02/11/2010 13:01 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Can You Really Eat Potatoes While Dieting?

If you've ever been on a diet you've probably agonised over what you can and cannot eat. Depending on what diet plan you're following it could mean you'll avoid any number of different food types. But now you can eat potatoes, say researchers from the University of California.


Hang on a minute. Potatoes are the low-carb eater's public enemy number one, aren't they? And if you're following a low-GI diet, it's unlikely you'll go within 100 yards of the humble spud, since its glycaemic index rating is sky high.

According to this latest study, however, you can forget about carbs, GI and the rest. In fact, what the researchers found was that losing weight isn't about eliminating any particular type of food. What it all comes down to is - you've guessed it - reducing calories.

"There's no evidence that potatoes contribute to weight gain," says Dr Britt Burton Freeman, the study's lead researcher. "In fact we're seeing that they can be part of a weight-loss program."

In tests the researchers discovered volunteers lost a similar amount of weight whether or not they ate potatoes - as long as their overall food intake was reduced by 500 calories a day. There again, the study was funded by the US Potato Board (so the results should come as no surprise).

If you're a potato fan you may also like to know that a medium-size spud, including skin, contains around 110 calories and has more potassium than a banana, while providing almost half your daily requirement of vitamin C.

Where do you stand on the potato argument? Can't live without them or never touch them?