Good Day Alabama for September 17, 2012 - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Good Day Alabama for September 17, 2012

Here is what you saw on Good Day Alabama for September 17, 2012:

BETH K - UAB Nutritionist Dr. Beth KitchinsI loves potatoes and nothing makes her go ballistic more than hearing someone say "Don't eat potatoes, they make you gain weight". Do potatoes really make you gain weight? How did this rumor get started? It all goes back to the low-carb craze and glycemic index. Glycemic index tells us that some foods make the blood sugar go up more than other foods. These foods are dubbed "high glycemic index foods". When the blood sugar goes up, the hormone insulin kicks in. Insulin escorts the blood sugar into the body's cells and brings blood sugar back down to normal. A spike in the blood sugar could also spike insulin. Too much insulin, the hypothesis goes, can make you fat.  However, there are some problems with this line of reasoning. White potatoes may have a high glycemic index. But how often do you eat a plain potato with nothing on it and no other foods along with it? Probably not very often. The other foods that you eat change the blood sugar effects of the potato. Meat, cheese, butter, sour cream, or other vegetables will lower the overall blood sugar effects. The bottom line is this: it does not make nutritional sense to avoid low calorie, nutrient-packed foods based on glycemic index alone. Here are six good reasons to eat potatoes. Potatoes are:
1. High in Potassium.  Diets rich in potassium help lower blood sugar and the risk of stroke. Potatoes beat out bananas when it comes to potassium. A baked potato with the skin has 850 mg of potassium while a banana has 450 mg. We need 3500 mg of potassium a day so eating potatoes makes lots of sense.
2. High in Vitamin C: A baked potato with the skin gives you a third of your daily need for vitamin C at 26 mg per serving.
3. High in Fiber: A medium baked potato with the skin has 5 grams of fiber. High fiber diets may lower your risk for heart disease.  
4. A Good source of Magnesium: This hard-to-get mineral helps lower blood pressure and subsequently, the risk of stroke.
5. Fat Free: Potatoes are fat free leaving room to add some fat and flavor.
6. Inexpensive and easy to cook: Potatoes are really cheap and easy to prepare. The healthiest way to make them is baked or roasted. Scrub 'em up and pop them in a hot oven for 45 minutes to an hour or microwave them. To roast them, just cut them up in wedges, brush some olive oil on them, season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Be sure to eat the skin - that's where a fair portion of the nutrients are. Plus, peeling potatoes is also needlessly time consuming.
Notice we've focused on baked potatoes with the skin because that's a tasty way to retain all those healthy nutrients. It also keeps fat and calories low with little prep time. It is fine to add some sour cream (which is actually lower in fat and calories than butter), a bit of cheese or butter, or some seasoning salt. Just be careful not to overdo it. You can also sauté up some mushrooms, low-fat smoked sausage, onions, garlic, or other veggies to add a lot of healthy flavor.
JEH JEH LIVE - Jeh Jeh joined us live from the Northeast YMCA in Roebuck with Mikal Thomas. Today he showed us the latest exercises you can do for the week. For more information, call (205) 833-7616.

ANARCTICA GUY - James B. McClintock is one of the world's foremost experts on Antarctic marine biology, and currently the Endowed University Professor of Polar and Marine Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He has led fourteen research expeditions to Antarctica over the past thirty years. He and his research have been featured in National Geographic Magazine, Discover Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Wall Street Journal, and others. McClintock Point, a promontory of land on the north side of the entrance of Explorer's Cove on the Scott Coast of the Ross Sea, Antarctica, was named in honor of his research. "Lost Antarctica" looks at the bitter cold and three months a year without sunlight which make Antarctica virtually uninhabitable for humans. Yet a world of extraordinary wildlife persists in these harsh conditions, including leopard seals, penguins, giant sea spiders and predatory worms, corals, multicolored sea stars, and 50-foot algae. Now, as temperatures rise and ocean acidification increases, this fragile ecosystem is under attack. In this closely observed account, one of the world's foremost authorities on Antarctica gives us a highly original, colorful, and distinctive look at a world that we're losing.

ASK THE GARDENER - Libby Rich of Plant Odyssey took questions from viewers about their gardening needs. You can contact her at Plant Odyssey at (205) 324-0566 or visit

Tomorrow on Good Day Alabama, Bern Nadette Stanis - best known as Thelma from "Good Times" - drops by the studio to visit with us! Concussions have been a hot topic lately... From legislature to studies at UAB. We talk with the Alabama lawmaker responsible for new safety rulings when it comes to concussions and athletes! Our wildlife expert joins us in the studio to kickoff hunting season! And People Magazine focuses on Jason Aldean and some of your other favorite stars in the latest Country edition! We check that out! In your 40s? What should you be doing to prepare for retirement? We break it down in Money Tuesday ... that and more tomorrow on Good Day Alabama!

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