Skinny Spuds You'll Like
By Dietitian, Juliette Kellow BSc RD
This month, the papers have been full of news about a new spud that looks set to bring an end to couch potatoes! Naturally Best, the Lincolnshire company behind Vivaldi Potatoes, has discovered it’s humble spud contains on average, 26% less carbohydrate and a third fewer calories, compared to other varieties of potato.
In some cases, the Vivaldi actually has up to 38% less carbs and 56% fewer calories – hence the claim that it contains half the calories of other spuds.
According to the makers, the creation of this new ‘skinny’ spud has nothing to do with the popularity of low-carb diets such as Atkins or GI, the latter of which recommends avoiding most potatoes as they have a high GI. Instead, the idea was to create a ‘one-spud-fits-all’ product that could be used for baking, roasting, boiling or mashing, while still tasting great.
It took nine years to create this new breed of potato, but despite the concerns of some members of WLR, Vivaldi potatoes are not genetically modified – they are simply a new variety that can be added to a long list that includes Maris Piper and King Edward.
Vivaldi potatoes are already a favourite with chefs for their taste and creamy texture, now their popularity is set to soar amongst slimmers who can’t bear the thought of skipping spuds. While the Vivaldi wasn’t designed to be a low carb or low calorie potato, a recent nutritional analysis revealed the lower calorie and carb content.
In fact, the findings are so new that the makers of Vivaldi still haven’t had the opportunity to update the nutrition information on their packaging – currently, packs of the Vivaldi potatoes from Sainsbury’s contain the same nutrition information as for regular spuds.
Furthermore, the makers say they are not currently in a position to provide more information and so no specific nutrition information for Vivaldi potatoes has been released to date. They do, however, say that more information will be given in the future. Ultimately, it’s a case of watching this space.
Based on the recent claims, a 100g serving of boiled Vivaldi potatoes should contain just 53 calories and 12.6g carbohydrate compared to the 72 calories and 17g carbohydrate found in regular spuds. However, these figures have not yet been officially released and are not currently being used on packaging.
It sounds like the makers of Vivaldi have announced their findings before they’re really ready to support them with scientific evidence. As a result, until the new nutrition information has been made ‘official’ on packaging, I would continue to count the calories that are currently listed.
In the meantime, let’s get things in perspective. As most WLR members will already now, standard spuds are already quite low in calories – just 72 calories for a 100g serving. And remember, it’s the fat that’s added to spuds that doubles their calorie content, for example, frying them to make chips, topping new potatoes with a large knob of butter, adding cream to mash or mixing them with mayo to make a potato salad. And it’s perhaps this that will make Vivaldi potatoes a true hit with slimmers – many members of WLR say these potatoes are so creamy you simply don’t need to add butter to them!
You can buy Vivaldi potatoes – so-called because they’re available ‘four seasons’ of the year – from Sainsbury’s.
You can use the food diary and database tools in WLR to make sure your diet is healthy, balanced and contains the right amount of fat and calories. Try it free for 24 hours.