That said, compared with its extended vegetable family (spinach, broccoli, carrots, the ever-popular cauliflower)-and even its prettier sister, the sweet potato-the white potato gets a bad rap.

But here's the thing: Potatoes aren't bad for you-in fact, when prepared and consumed the right way, they can actually fast-track your weight-loss goals.

Case in point: In one Journal of the American College of Nutrition study, researchers found that when people followed healthy recipes, they actually lost weight eating five to seven servings of spuds per week. That's a lot of potatoes, people.

Cant remember the last time you ate a potato without feeling guilty ? Screw that. Here are four ways they can help you hit your healthy-weight goals.

1. They Prevent Overeating Get this: Potatoes top the satiety index (a measure of how full people feel after eating certain foods) as the number-one filling food . Seriously. It'll take seven croissants to fill you up as much as a single potato, according to the index. That might explain why, in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition study, people who increased their intake of potatoes automatically reduced their overall daily caloric intake.

What makes spuds so filling? As Purdue University researchers point out, white potatoes contain 4.7 grams of fiber , which is about the same as an apple. Plus, potatoes are rich in resistant starch , which take up space in your GI tract and slow down digestion. That keeps you feeling fuller longer, says Caspero.

And, you probably wouldnt guess this, but a medium white potato also contains 4.3 grams of filling protein . Its not as much as a chicken breast, but its way more than most vegetables!

2. They're Crazy-Low in Calories That medium white potato contains just 163 calories. Like we said, its all about how you prep them. Whats more, since potatoes resistant starch is tough to digest (hence the name), we dont actually absorb all of its calories, she says. That spud on your plate just got even slimmer.

Not sure how to cook a low-cal potato? Try serving them boiled or baked with nutrient-packed toppings like spices, Greek yogurt, poached eggs, salsa, baked beans, avocado slices, or any other foods you love, says Caspero. It might sound out of the box, but potatoes have such a mild flavor that they go great with basically anything.

3. They Can Boost Workout Results Potatoes are a mainstay among carbo-loading athletes. Thats because they fuel you with exactly what you need for better workouts and results, says Caspero.

During high-intensity or long-duration exercise, blood sugar and muscle glycogen (stored carbs) serve as your bodys primary source of energy. Thats why, according to Sports Medicine research, carbs can boost marathon training and high-intensity interval performance. And better performances = more calories burned and more muscle built.

Plus, unlike other carb sources, potatoes contain enough fiber and protein to keep your blood sugar levels from going HAM.

And even though most pre-race potato-lovers dont realize it, potatoes actually contain more potassium than bananas. Getting enough of that electrolyte is crucial for proper muscle function.

4. They're Complex AF One reason potatoes get a bad rap is because they're a starchy vegetable. But, if you havent gotten our drift yet, starch isnt bad. Its actually a complex carbohydrate, you know, that good carb that everyone is talking about for weight loss.

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While research has consistently linked complex carbs to weight loss, resistant starch specifically is shown to improve blood sugar control, which in turn facilitates weight loss and prevents insulin resistance, says Caspero. Booya.

Use potatoes whole, complex carbs to your weight-loss benefit by eating them in place of your usual refined carbs-like white bread and white pasta. Easy enough, right? Taters gonna tate, tate, tate.