White potatoes and other starches

WHY THEY MAKE THE LIST Potatoes actually rank high on the "satiety index," a compilation of foods that leave you feeling fullest. They have a bad rap because they act so much like sugar once they get into your bloodstream, but that's not always a bad development. Certainly, if you're trying to gain weight, starches help—they provide lots of calories and help stimulate the hormone insulin, which gets nutrients into muscle cells. The guy trying to lose weight is best advised to stay away from them whenever possible.

BEST OF THE BEST The most nutrients are found in potato skins, which few of us eat. As for the meat of the potato—or white rice, or white bread, or regular pasta, or any starch that isn't whole-grain—there's little nutritional value. But, because these starchy carbs enter your bloodstream quickly, they're good for post-workout meals. Otherwise, I suggest avoiding them.

I should add here that sweet potatoes and yams are starches but offer a better nutritional profile. They have beta-carotene, which is why I mentioned them in the A-List under "multicolored fruits and vegetables," and they have more fiber than white potatoes.

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