Potatoes are an affordable and versatile root vegetable, making them a staple food in most kitchens. They can be prepared in a number of ways: boiled, baked, roasted and fried. You can mash them, slice them into scalloped potatoes or cut them into French fries.
Not only are potatoes delicious, but they are also packed with essential nutrients. In fact, research has linked potatoes to a number of impressive health benefits. In addition to boosting the immune system, potatoes have also been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease and improved blood sugar control.
What’s more, the resistant starch in this tuber veggie can even help you control your weight, as long as you prepare it in a healthy way. But, how do potatoes factor into the popular low carb Keto diet?
Find out which types of potatoes are lower in carbs if you wish to factor them into your meal plan in moderation. In this article, I also provide some great low carb potato alternatives, so keep reading…
Are Potatoes Keto Friendly?
Starchy vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes are high in carbohydrates and should be limited while following the ketogenic diet. Consuming too many starchy white and orange vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes or yams could push you over your daily carb limit. However, most green vegetables contain very few net carbs.
Low-carb veggies make great substitutes for higher-carb starchy ones. For example, mashed cauliflower is often used to make mock mashed potatoes.
How Many Carbs are in Potatoes?
One small potato contains 30 grams of carbs. A 100 gram serving of cooked potatoes contains 17 grams of carbs. Some types of potatoes are lower in carbs than others. Keep reading to find out which types of potatoes are better suited for a low carb diet.
How Many Calories are in Potatoes?
One small potato contains 130 calories. A 100 gram serving of cooked potatoes contains 77 calories. Potatoes can be cooked by boiling, baking or roasted, but it should be noted that frying potatoes dramatically increases their calorie content, especially if you deep fry them in oil.
| Serving size: 100 grams of cooked potatoes |
(Approximately half of a medium-sized potato)
|Total Fat 0.1 grams||0%|
|Saturated fat 0 grams||0%|
|Polyunsaturated fat 0 grams|
|Monounsaturated fat 0 grams|
|Cholesterol 0 milligrams||0%|
|Sodium 6 milligrams||0%|
|Potassium 421 milligrams||12%|
|Total Carbohydrate 17 grams||5%|
|Dietary fiber 2.2 grams||8%|
|Sugar 0.8 grams|
|Protein 2 grams||4%|
|Vitamin A||0%||Vitamin C||32%|
|Vitamin D||0%||Vitamin B-6||15%|
Potatoes are nutrient-dense containing a plethora of important vitamins and minerals, especially in the vegetable’s skin. Potatoes contain resistant starch and a decent amount of fiber, along with a healthy dose of vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and manganese.
High in Antioxidants
Potatoes contain flavonoids, carotenoids and phenolic acids that neutralize harmful molecules free radicals. These powerful antioxidants are so potent, they are known to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, like heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Potatoes contain resistant starch, a type of starch that benefits the good bacteria in your gut. Studies show that resistant starch is associated with reduced insulin resistance, thus improving blood sugar control.
Supports Digestive Health
The resistant starch in potatoes is converted to butyrate in the body, a short-chain fatty acid that lowers inflammation in the colon and improves colon defenses. The resistant starch in potatoes is even associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.
Potatoes are generally safe in normal food amounts. However, according to the Harvard School of Public Health, fried potatoes may lead to weight gain, diabetes and heart disease. In fact, a 2017 study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition determined that people who ate fried potatoes twice a week had an increased risk of death.
Avoid consuming damaged or green potatoes, or potatoes that have grown sprouts. Spoiled potatoes such as these contain poisonous chemicals that cannot be destroyed through cooking. These poisonous chemicals may cause headache, flushing, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pain, thirst, restlessness, and even death.
Lower Carb Types of Potatoes
While a large yellow or russet potato has about 100 calories and 25 grams of carbohydrates, the new Carisma potato, recently cultivated by Canadian farmers, contains only 70 calories and 15 grams of carbs per 150 gram serving.
Carisma potatoes also have a 20% lower glycemic response than other types. Carisma potatoes offer a more gradual rise in blood sugar and do not cause rapid blood sugar spikes.
Purple potatoes contain only 70 calories and 15 grams of carbs per 100-gram serving. Anthocyanin, the pigment responsible for its purple color has powerful antioxidant properties and offers an additional benefit. Purple potatoes contain 4 times the amount of antioxidants as russet potatoes!
Sweet potatoes contain 17 grams of net carbs per 100-gram serving. They’re high in vitamins C and D, magnesium and potassium. They make the list of healthier potato options because of their high concentration of beta carotene, signified by their bright orange color. Beta-carotene is a powerful antioxidant that protects your body’s cells and wards off diseases.
Best Potato Alternatives for Keto
- Cauliflower Mash
- Cauliflower Rice
- Mashed acorn squash or butternut squash
- Non-starchy steamed veggies
- Low carb roasted veggies, including onions, zucchini, mushrooms, etc.
- Side salad or soup
- Steamed greens like kale, spinach, or Swiss chard
- Mashed turnips or oven-baked turnip fries
Are Potatoes a Healthy Complex Carbohydrate?
Although potatoes are a starchy vegetable, they are a nutrition complex carbohydrate that are high in resistant starch. Additionally, they contain a good dose of fiber (especially if eaten with the skin). Potatoes are low in calories and fat-free, containing vital nutrients.
Do Potatoes Cause Weight Gain?
Research shows that potatoes are among the most filling foods on the planet. They are known to increase the levels of the hormone called cholecystokinin which is responsible for signaling satiety. Because potatoes are so filling, they may help you manage your weight by keeping you feeling full so that you can avoid cravings.
Resistant starch has also been shown to regulate blood sugar levels, improve digestive health, and boost nutrient absorption. As long as you prepare your potatoes the healthy way without using too much oil or butter, you probably won’t gain weight if you consume them in moderation.
Try to stay away from deep-fried French fries, as they’re significantly higher in calories. If you simply must have a plate of French fries, try tossing sliced potatoes in a tablespoon of olive oil and your favorite seasonings, and then bake them in the oven instead of frying. If you must have that crispy, fried texture and taste, you might wish to make them in an air fryer, which requires only a small amount of oil.
Are Potatoes Safe to Eat During Pregnancy?
Potatoes supply a source of folate, which is particularly important during pregnancy because it reduces the risk of your birth defects, like brain and spine problems. Additionally, their high fiber content can also relieve constipation during pregnancy and help keep your bowels moving regularly. However, eating French fries or potato chips regularly may increase a woman’s risk of diabetes during pregnancy, according to researchers.
Are Potatoes Safe for Diabetics?
Because potatoes are a starchy vegetable that is high in carbs, they can raise an individual’s blood sugar levels. Eating too many potatoes can present problems for blood sugar control in people with diabetes. It is recommended that diabetics consume non-starchy foods alongside a moderate portion of potatoes to help balance out their glycemic load.
Are Potatoes Gluten-Free?
Potatoes are naturally gluten-free, which makes them a perfect choice for people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease. While potatoes on their own are gluten-free, many popular potato dishes may contain gluten, like potato salad, chowder and potato bread recipes. Always check the full list of ingredients to ensure the product or dish is wheat-free.