Guru Kate: Haters gon’ hate taters

What’s with people bashing potatoes lately? I thought they were vegetables!

First of all, potatoes can be a healthy side dish if prepared correctly. This means that you must eat them with the skin on and without butter, sour cream, cheese, salt or bacon.

But let’s face it: potatoes are dry like that. Boring. Not even worth it. So we peel them, boil them, mash them, salt them, add cream, butter, cheese and sour cream, resulting in some killer mashed potatoes.

However, this process takes all the good away from potatoes and adds extra calories. See, most of the vitamins of potatoes are located in the skin or right under the skin. That skin also adds healthy fiber.

In addition, after peeling the potato, any vitamins or minerals still remaining can be washed off by the water that they’re boiled in. If you bake the potato, that helps a bit.

However, I still can’t say that I know of many people who eat their potato skins unless they are stuffed and served as an appetizer.

Once the vitamins and minerals are removed, what’s left on the plate is a nutritionally empty food. “Nutritionally empty” refers to a food that has a terrible vitamin-to-calorie ratio.

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Essentially, you’re wasting your calories on foods that won’t make them worth your while.

When you slather on fatty spreads, that makes the lowly potato that much more nutritionally empty.

There are some nutrition experts that go so far to say that the meat of the potato, the starch, is turned into sugar as quickly as white bread. We all know the type of health-bashing white bread has been subject to in the past decade, and for good reason.

A good alternative to the ordinary potato? Try a baked sweet potato. They have much more vitamin A than a standard potato, have more anti-inflammatory properties and are naturally more flavorful than a plain potato.

This means that you can add fewer toppings — and cut the extra calories — while still eating something delicious.