Potatoes are a tasty and nutrient-dense food that many families include in their daily diets. Carbs in potatoes are also considered a healthy option when adequately prepared. Cooked and eaten in their skins, potatoes are low in calories and high in vitamins B6, C, and potassium. When potatoes are steamed or microwaved, they retain a more significant amount of their nutritional value.
Cooked and cooled potatoes, like those used in potato salad, have more resistant starch, a fiber that helps with blood glucose control and gut health. Potato chips and other fried foods are less healthy and should be consumed in moderation.
Sweet potatoes and white potatoes have a similar nutritional profile and are both high in complex carbohydrates. One medium potato equals one vegetable serve, which can help you meet your daily recommended vegetable intake.
Are Potatoes High in Carbs?
Yes, carbs in potatoes are high. In the human body, the brain needs a constant supply of carbohydrates to function and derive energy from, and it is also essential for psychological and cognitive development. A simple carbohydrate consists only of sugars, but potatoes have starch made up of complex sugars.
Typically, grains like rice, pasta, etc., and potatoes are considered together due to their high carbohydrate content, but technically, potatoes are vegetables. Along with corn and green peas, potatoes are classified as “starchy” vegetables. During digestion, starches are rapidly converted to sugar; this results in a sharp increase in blood sugar levels.
There are three different kinds of starch components in potatoes:
- Rapidly digested
- Slowly digested
- Resistant starch
Resistant starch is found in the majority of cooked potatoes. Since the health benefits of potato-derived starch have become widely discussed, nutritionists have turned their attention to it.
Carbs in potatoes are affected by various factors, including cultivation practices, crop growth temperatures, storage durations and temperatures, and processing. Numerous types of biochemical procedures are available to determine the content of carbs in potatoes.
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How many Carbs and starch are there in a Potato?
The content of carbs in potatoes varies according to variety. The table below details the nutritional content of several popular varieties. The quantities listed are per 100g.
|Type of Potato||Total Carb (per 100g)|
|White skin, peeled, baked||17.4|
|White skin, peeled, boiled||12.6|
|Red skin, peeled, baked||25.6|
|Red skin, peeled, boiled||33.4|
|Sweet potato, peeled, baked||17.2|
|Sweet potato, peeled, boiled||15.2|
A medium (173g) baked russet potato contains nearly 40g of carbohydrates, 34g of net carbohydrates, and 4g of fiber; a large potato contains double that amount. Almost all varieties of potatoes contain an equal amount of carbs. The majority of the carbs in potatoes are in the form of complex starch.
Fresh potatoes contain 20% dry matter, 60% to 80% of which is starch. Additionally, the majority of the starch in potatoes is amylopectin, a starch that is easily digested.
In addition to digestible starch, potatoes contain amounts of indigestible starch. When compared to other forms of carbohydrates, complex carbs are generally are considered to be more beneficial. However, despite this, the human body is very efficient at starch digestion; blood glucose levels will still be affected.
It is because starches are composed entirely of glucose, a simple carbohydrate. According to research, the blood glucose concentration and insulin response to other sugars, such as lactose and sucrose (table sugar), are between 50% and 60% of those to glucose.
Other Nutrients in Potatoes
As stated above, potatoes also contain fiber. However, with 4 grams of fiber in each serving, servings, no more than 2% of the recommended daily intake is recommended. In contrast to this, the potato skin, which constitutes approximately two percent of the total weight, the fiber content of two times that of the weight of the potato is found in the skin.
Thus, potatoes are a starchy food, not a fibrous one. Furthermore, potatoes are a good source of vitamin B complex vitamins and minerals like magnesium and potassium. However, root vegetables such as potatoes are shallow in fat, providing only 22 milligrams of omega-3 fatty acids and 74 milligrams of omega-6 fatty acids per serving. On the other hand, most current guidelines estimate that most individuals should consume at least 500 to 1000mg of omega-3s daily to maintain good health.
|Nutrition Facts of Potato|
|One Medium Russet Potato (173g)- Baked|
|Calories – 164|
|Total Carbs 38g Fiber 4g Net Carbs 34g Fat 0.22g Protein 4.55g Sugars 1.9 g|
|Vitamins Vitamin A 17 IU Vitamin C 14.4 mg Vitamin K 3.5 mg Vitamin B6 0.6 mg Folate 45mg|
|Minerals Calcium 31mg Iron 1.85mg Magnesium 52 mg Potassium 952 mg Sodium 24mg|
How Carbs in Potatoes affect your blood sugar?
Those who have diabetes should know what and how many carbohydrates they consume at each meal. When you consume carbs, it is converted into sugar in your body’s digestive system, and this sugar enters your bloodstream and increases your blood sugar levels. Additionally, they are high in starch, a type of carbohydrate. While carbs in potatoes are considered a complex “healthy” carb, it is digested more quickly by the body than other complex carbs. These carbs that have been broken down flood your blood with sugar. It causes a rapid rise in blood sugar.
However, It is a widely held belief that people with diabetes should avoid potatoes and other starchy foods due to their high glycemic index (GI). Consuming foods with a low or moderate glycemic index can assist a person in managing their blood sugar levels. While some potato varieties do have a high GI, other factors can offset this, such as the skin of potatoes adds fiber, they’re low in calories, packed with vitamins C, potassium, and B6.
What is Glycemic Index?
The Glycemic Index shows how quickly a particular food type is digested and transformed into blood sugar (glucose).
- Low glycemic index diets can provide essential health benefits for people, such as lower cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk.
- The glycemic index is a numerical value assigned to carbohydrates ranging from 0 to 100. The higher the number assigned to a portion of food, the faster it raises your blood sugar level. Low GI foods slowly release sugar into your bloodstream, giving your body more time to store or use it. Your body digests foods with a high rating on the scale more quickly than those with a low rating.
- Foods with a high glycemic index score range between 70 and 100.
- Foods with a moderate GI score range between 55 and 69.
- Highly refined carbohydrates, also known as low glycemic foods, have a glycemic index of 55 or less.
Potatoes have a high glycemic index. The glycemic index of a potato varies according to how it is prepared. Several examples include the following:
|Types of prepared potatoes||Glycemic Index (GI)|
|Fried Potatoes (Fries)||73|
Other foods with a high GI, such as white bread, cause rapid blood sugar fluctuations. Low-glycemic-index foods, such as whole oats, are digested more slowly, resulting in a more gradual rise and fall in blood sugar. Increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, age-related macular degeneration, infertility, and colorectal cancer has been linked to diets high in glycemic index foods.
Low-glycemic-index foods aid in diabetes management and weight loss. Several other studies have found that the glycemic index has minimal effect on health or weight, but other studies discovered it is essential. With the greater prevalence of expanding obesity, an additional research effort is needed because a diet based solely on the glycemic index cannot satisfy a person’s nutritional needs.
Meanwhile, substituting whole grains, beans, fruit, and vegetables for refined grains makes it less harmful and is considered a healthy option. A high-spud diet can make blood sugar much more challenging to control. You cannot avoid these refined grains forever in your life, but you should keep them very small if you have portions. You can meanwhile:
- Instead of a regular potato, try sweet potatoes or yams. Baked sweet potatoes still stand at the top of the glycemic index’s medium range, so don’t pile them on the plate. But sometimes, a sweet potato satisfies the desire for your potato.
- Beans, like potatoes, can add starch to your plate but with significantly more fiber and protein.
- Whole grains such as brown rice can provide a carbohydrate boost without causing a significant blood sugar spike.
- Cauliflower that has been steamed and mashed is a low-carb substitute for mashed potatoes.
What are Good and Bad Carbs?
Carbohydrates found in white bread, white rice, pastry, sugary soft drinks, and other highly processed foods can contribute to weight gain and are considered bad carbs. Consuming an excessive amount of these so-called bad carbs increases your risk of diseases. On the other hand, healthy carbs such as whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables contribute to your overall health by providing vitamins, minerals, fiber, and various other nutrients. Therefore, you should include some good healthy carbs in your regular diet.
However, carbs are primary sources of energy for us but remember that these carbs are converted by your digestive system into blood sugar (glucose). Your body utilizes the glucose and stores any remaining sugar for later use. Carbohydrates are classified into two broad categories: simple and complex. Sugars such as fruit sugar (fructose), corn or grape sugar (dextrose or glucose), and table sugar are considered simple carbohydrates (sucrose). Everything composed of three or more linked sugars is considered a complex carbohydrate. Complex carbohydrates were once thought to be the healthiest type of carbohydrate to consume.
Give a read: Low Carb Diet – Complete Breakdown: Top 8 Benefits
Are Potatoes Good Carbs?
To be considered a good carbohydrate, a carbohydrate must also contain vitamins and minerals. Above all, fiber is essential because fiber helps manage blood sugar levels, reduce cholesterol levels, and create a feeling of fullness. Carbs in potatoes meet this definition under certain conditions, including their preparation and consumption. However, individuals restricted from certain types of starches or foods with a high glycemic index should limit their potato consumption.
White Potatoes vs. Sweet Potatoes:
Although potatoes are one of the most maligned foods when appropriately prepared, both white and sweet potatoes can be healthy. The actual difference between white and sweet potatoes is their beta carotene content. Beta carotene is an antioxidant pigment that gives sweet potatoes their vibrant orange color. Beta carotene is indeed beneficial to health.
People who consumed the most beta carotene in their diets had a lower risk of early death and lived healthier life from any cause than those who consumed the least. Let’s see the carbs in potatoes of white and sweet category:
|Medium White potato||20.4g carbs|
|Medium Sweet potato||16.8g carbs|
When you compare these two types of potatoes, you will notice that a white potato contains more calories than a sweet potato. A white potato contains slightly more protein, a few more grams of carbohydrates, and 70% more potassium than a sweet potato. A large white potato is over 10 ounces in weight and contains 375 calories and 61 grams of carbohydrates.
However, whether you are having a white potato or a sweet potato, monitoring your carbohydrate intake can help you to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. The amount that you’d typically consume at one time which is best for you, is about the size of your fist. If you can’t find a small potato, you must cut it into halves or four or share it with two people.
Benefits of Potatoes for Health
Potatoes should be regarded as a nutritious vegetable, despite their high starch content. Their additional beneficial plant compounds make them an essential component of a balanced diet. These are:
|Potatoes are high in potassium.||Potassium helps regulate blood pressure and fluid balance by working in opposition to sodium. According to research, potassium levels in potatoes are just as high and as usable by the body when taken as a dietary supplement. Potassium is also necessary for the normal function of muscles and nerves.|
|Vitamin C||Vitamin C is required for proper immune system function, blood clotting, and the development of muscular connective tissue and blood vessel walls. Since we cannot store vitamin C in our body, therefore we must obtain it through food. A baked potato contains approximately 19% of the daily value for vitamin C.|
|Contains high satiety index||Potatoes are an excellent food choice if you’re trying to cut back on fat, sodium, or cholesterol in your diet, as they contain none of these substances. Additionally, they have a high satiety index. It means that it can assist you in feeling full without causing you to overeat|
|High in antioxidant phytonutrients||Potatoes are high in antioxidant phytonutrients such as vitamin C, carotenoids, and polyphenols. These compounds may aid in repairing cells that have been damaged by oxidative stress, which has been linked to a variety of incurable diseases.|
|Contains Fiber||Fiber is necessary for digestion, blood sugar regulation, weight management, and heart health, among other functions. Potatoes, mainly when consumed in their peel, are an excellent source of dietary fiber.|
|Establish electrolyte balance||Potatoes can help restore electrolyte balance. Potato peels contain sodium and potassium, two critical electrolytes that athletes lose through sweat. Electrolytes are required for optimal body function, and a deficiency can result in cramps, as many athletes are aware.|
Potato Eyes- Poisonous or Not?
If a potato’s eyes do not sprout, you can eat them. The National Institutes of Health recommends removing the eyes and sprouts before eating the potato if they are sprouting. The stems, branches, leaves, and fruits of potatoes are poisonous due to alkaloids such as arsenic, chaconine, and Solanine.
Although Solanine is very harmful in large portions, the amount of Solanine in potatoes is significantly less to make you sick unless you eat green potatoes or sprouts that grow from potatoes left for an extended time. Green potatoes are also poisonous because vegetables turn green when they are overexposed to light. Never eat potatoes that have spoiled or are green beneath the skin.
Carbs in Potatoes have some harmful effects.
Acrylamide is a poisonous compound that forms in starchy foods during processing or cooking at high temperatures. It is a condition that affects potatoes and other starchy foods. Acrylamide has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals, but we do not know what doses of acrylamide are toxic to humans.
It is critical to note that the amount of acrylamide obtained from potatoes is significantly less than the amount studied in laboratory animals. While frying and baking potatoes at high temperatures for an extended period may produce the highest levels of acrylamide, these levels may be reduced when potatoes are first boiled or treated with antioxidant solutions.
Tips to reduce acrylamide risk at your home:
- Strive for gold: when baking, toasting, roasting, or frying starchy foods such as potatoes, get a golden yellow color or lighter.
- Check the package: when frying or oven-heating packaged food products such as chips, roast potatoes, etc., you must carefully follow the cooking instructions on the package. These instructions are intended to assist you in adequately cooking the product, avoiding overcooking starchy foods, or cooking at excessively high temperatures.
- Keep raw potatoes out of the refrigerator: storing raw potatoes in the refrigerator can increase overall acrylamide levels. It would help store raw potatoes in a dark, cool place with a temperature above 6°c.
Other harmful effects include:
- Since potatoes have high potassium glycemic index (above 80), they should be avoided by those who are obese, trying to lose weight, or have diabetes. By eating large amounts of potato, blood sugar imbalances decreased appetite, and complications such as type 2 diabetes are exacerbated.
- Eat potatoes with other high saturated fats such a butter, cheese, bacon, etc., as an additional ingredient for your potatoes. It will increase the number of calories in them and contribute to weight gain.
- Fried potatoes such as French fries, crisps, etc., also contain many fats and calories, which is not a healthy option for a balanced diet.
To Conclude– Carbs in Potatoes
Carbohydrates, frequently abbreviated as “carbs,” are the body’s primary source of energy. Carbohydrates are not harmful to your health if consumed in moderation. Indeed, they are necessary as a source of energy. They also contain fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.
Carbohydrates, on the other hand, are significant when monitoring your blood sugar closely. Your digestive system breaks down all the carbohydrates into sugar in your body. This sugar enters your bloodstream and causes your blood sugar levels to rise. It is essential if you maintain portion control while eating potatoes. Also, it is imperative to know the various types of potatoes, their nutritional values, and how carbs in potatoes affect your blood sugar to avoid blood sugar spikes.
While potatoes are technically a vegetable, they are typically consumed as the starchy component of a meal, and they provide a good source of carbohydrates in our diet. As a result, potatoes do not count toward your daily requirement of five portions of fruit and vegetables, but they can play a significant role in your diet. While you may need to cut down the carbs in potatoes, there are several tasty alternatives and different ways that will satisfy your taste buds. When boiled, baked, mashed, or roasted with a small amount of fat or oil and no added salt, potatoes are a healthy choice. French fries and other fried or salted chips are not healthy snacks.
Try to avoid additional fats and calories in your potato portion. Where possible, leave the potato skins on to retain more fiber and vitamins. Consume the skin of boiled or baked potatoes, for example. The most critical factor is to limit the number of carbs in potatoes consumed in a single meal. It will have the most significant impact on your blood sugar and overall health. Potatoes should be stored in a cool, dark, and dry location to prevent sprouting. Avoid eating any green, damaged, or sprouting potatoes, as these may contain harmful toxins which can lead to many unwanted infections, allergies, or diseases.
Also Read: Rice Calories: The Complete Nutritional Facts, Benefits, and Concerns