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Unveiling the Hidden Dangers: The Truth About Instant Mashed Potatoes

Why you should think twice before eating instant mashed potatoes

Potatoes are a popular vegetable with incredible versatility. They can be fried, baked, mashed, boiled, roasted, and used in a variety of dishes. But when it comes to instant mashed potatoes, there are a few reasons to think twice before consuming them.

High sodium content

One of the main concerns about instant mashed potatoes is their high sodium content. These processed potatoes are often loaded with sodium, which can be detrimental to your health. A single serving of boxed mashed potatoes can contain about 440 mg of sodium, nearly 25 percent of the maximum recommended daily amount. And remember, the recommended serving size is usually less than what most people consume in one sitting. Adding salt and butter to these potatoes only increases the sodium content.
Excessive sodium intake can lead to problems such as high blood pressure and damage to the kidneys, heart, nervous system and brain. While enjoying the occasional salted potato may not be a big deal, it’s important to be mindful of your overall sodium intake.

Higher Calorie Content

Compared to homemade mashed potatoes, boxed mashed potatoes also tend to be higher in calories. One cup of instant mashed potatoes can have over 200 calories, while one cup of whole potatoes has half that amount. Even if you stick to the recommended 1/3 cup serving size, you’re still consuming 66 calories. If you add additional ingredients like butter, cream cheese, or mayo, the calorie count can increase significantly.
In addition, the source of calories in boxed mashed potatoes is often saturated fat, whereas whole potatoes have very little fat. While plain mashed potatoes may have a slight calorie advantage, it’s important to be careful about adding high-fat toppings or drowning them in gravy.

Calcium deficiency

When it comes to calcium, non-instant mashed potatoes have a slight edge. One cup of whole potatoes contains more than six milligrams of calcium, which is important for bone health. While potatoes alone are not a significant source of calcium, every little bit helps. On the other hand, boxed mashed potatoes provide no calcium at all.
If you’re on a plant-based diet or rely on tubers as a vegetarian, getting enough calcium can be a challenge. Adding butter and cheese to mashed potatoes can provide some calcium, but it’s still important to consider other dietary sources of this essential nutrient.

Questionable additives

When you choose plain baked or boiled potatoes, you know exactly what you’re eating. But packaged mashed potatoes often contain additives and stabilizers to enhance flavor and extend shelf life. These additives can outweigh the list of vitamins and minerals the potatoes provide.
One ingredient of concern found in some boxed mashed potatoes is silicoaluminate, a non-organic bulking and stabilizing agent. This ingredient has raised concerns about its potential toxicity. By making mashed potatoes from scratch, you have control over the ingredients and can avoid potentially harmful additives.

Making Mashed Potatoes from Scratch

Given the drawbacks associated with instant mashed potatoes, making mashed potatoes from scratch is a healthier and more nutritious option. Not only can you control sodium and calories, but you can choose high-quality ingredients and avoid questionable additives.
Making mashed potatoes from scratch is relatively easy and doesn’t take much effort. Plus, you have the freedom to customize your mashed potatoes with a variety of flavors and seasonings. Whether you prefer them plain, creamy, or loaded with herbs and spices, homemade mashed potatoes offer a world of delicious possibilities.
By taking the time to make mashed potatoes from scratch, you can ensure that you’re getting the most out of this versatile and popular vegetable. So the next time you’re craving mashed potatoes, consider going the homemade route for a healthier and more satisfying meal.


Are instant mashed potatoes a healthy choice?

Instant mashed potatoes are often high in sodium and calories, making them less healthy than homemade mashed potatoes. It’s best to eat them in moderation.

Can instant mashed potatoes contribute to high blood pressure?

Yes, because of their high sodium content, regular consumption of instant mashed potatoes can contribute to high blood pressure, especially when combined with other high-sodium foods in your diet.

Are there nutritional benefits to homemade mashed potatoes?

Homemade mashed potatoes made from whole potatoes offer more nutritional benefits, such as lower sodium content, potential calcium contribution, and the ability to control the ingredients and additives used.

Can I reduce the sodium in instant mashed potatoes?

While you cannot directly reduce the sodium content of instant mashed potatoes, you can minimize additional sodium intake by avoiding adding salt and using unsalted butter or healthier alternatives when preparing them.

Are there alternatives to instant mashed potatoes?

Yes, there are alternatives to instant mashed potatoes, such as making mashed potatoes from scratch using whole potatoes, sweet potatoes, or other root vegetables. These alternatives give you more control over the ingredients and nutritional content.

Can I make instant mashed potatoes healthier?

While you cannot change the nutritional composition of instant mashed potatoes, you can make them a little healthier by adding nutritious toppings such as steamed vegetables, herbs, or using Greek yogurt instead of butter or cream.

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