-calorie foods. For most people this, and thus eating more boiled potatoes is enough to lose weight.
If you are gaining weight while eating boiled potatoes, the first place to look at is the rest of your diet and other lifestyle habits. Boiled potatoes are generally not that fattening.
Can you eat potatoes every day?
Nutrition is always a bit of a puzzle in terms of what the perfect diet looks like. It’s a pretty individual thing.
Consuming enough micronutrients is important for both your short and long-term health and weight loss. Potatoes alone will not be enough to reach your daily micronutrient goals so you will need other foods as well.
That’s why something like the potato diet, mostly eating potatoes, is just plain bad for you.
If you have consumed enough micronutrients you can see how many potatoes still fit within your daily calories. The amount will be different from individual to individual from day to day, it can be 0 too.
Different ways to eat potatoes for weight loss
So eating boiled potatoes can have a place and time in a successful weight loss journey. On the other hand, there are many different preparation methods and recipes with potatoes.
Not every different way to eat potatoes is as good for weight loss. Find out what the best way is to cook potatoes for weight loss and which potato products you should avoid.
First of all the most basic way of preparing potatoes, boiling them. Boiling is a healthy and weight loss friendly way to prepare food.
You (usually) don’t burn it, and you don’t add any cooking oils that add calories to your diet. Boiling potatoes is a great preparation method for weight loss, even more so if you do the following…
Bonus: Boil your potatoes and then let them cool down for extra weight loss benefits.
There is a difference between simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates when it comes to losing weight.
Complex carbohydrates get processed slower, some not at all, by your body which is something you want when trying to lose weight. Complex carbohydrates and you feel fuller and less of them get processed which means fewer calories you actually absorb.
Heating a potato and then letting it cool down increases the amount of “resistant starch” in it. Resistant starch is a kind of complex carbohydrate that doesn’t get absorbed into your body but does feed your microbiome.
So by letting your potato cool off you convert some of the calories you would absorb into something that doesn’t add to your total calories, fills you up, and feeds your microbiome on top of that.
Potato chips and french fries
Next there are potato chips and french fries. You might know these are not optimal for weight loss but they are actually surprisingly bad.
You basically cut potato up and fry them in, often unhealthy, oil for a while. This leads to products that are far from their original potato form.
For example, 100 grams of potato chips contains around 536 calories (2). Just imagine how much fuller you would feel, and how much fewer calories you would consume with 100 grams of boiled potatoes.
Like with most foods you can have some and still lose weight but in general, you want to avoid potato chips and french fries when trying to lose weight.
Baked, roasted, and potato recipes
Lastly you can bake and roast potatoes, and use them in a wide variety of recipes.
Baking and roasting potatoes are fine for weight loss but by preparing them this way you do add some extra calories from the cooking oils.
How weight loss friendly other recipes that use potatoes are depends mostly on what the other ingredients are.
For example au gratin potatoes use a lot of cheeses. Most people want to keep an eye on their cheese consumption due to the amount of calories in it. For those people au gratin potatoes might not be the best for weight loss.
Something like potato soup would be great for weight loss since you are only adding water and vegetables, which are usually great for weight loss.
The best way to cook potatoes for weight loss
In the end the best way to cook potatoes for weight loss is just boiling them. Baking, roasting, and weight loss friendly potato recipes are a close second.
You generally want to avoid potato chips and french fries when trying to lose weight.
Potatoes vs other popular foods for weight loss
You now know how good potatoes are for weight loss but how do they compare to certain other foods? Find out how good potatoes are for weight loss vs sweet potatoes, rice, and yams.
Potatoes vs sweet potatoes
Potatoes contain around 1.8 grams of fiber per 100 grams, sweet potatoes 3.3 grams. Sweet potatoes contain higher amounts of vitamins and minerals than regular potatoes.
Sweet potatoes will likely be better for weight loss than regular potatoes.
Potatoes vs rice
Another popular comparison is potatoes vs rice. The thing with rice is that you have brown and white rice, and within these categories, you have different types with different nutritional values. For this comparison, long-grain brown rice (4) and long-grain white rice (5) will be used.
Both brown rice and white rice are higher in calories. This kind of brown rice contains about 111 calories per 100 grams and the white rice 130 calories.
Secondly, 100 grams of brown rice contains about the same amount of fiber as potatoes, 1.8 grams. This kind of white rice contains about 0.4 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
Lastly, rice has slightly higher amounts of vitamins and minerals.
All in all, potatoes will be better than rice, both brown and white, for weight loss.
Potatoes vs yams
Lastly there is potatoes vs yams another so-called “edible tuber”. Yams are higher in calories than potatoes, 116 calories per 100 grams (6).
There is a reasonable difference in the amount of fiber in these foods. Potatoes have about 1.8 grams of fiber per 100 grams vs yams with 3.9 grams. The amount of vitamins and minerals in yams is slightly higher.
It is not entirely clear whether potatoes or yams will be better for weight loss. Yams are higher in fiber which is a great weight loss nutrient but they are also higher in calories.
Chart of potatoes vs other popular foods
All in all, the differences between these fruits won’t make that much of a difference when it comes to losing weight besides maybe white rice. If you like all these foods equally you might as well choose the ones that are slightly better for weight loss.
The amount of vitamins and minerals in the foods does matter for weight loss and health but you can’t simplify that in one number. You can check out the numbers for potatoes (1), sweet potatoes (3), brown rice (4), white rice (5), and yams (6) to compare.
|Values Per 100g||Potatoes||Sweet Potatoes||Brown Rice||White Rice||Yams|
|Calories||87 calories||90 calories||111 calories||130 calories||116 calories|
|Fiber||1.8 g||3.3 g||1.8 g||0.4 g||3.9 g|