March 17, 2023

Avoid Potatoes Because Of Carbs?

The perspective of a vegan nutritionist.

Potatoes have been wrongfully shamed by many. In the past, society and diet culture have both contributed to a negative perception of potatoes as an unhealthy food, due to the false idea that potatoes are high in carbs and low in nutritional value.

This misconception has led people to believe that potatoes should be avoided as part of a healthy diet, when in fact, potatoes are actually very nutrient-rich and can provide essential vitamins and minerals.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch

Visit activeplantbased for professional help and plant-based nutrition training.

Health benefits of potatoes

Recent research has revealed that potatoes are packed with valuable vitamins and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, vitamin B6 and C, making them an excellent addition to any diet. Their skin is also full of dietary fibre.

But potatoes are carbs…
There is absolutely no reason to be afraid of carbs. Carbohydrates are the primary macronutrient for our body and mind to have the energy to perform all its necessary tasks and functions. Did you know that your brain can only use carbs as energy source?

Seems pretty vital to me. The issue would be, as so often in our lives, balance. If you have a plate, make sure that only half of the plate is carbs, the other half being 1/4th proteins and 1/4th healthy fats.

Potato & Health

  1. Potatoes themselves are a good source of fibre, which can help improve digestion and keep you feeling full for longer.
  2. They contain a range of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin C, B6, and potassium.
  3. Eating potatoes can help increase feelings of satiety, helping you to consume fewer calories overall.
  4. Potatoes are a good source of complex carbohydrates, which provide the body with slow-release energy throughout the day.
  5. Potatoes contain antioxidants that help protect against cellular damage.
  6. They are cholesterol-free and low in saturated fat, making them a healthier choice than some other starchy foods.
  7. Potatoes are high in potassium.

10 potato facts

  • Potatoes consist of 80% water, despite them looking pretty solid.
  • They are starchy root vegetables, meaning they contain complex carbohydrates.
  • There are more than 100 different edible varieties of potatoes.
  • Potatoes were first cultivated by the Inca Indians in the Andes Mountains of South America over 7,000 years ago.
  • The Incans used potatoes to measure the passage of time, taking the amount of time it took to cook a potato as a unit of measurement.
  • China is currently the biggest producer of potatoes.
  • Potatoes contain more potassium than bananas, and more fibre than apples.
  • Potatoes were accepted as an equal for gold, being traded one-for-one.
  • A majority of vodka throughout the world is produced from grain ingredients, such as potatoes.
  • Potato skins are a good source of antioxidants.
  • Vitolette potatoes are blue-purple on the inside and have super dark skin that often looks black.

Which potato is the best one?

Different kinds of potatoes offer different nutritional value as well as different properties for cooking.

According to health experts and dieticians, darker-coloured potatoes such as Yukon Gold, Ruby Crescent and Purple Viking are the healthiest. However, research from the USDA Food Data Base shows that red potatoes are the most nutritionally dense.

  1. White and Yellow Potatoes are considered all-purpose potatoes. They are excellent for boiling, cooking, roasting, frying, steaming…
  2. Sweet Potatoes are rich in nutrients and antioxidants such as potassium, vitamin C and beta-carotene, as well as fibre. They can be cooked in a variety of methods, such as boiling, baking, steaming, or frying. They are very filling and full of flavour.
  3. Purple Majesty Potatoes are less common, however, this dark purple kind has a rich sweet flavour and even keeps its colour when cooked.
  4. Russet Potatoes are quite common for being a great kind when making mashed potatoes or potato purée. They become creamy and velvety when cooked thoroughly.

Nutritional value of a Russet potato
This kind of potato is, let’s say, the most common one that you will find in markets and other food stores.

One medium-sized baked Russet potato with skin offers;

  • ~170 calories
  • ~40 gr carbs
  • ~5 gr protein
  • 0 gr fat
  • ~4 gr fibre
  • ~40% of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of Vitamin C
  • ~30% of the RDI of Vitamin B6
  • ~25% of the RDI of Potassium
  • ~20% of the RDI of Manganese
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

11 potato dishes for inspiration

  • Loaded baked potato soup
  • Vegan potato curry with coconut cream
  • Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Sweet potato casserole
  • Potato and chickpea stew
  • Potato pancakes
  • Potato and broccoli gratin
  • Creamy potato salad
  • Stuffed Hasselback potatoes
  • ‘Cheesy’ potato fritters
  • Roasted potato wedges with olive oil and rosemary.

In summary, potatoes are versatile root-vegetables that can be used in a variety of dishes. From baked potatoes to mashed potatoes and french fries, potatoes are a great addition to any meal. Not only are they delicious and easy to cook, but they are also a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fibre, as we discussed in this blog. So why not try adding potatoes to your next meal?

Which is your favourite way of eating potatoes?