In this brief article we will answer the question,”Do potatoes have carbs?” We will also explain what the glycemic index is. We will look at the nutritional profile of potatoes. We will finally briefly discuss the health benefits of potatoes.
Do potatoes have carbs?
Yes, potatoes are choke full of carbohydrates in the form of starch. However, they are referred to as a healthy carbohydrate because they contain high levels of dietary fiber with the skin included and are also low in calories and contain essential vitamins such as VitaminS C and B6 as well as minerals such as potassium.
Despite the fact that potatoes are referred to as ‘healthy carbs’ the body tends to digest these carbs much quicker than the complex carbs and this can result in spikes in blood sugar levels. They therefore have a high glycemic index.
What is glycemic index?
Glycemic index is a measure of how much a consumed food raises the sugar levels in the bloodstream. It has a scale that ranges from 0 to 100. The higher a food scores on the scale the faster it raises your blood sugar levels and vice versa.
The body tends to digest foods that rank high on the glycemic index faster than those that are lower on the scale and this means that they do not affect your blood sugar levels. To put that in perspective see the ratings below
- Foods that have a rating of 70-100 are classified as High G1 foods
- Foods that have a rating of 55-69 are classified as Medium GI foods
- Foods that have a rating of 55 and below are classified as LOW GI foods.
Potatoes are classified as a High GI food and just a cup of them can spike your blood sugar levels. A study that was done showed that women who ate large portions of potatoes were at a higher risk of developing diabetes.
If you cannot do without potatoes, you can alleviate this risk by preparing them in different ways as this affects their glycemic index. For instance;
- Baked potatoes have a GI of 111
- Boiled potato have a GI of 82
- Instant mashed potatoes have a GI of 87
- French fries have a GI of 73
French potatoes thus have the lowest GI, however all the above preparations of potatoes are in the High GI category.
What are the nutrition facts of potatoes?
When potatoes are cooked with their skin on, they are an excellent source of a lot of essential vitamins and minerals such as Potassium and Vitamin C.
Potatoes are also high in water and as mentioned they are high in carbs and contain moderate amounts of dietary fiber and protein and negligible amounts of fats.
A 100 grams of boiled potatoes( with the skin and unsalted) can typically provide the below nutrients:
- Calories: 87
- Water: 77 percent
- Protein: 1.9 grams
- Carbohydrates: 20.1 grams 7% of the Recommended Dietary Intake (RDI)
- Sugar: 0.9 grams
- Dietary Fiber: 1.8 grams 9% of the RDI
- Fat: 0.1 grams
- Sodium 10mg 0% of the RDI
- Potassium 535mg 15% of the RDI
What are the health benefits of potatoes?
Potatoes when consumed with the skin can provide numerous health benefits. Some of the health benefits are as below:
Good for the heart
Potatoes are a good source of a no. of minerals and plant compounds that can assist in reduction of blood pressure. One of the most heart healthy minerals in potatoes is Potassium
Numerous studies have associated high potassium intake in the diet with a low risk of development of high blood pressure as well as heart disease.
Potatoes also contain polyphenol substances known as chlorogenic acids and also kukoamines which have the ability to lower blood pressure.
They promote fullness and can assist with weight management
Foods such as potatoes are filling and can help with management of weight by making you feel fuller for longer and therefore reducing food and calorie intake.
Potatoes are very filling foods and in a particular study of 40 common foods they ranked the best in terms of the most filling.
This therefore means that they can assist with weight management by reducing the overall intake of foods. Research has also shown potatoes to contain a protein known as proteinase inhibitor which suppresses appetite.
In this brief article we have answered the question,”Do potatoes have carbs?” We have also explained what the glycemic index is. We have looked at the nutritional profile of potatoes. We have finally briefly discussed the health benefits of potatoes.