MAILBAG: Are Potatoes "OFF LIMITS"? (Surprising!)

What’s the deal with carbs and starches? Are they really that bad?

Potatoes are from nature, yet there are people telling me to ditch my potatoes because they’re not healthy. It’s very confusing.

Paul, from Clifton, New Jersey

Hi Paul,

You hit the nail on the head.

There’s no doubt that keeping your blood sugar low is vital for a healthy life. That’s why you’ve seen the advice to steer clear of starchy vegetables.

But the topic isn’t as straightforward as it might appear. That’s a lesson I learned early on as a young doctor.

When I first started practicing medicine, I would tell people to eat brown rice instead of white to help keep their blood sugar low. But it turned out I was wrong.

A researcher tested the theory by measuring a volunteer’s blood sugar before and after eating brown and white rice. And their blood sugar increased about the same.

Later, that researcher and other scientists put MANY different foods to the test. The result was the creation of the glycemic index.

The system ranks foods from 1 to 100 based on their effect on blood sugar levels. The higher the food’s glycemic index, the more it raises your blood sugar.

It’s far from a perfect tool.

After all, we rarely eat only one food at a time. There isn’t an easy way to understand what happens when you mix a low-glycemic and a high-glycemic food. And we’re all unique individuals, so our bodies may respond differently.

But the glycemic index has provided us with some invaluable information. The brown and white rice wasn’t the only surprising finding. We also learned that although hot potatoes ARE a high glycemic food, as expected, cold potatoes are NOT.

(Plus, high-carb pasta doesn’t typically raise blood sugar nearly as much as you might imagine. The wheat from the pasta interacts with the water it’s cooked in to form a gel that slows down the absorption of the sugars.)

Insights like these are why the glycemic index is still a good place to start. You can easily find almost any food’s ranking on the scale online. It’s recommended that you stay away from those high on the index.

What will work best for YOU depends on a few different factors. And it starts with some questions.

  • Do you have high or erratic blood sugar?
  • Are you overweight?
  • Do you have a chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer, or heart disease?

If you answered “yes” to two or more of those you SHOULD limit the starchy foods in your diet to keep your blood sugar in check.

But when you choose to eat starchy vegetables, make sure to include protein or fat in the same meal. This slows down the absorption of the sugars preventing blood sugar spikes.

However, if you’re relatively healthy, eating potatoes is probably not a problem.

P.S. Need more blood sugar help? Scientists have pinpointed the one fruit you should eat daily if you want to feel full… and CRUSH your diabetes risk at the same time.

Dr. Scott Olson, ND

Written By Dr. Scott Olson, ND

Nearly 25 years ago, failed mainstream medical treatments left Dr. Olson in constant pain – and his health in ruins. And that’s when he did something REVOLUTIONARY. He began his career in medicine – and dedicated his life to uncovering the true, underlying causes of disease.
Through his innovative medical practices in Tennessee and Colorado, Dr. Olson has helped cure countless seniors from across America of arthritis… heart disease… diabetes… and even cancer. All without risky prescription drugs or painful surgeries.

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