Eating potatoes can help people lose weight, according to a new study.
Scientists say the vegetables are packed with important nutrients and can be part of a healthy diet.
Potatoes have previously been linked to an increased risk of type two diabetes and people with insulin resistance have been told to avoid them but the new findings suggest that might not be true.
Researchers in the US have found people tend to feel full once they have consumed a certain amount of food, regardless of the calorific content of it.
Potatoes help fill a plate with food that may otherwise be much higher in calories, which in turn helps people lose weight.
Prof Candida Rebello, the study's co-investigator, from Pennington Biomedical Research Centre in Baton Rouge, Louisiana said: "People tend to eat the same weight of food regardless of calorie content in order to feel full.
"By eating foods with a heavier weight that are low in calories, you can easily reduce the number of calories you consume.
"The key aspect of our study is that we did not reduce the portion size of meals but lowered their caloric content by including potatoes.
"Each participant's meal was tailored to their personalised calorific needs, yet by replacing some meat content with potato, participants found themselves fuller, quicker, and often did not even finish their meal. In effect, you can lose weight with little effort."
Potatoes v beans and peas
For the study, researchers recruited 36 people who were overweight or had obesity or insulin resistance – a condition where the body's cells do not respond well to insulin and sugar does not enter cells to make energy.
The participants, who were between 18 and 60 years old, were given diets that included either beans, peas, and meat or fish; or white potatoes with meat or fish.
Both diets were high in fruit and vegetable content and substituted an estimated 40 per cent of typical meat consumption with either beans and peas, or potatoes.
Potatoes were incorporated into the main lunch and dinner courses such as shepherd's pie and creamy shrimp and potatoes, and served with sides such as mashed potatoes, oven-roasted potato wedges, potato salad, and scalloped potatoes.
When the team compared the potato, and the bean and pea-based diets, they found them both to be equally healthy.
Prof Rebello said: "We demonstrated that contrary to common belief, potatoes do not negatively impact blood glucose levels."
The findings were published in the Journal of Medicinal Food.