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Potatoes: Good, Bad or Fattening?

potato with sprouts

Potato Health Concerns

1.† Potatoes are part of the nightshade family
Nightshades have varying amounts of alkaloids, compounds produced by plants to prevent themselves from insects and disease.

Potatoes donít have high amounts of alkaloids like the 3 powerful nightshades (mandrake, tobacco, belladonna).† IF YOU ARE SENSITIVE to alkaloids, even potatoes could cause a reaction. The level of alkaloids varies greatly depending on the variety of potato and how it is produce and handled

Hey maybe thatís why I donít like potatoes.†I also donít like tomatoes and eggplant, two other nightshades.

Note: Green potatoes (caused by exposure to the sun) have large amounts of alkaloids as do the sprouts. Therefore avoid green potatoes and cut out the sprout and its eye before use.

2.†Fried potatoes contain acrylamide, a neurotoxin and possible carcinogen.
Fried, potato chips and French fries are a greater risk of acrylamide exposure than any other food. †One single ounce snack-sized bag of potato chips contains 20% of the maximum safe intake of dietary acrylamide as established by the EPA. Most people consume a lot more than one ounce.
Suggestion: Baked potato chips are safer with less oil.

3. Commercial potatoes contain high amounts of pesticides.

Potatoes are one of the “Dirty Dozen” group of twelve foods that contain the highest level of pesticides. You can avoid this in your own cooking by just buying or growing organic. As for potato products, assume that all potatoes not in your control (like those in French fries and chips) fall in the “dirty” category.

4. Most potatoes are monocultured
Although there are thousands of varieties of potatoes, most of the potatoes we eat are monocultured.
Monocultures destroy the genetic diversity of the planet and are susceptible to possible disease. The potato blight of the Irish was caused because they all ate a single species of potato which happened to be susceptible to a certain disease.

Suggestion: Look for colored potatoes; the insides have more nutrition.

Potatoes & Weight Gain

Many people are scared of potatoes because they are OBVIOUSLY a carbohydrate and as a culture we are now scared of carbohydrates because we all want to lose weight!

The truth is that a potato is MOSTLY water so if you donít eat too many you will not take in too many carbohydrates or calories.

The second consideration is their high glycemic index, which is higher than white sugar, ranging from 80 Ė 110.††Again, potatoes are not that dense so the glycemic load from an average serving of potatoes is actually not more than any other carbohydrate.

The study that got me thinking about potatoes was a large population study of 120,887 people whose eating habits and weight gain was analyzed over four years.

The average of all types of potatoes for weight gain was more than any other food group studied, which included meat, processed meat, sugary beverages, sweets and desserts and dairy products.

This average was only high though because it contained the category of potato chips and French fries. The weight gain from boiled, baked, or mashed potatoes at (0.57 lb) was only a fraction compared to potato chips (1.69 lbs) and French fries (a whopping 3.35 lbs).

You didnít need a study to tell you that potato chips and French fries are fattening. Many potato products are NOT a weight loss food like fruits & leafy vegetables but that just means you donít overeat.

Potato Latkey Recipe

Tasty Potato Recipes

Creamy Potato Salad:†Nothing but goodness, tastiness and lots of those resistant carbs.

Tangy Baby Potatoes: Direct from my friend in India.

Dianaís Potato Latkes: Made without eggs.

Written by Randy Fritz co-founder of Real Food For Life with Diana Herrington

9 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
Black Bean & Sweet Potato Chili
What’s Really in Potato Chips?

Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Food

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Diana Herrington

Diana Herrington turned a debilitating health crisis into a passion for helping others with healthy, sugar-free, gluten-free, eating and cooking. After testing and researching every possible healthy therapy on her delicate system she has developed simple, powerful principles which she shares in her recent book Eating Green and Lean, and as host to Care2 groups: Healthy Living Network and Healthy Cooking. She is the head chef at Real Food for Life, where she shares recipes and tips. Sign up for the Real Food for Life weekly newsletter or catch her on Facebook or Twitter (@DancinginLife).


+ add your own
11:52AM PDT on Apr 16, 2015

I just love them. So versatile, cheap and tasty. What's not to love?

12:08PM PST on Mar 2, 2014

I want homemade mashed potatoes as part of my last meal.

3:32AM PDT on Oct 10, 2013


9:22PM PDT on Oct 3, 2013

I looooooove potatoes in every possible way!

11:59PM PDT on Sep 30, 2013


12:47PM PDT on Sep 30, 2013

Who cares? Not me! I love'em! :0)

12:29PM PDT on Sep 28, 2013

I love potatoes and thanks for this post Diana.

4:33PM PDT on Sep 26, 2013

Absolutely love potatoes in any form, though haven't had potato chips, pan fried, or french fried for years. Now that Fall is here, I can indulge in my favorite homemade potato soup, with just a bit of grated cheese on top.

11:07AM PDT on Sep 26, 2013

good analyses - thanks.

6:55AM PDT on Sep 26, 2013

Thank you Diana, for Sharing this!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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