In this article, we will answer the following question: Are potatoes healthier than pasta? We will talk about the potato’s satiating power and cook both potato and pasta as a healthy and nutritious meal.
Are potatoes healthier than pasta?
Some nutritionists believe that potatoes are healthier than pasta because they provide more energy-delivering complex carbohydrates. However, both potatoes and pasta are rich in complex carbohydrates, nutrients that should form the basis of any balanced diet.
Carbohydrates are the primary energy source for our body and should cover between 50% and 60% of the diet’s total calories. Our body needs them to function, and they will only be stored in our body as fat deposits if we consume them in excess and do not perform regular physical activity.
The key, as always, is in moderation. What must also be taken into account is that in addition to taking care of the amounts of carbohydrates that we consume, we must pay attention to the type of food we accompany the bread, pasta, rice, or potatoes way in that we cook them.
If we eat bread with butter, whole cheeses or cold cuts, or if we serve pasta or rice with cream or oil-based sauces and grated hard or semi-hard cheeses, we will add not only the calories from carbohydrates to our diet, but also the fats from whole dairy, oils, and cold cuts. Similarly, a serving of French fries will not have the same amount of calories as baked potatoes without added fat or steamed.
The secret to enjoying a plate of pasta, a few slices of bread, or a plate or garnish based on rice or potatoes, is to control the portion and accompany them with vegetables, cheeses, and low-fat dairy.
It is also advisable to choose the integral versions that provide more fiber, which helps speed up intestinal transit, prevent constipation, generate a more incredible feeling of satiety, and regulate glucose and cholesterol levels in the blood.
Complex carbohydrates should never be absent from the diet. They provide you with energy slowly and gradually, which helps keep your body’s glucose levels stable and prevents the dreaded “hunger attacks.”
Of course, to benefit from its properties, you must bear in mind that the way you cook foods rich in complex carbohydrates will have a decisive influence on both the calories they will provide you and how your body assimilates these nutrients.
How to cook potatoes?
The method you use to cook the potatoes many influences the calories that they will later provide you when you eat them. Observe the significant difference in calories that occurs when cooking 100 grams of potatoes depending on the type of cooking used:
- Cooked or roasted with skin (without adding fat) – 80 kcal
- Frozen pre-fry (with light frying beforehand) – 275 kcal
- Fried at home – 380 kcal
- Commercial frit (bag chips) – 490 kcal
The satiating power of the potato
Not all potatoes are equally satisfying. The difference is not only in the energy they give you, but you cook them changes their satiating power: they are not the same as boiled potatoes, then fried. The reason: their glycemic index varies, and their carbohydrates behave either as fast-absorbing or “slow” carbohydrates.
If you consume them:
- Steamed (without being in contact with water) or roasted – Its glycemic index is medium-low. They add few calories and are digested slowly (they are little fattening). Besides, they provide you with more nutrients, especially potassium and vitamins B6, C, and folic acid.
- Boiled (submerged in water with the skin on) – Its glycemic index is medium. They lose nutrients, which are dissolved in the cooking water.
- Fried and chopped or mashed into a puree – Its glycemic index is high. Crushed, their starch breaks down, and they become rapidly absorbed. Thus, they lose almost all their vitamin C content (even more if you use sunflower oil).
How to cook pasta?
The way you boil pasta also has a significant influence on how your body assimilates it. The calories in pasta “as is” will behave differently depending on the degree of cooking to which it has been subjected:
Cooked al dente. The pasta will be al dente if, when chewed, it offers some resistance inside. At that point in cooking, the starch molecules are not broken, digestion is somewhat slower, and it releases energy gradually (the dish is less fattening). Besides, in this way, the pasta satisfies more.
Of course, do not forget to accompany the pasta with healthy ingredients, which provide you with nutrients without excessively increasing the dish’s energy level.
Even though pasta, bread, potatoes, or rice have a high percentage of carbohydrates in their composition, it is not advisable to eliminate them from our daily diet, even if we are looking to lose weight. The ideal is to include them but in a sensible way.
Remember that carbohydrates provide the same calories as protein and less than fat, so there is no reason to eliminate them from the diet. We should prefer whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits and avoid high sugar consumption and refined products. A healthy and balanced diet is always associated with a decrease in the incidence of many diseases.
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