Last Updated on July 3, 2021 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD
Everything, when taken in safe and limited amounts, can be useful and helpful for the body. One such vegetable is the potato. Potatoes are vegetables that are deemed unsafe for blood sugar patients.
But are they? You might be having plenty of questions in your mind about it. Are you wondering …?
- Do potatoes spike insulin?
- Can diabetics eat potatoes?
- What is the nutritional profile of potatoes?
- What are its daily limits in diabetes?
- What are its benefits and side effects?
Well, with today’s topic, we will help you have a clearer idea about this common vegetable. We will help you to know the various sides of the potato in a detailed version.
So let us get started already!
Are Potatoes Safe in Diabetes?
Why are potatoes considered a threat to diabetic health?
Diabetes is an unhealthy condition that takes place in the body due to insufficient amounts of insulin production. Insulin is a hormone that regulated the body’s metabolic functions.
It is useful in promoting the breakdown of food and nutrients for easy usage in the body. It helps in the metabolism of carbohydrates into simpler sugars that are easier for the body to gain energy.
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Due to insufficient production and functioning of insulin in the body, the blood sugar levels are affected. The sugar, when it is unable to be broken down, stays in the bloodstream.
This leads to the accumulation of sugar in the blood instead of being used in the body to produce energy. This gives rise to higher blood sugar levels in the body, which is the main concern for diabetics.
Potatoes are vegetables known for their richness in starch. Starch is a carbohydrate, and therefore, the intake of potatoes is said to be bad for the diabetic body.
There are various types of potatoes found with different nutritional profiles. There are also plenty of ways to cook them. These are all factors that affect the influence of potatoes on the body’s blood sugar levels.
We will tell you about many areas in detail as we proceed.
For now, let us move on to our next essential question.
Can diabetics eat Potatoes?
As we already mentioned, potatoes are harmful to diabetic patients due to their carbohydrate content. But it is not very risky to diabetic health when taken in moderate and safe amounts.
Thus, there are some rules and regulations to keep in mind before deciding to include or exclude the potato in your everyday diet.
The potato is not the best for diabetics, but that does not mean you can eliminate it from your diet. You can keep it in your meal plans as long as you apply your acquired information about its safe usage.
We are here, ready to help you do it better.
Potato is a vegetable that is a stem of the plant. Similar to taro, yam, sweet potato, etc., this is also full of starch.
First of all, potatoes are found in different varieties. Some have higher starch content, and some with a lower amount of starch.
It is also important to understand that the starch found in potatoes is complex carbohydrates. These complex carbohydrates take much longer time to digest and help keep the blood sugar levels low and under control.
Unlike simple carbs and sugar, complex carbs are harder to digest and breakdown. As they take more time, it results in a slow absorption and release of sugars in the bloodstream. This, in turn, assists in keeping the body’s blood sugar levels under normal margins.
Nevertheless, an unwatched intake and higher than the recommended quantity of potatoes can heighten the body’s blood sugar levels. It can also increase the vulnerability of acquiring Type 2 Diabetes.
Therefore, a healthy and safe daily limit is very necessary for the body. Wondering what this daily limit is? We will tell you in the later sections. But first, let us answer another question –
Do Potatoes spike insulin?
Well, potatoes can lead to spikes in insulin and blood sugars. But as we suggested earlier, fewer amounts of it can be safe.
Maintaining your food proportions is the key to keep a healthy diabetic schedule. Alongside the regulation of the number of potatoes you eat, you must also consider various ways of cooking and preparing potatoes.
These things also highly affect the Glycemic Index of this starchy vegetable. Let us discuss the glycemic index of potatoes to better look at its effects on diabetic health.
What is the Glycemic Index of Potatoes?
The glycemic index is a measure of the carbohydrate-content found in foods. It is often vulnerable to change and moderated to make good or bad decisions in one’s diet plans.
The glycemic index is a measure of foods carried out on a scale ranging from 0 to 100. They are categorized according to their number of carbohydrates. This assists in a better determination of what the effect of these carbohydrates can be on the body.
These foods, after finding their carbohydrate and scale readings, are divided into the following three categories:
|Glycemic Index categories
|Glycemic Index ranges
|Low Glycemic Index (safe for diabetics)
|0 to 55
|Medium Glycemic Index (safe if taken in controlled quantities)
|55 to 69
|High Glycemic Index (unsafe for diabetics)
|From 70 and above
We have mentioned before that different kind of potatoes varies in their glycemic loads. But when speaking in general, the potatoes’ glycemic index ranges from a medium to a high level.
The most common kind of potatoes have a glycemic index of 60. This is a medium level and can be included in the diet when taken in limited and safe quantities.
There are ways to prepare your potatoes to reduce their overall glycemic index as well as glycemic load.
There are plenty of ways to make potatoes. Some of the most common ones are – mashed, boiled, fried, and roasted potatoes. You can derive that fried potatoes use up oil and, hence, rise on the glycemic scale due to fats’ addition.
Thus, be sure to pick a safe way to include potatoes depending on your diabetic conditions and meal types.
What is the Nutritional composition of Potato?
Now, after looking at the various aspects of potatoes, let us go into the greater basic details of it. Knowing about the potato’s nutritional components will help understand the good and bad effects it on the body.
The table presented below shows the types and quantities of the nutrients that are available in potatoes. Let us have a look:
|Nutrients available in 100 g of potatoes
What is the daily limits of Potatoes for Diabetics?
This is an important part that we have been stressing about. We will now tell you what a good and safe quantity for diabetic patients is when using potatoes.
So, a good serving size for potatoes is half a cup of diced potatoes. This accounts for 75 grams of potatoes per day only. This limit must not be overdone.
It is best to refrain from including potatoes in the diet daily.
Effects of eating potatoes in Diabetes
- Potatoes are an easy way to include energy in the body immediately. It is rich in carbs that are a source of energy.
- It also has fiber that keeps the stomach and digestive functions proper.
- It is rich in innumerable vitamins in minerals that improve immunity and encourage better health in diabetics.
- It is also a helpful source of antioxidants that provide the body with protection from various chronic ailments.
- It is known to prevent kidney stones and also encourage better liver health.
- It is low in sodium and thus best for a lot of health and body types.
- Higher amounts of potatoes can increase the calories and carbs in the body leading to weight gain.
- Fried potato varieties are often harmful and risky for those suffering from heart diseases and cholesterol issues.
- Unmonitored amounts of it can lead to blood sugar disorders.
How to make your potatoes Diabetes friendly?
Follow these tips to ensure the least risks and better health management:
- Go for potato types with the lowest calories and GI. Some options are – Carisma and Nicola.
- Resist cooking potatoes for too long.
- Make sure you cool them down before usage or eating. This helps in lowering the GI as well as the GL of the potatoes.
- Add in fibrous veggies and other healthy ingredients to improve the nutritional profile of the dish.
- Avoid fried potato dishes and opt for boiled varieties.