Melbourne: Potatoes may not be the fat-gaining ogre that many dieticians claim, according to a study by New Zealand-based researchers.

The study done by researchers at University of Otago found that when a person eats potatoes as part of a meal of meat and vegetables, the effects are barely felt, a media report said.

Bernard Venn and his team enlisted 30 healthy young people and monitored the glycemic index (GI) levels of three different meals, including one with potatoes as a side dish.

Venn said this meal was low on the glycemic index which meant the food would burn off slowly, even though it contained an ingredient many fear for its potential weight-gain properties.

"I don't think people should be too afraid of putting high-GI foods into their meals," Venn said.

"Our work suggests that having a small amount of potato with a meal isn't going to drive your blood sugar crazy."

Although potato is Good, a meal containing potato is not necessarily so, Venn added.

The findings were published in the October issue of the reputed American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.