The Great Diet Debate: Is it Potatoes, Pasta or Rice

Conventional diet wisdom says that all those enticing carbohydrates – potatoes and pasta and rice – are not very good for a dieter. The real truth is, they are all fine for a diet (well, maybe not white rice so much) in moderation. What’s bad about the high carbohydrate side dishes is the delicious sour cream, butter, Alfredo sauce, those yummy bacon bits, cheese, and all the other evil toppings that add tons of calories to an already tasty side dish. A baked potato that is dripping with butter offsets any nutritional value.

Lately, many dieters are very surprised to discover that potatoes and rice can be good for a diet since they are almost fat free. And they are fairly close calorie wise, too. Even pasta (especially whole grain) is not a bad diet food – in moderation, please (no pound of pasta per serving, please!)


Long rejected in many dieters’ minds, potatoes are definitely an excellent food choice and I’m happy tp report have fewer carbohydrates than whole grain pasta and brown rice. Generally, potatoes (spuds) have more life sustaining vitamins and nutrients than rice. A medium baked potato (give or take) is about 230 calories; it provides nearly 3 grams of fiber if you eat the skin and 2.3 grams if you decide to feed the skin to the chickens.

Of course, when it comes to memorable potatoes, it’s all about grandma’s famous recipe. A baked potato is fine (especially if plain)… I know…. boring. The no, no’s are… Delmonico cheese potatoes, French fries, and even mashed do not cut it if you want to see the scale drop to zero. Well…. Maybe not zero.Is it Potatoes, Pasta or Rice


A few words about white rice. Even though a cup of white rice is about 240 calories and brown rice is about 215 calories, the issue is really not the calories versus the nutritional value. Brown rice is “unrefined” white rice. Brown rice still has the side hull and bran. They’re rich in proteins, fiber, thiamine, magnesium, calcium, and potassium. So needless to say, Brown rice is believed by most nutritionists to be simply better for you (although there are a few who will argue in favor of white rice).

A cup of brown rice provides 3.5 grams of fiber; the same serving size of white rice has .6 grams of fiber.

And then there’s the pasta

You’re not allowing pasta in your diet? You just might be denying yourself an enjoyable diet food. Would you believe that a half-cup of whole-wheat pasta is only 90 calories. Obviously, a half-cup of pasta hardly constitutes a meal, but as part of, say, a chicken and vegetable stir fry, it can be not only delicious but also filling.

A cup of whole wheat has 180 calories; the same amount of white pasta is 240 calories

Let the potato versus rice versus pasta debate rage around you. Meanwhile you sit and relish a delicious medium baked potato, a cup of tasty brown rice OR a small portion of whole-wheat pasta (of course with no added high calories toppings). Relax and know you are not only sticking to your diet, but you are doing so wisely and nutritionally.