White foods: to eat or not to eat? Diet myths debunked

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various potato dishes: potato chips, hashbrowns, tater tots, baked potato, and mashed potatoes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Diet myth #2 with Shelley Rael, MS, RD:  “You shouldn’t eat white foods” (or should you?)

Shelley Rael, registered dietitian in private practice from Albuquerque, New Mexico and I had the chance to catch up in Philadelphia during the annual Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. We discussed six diet myths—here was the second one. (To see the video, scroll to the bottom or click here.)

Shelley: This one is kind of twofold. People say they cut out white foods. I hear people say I stopped these white foods and I lost all this weight. And what I think most people are referring to is the refined grains, the refined white bread—which by the way, I would never give up ever. Like ever. I look forward to that.
Neily: Yes
Shelley: White rice, white potatoes—that’s what a lot of people are referring to. I hate that all these white foods are clumped together. As I say, it’s discriminating. Of course, we want brown foods—brown rice, and the whole grain bread but there are a lot of white foods that are really good for you. Potatoes are not evil but people think they are. Onions, leeks, garlic, cauliflower—those are white foods that are good for you. People are like, you know what I mean. But I just want to clarify that we cannot just put this one color on the hit list so to speak. When I talk about potatoes there are a few parts about potatoes that I mention. You know they’re great sources of vitamins and fiber. It’s what we DO to the potatoes.
Neily: Exactly. How is it dressed? The company it keeps.
Shelley: What we eat with the potatoes. Mashed potatoes—I’ve made healthier versions of mashed potatoes. But people talk about the stick of butter and the cream they use in mashed potatoes—that’s what makes potatoes go to the far side, the dark side.
Neily: A loaded baked potato—you’ve got bacon, cheese, sour cream, butter and it all adds up….
Shelley: Add a little bit of chives for the veggies. And have it with a 20 ounce steak. Or French fries—the No 1 vegetable in this country. French fries and ketchup is No 2 as a vegetable. You know French fries and ketchup are the No.1 and No. 2 sources of fruits and vegetables in the country. That’s not what we want to do. It’s not the fact that it’s white as much as it’s fried, with a lot of salt.
Neily: Right. So it’s okay to eat white food. Thanks Shelley! Thanks for watching Neily on Nutrition and we’ll see you in the next video.

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