Question/Answer Friday

I have had two very good questions this week that made me think I should expand on the answer I gave them and share with everyone.

Question 1: Are sweet potatoes bad or just white potatoes?

Answer: Sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index than white potatoes; however not all white potatoes have the same glycemic index, russets are the worst. Sweet potatoes have more nutrients than white potatoes. I would list them but this infographic from the Cleveland Clinic does a much better job.

I would like to add that although the sweet potato has more sugar, the white potato’s starch is digested into sugar and absorbed faster than the sweet potato’s sugar so don’t worry about the extra sugar its misleading.

In conclusion, limit your consumption of white potatoes. Notice I did not say never eat another white potato again. Eaten in moderation and as part of a high vegetable diet they are not that bad.


Question 2: Actually it was the statement at the end of the question. “When I take a fiber powder my stomach swells up like a watermelon.”

Answer: Any time you make dietary changes you need to do it slowly. Your digestive tract is very complex. According to Dr. Michael Gershon in The Second Brain, our digestive tract has more nerves than the remainder of the body except the brain and spinal cord. In addition these nerves form a “second brain” that can and does function without input from the brain. When you change the diet for the better the bad bacteria in the gut start getting replaced by the good bacteria and a small battle eschews. This battle disturbs the brain of the gut as well as produces some excess gas. Introduce new things slowly. If you have lived on burgers and fries for years and start on a salad and bean diet there will be trouble. Add servings of the good stuff over a period of a couple of weeks and you should be fine.