Are Potatoes Paleo? Things You May Not Know About Potatoes [UK] 2023
Sometimes referred to as the Stone Age diet, the paleo diet brings to mind the hunter-gatherer lifestyles of cavemen. The idea behind the diet is to avoid highly processed food and anything else that wouldn’t have been available to our Paleolithic ancestors.
Having existed before the birth of agriculture, cavemen wouldn’t have eaten grains like wheat and corn that is so widely cultivated today. But what about wild root vegetables? Are potatoes paleo? And are sweet potatoes paleo?
Paleolithic era, humans followed varied diets depending on where they lived and what food was available. The modern paleo diet comprises vegetables, fruits, lean meat, eggs, and nuts. It excludes dairy products, cereals, and refined sugar. While a strict potato diet might not fit the paleo bill, unprocessed potatoes are allowed on the paleo diet.
Can You Eat Potatoes On Paleo?
Yes, white potatoes and sweet potatoes, in their unprocessed forms, are paleo-friendly. However, specific cooking methods – like frying in refined vegetable oil – may make potatoes non-paleo.
On the other hand, if you’re following a low-carb diet and choose to eat paleo, you may need to limit your intake of potatoes. They’re high in resistant starch and may raise your blood sugar levels. Sweet potatoes have less impact on blood sugar and are still paleo.
Why Should We Be Concerned About Potatoes?
Potatoes are featured in a wide variety of dishes around the world. From french fries to mashed potatoes, they’re a staple food in many cultures. Though there’s nothing inherently wrong with eating potatoes, many paleo dieters choose to avoid them.
Unprocessed potatoes are high in carbohydrates, making them a concentrated energy source. They also provide notable amounts of dietary fiber, vitamin C. and potassium. The health benefits of potatoes are myriad, but there are some concerns to consider.
Because potatoes are high in resistant starch and carbohydrates, they have a nutritional content similar to grains that aren’t considered paleo. White potatoes are particularly starchy, so they have a high glycemic index. Research suggests high-GI foods raise blood sugar levels more quickly than non-starchy foods like green vegetables.
Which Potatoes Are Paleo-Friendly?
While potatoes might be considered paleo, some are better for paleo eaters than others. Both white and sweet potatoes are considered paleo-friendly foods. Red potatoes are perfectly fine as well. However, certain cooking techniques and processes may take potatoes off the list.
The paleo diet is a whole-food diet, so potatoes in highly processed forms are not considered paleo. These may include
- French fries from non-paleo restaurants.
- Potato bread.
- Packaged foods, like potatoes au gratin.
- Canned potato soup.
- Powdered mashed potatoes.
- Restaurant mashed potatoes made with dairy.
If you’re making homemade french fries, be sure to use paleo cooking oil. Refined vegetable oils like sunflower oil aren’t paleo, but coconut and avocado oils are.
Furthermore, don’t use dairy products, like butter or milk, when preparing mashed potatoes. Frozen and dehydrated potatoes are allowed on the paleo diet if they don’t contain dairy or non-paleo additives.
How To Eat Potatoes On The Paleo Diet
Many paleo eaters follow a weekly meal plan to make it easier to stick to the diet. Unprocessed foods like potatoes can make a filling foundation for healthy paleo meals.
One of the simplest ways to make potatoes paleo friendly is to roast them. Just chop up white or sweet potatoes and toss them with avocado oil and garlic. Season with salt, pepper, and your favorite dried herbs, then roast them. They also work well with roasted veggies like broccoli, carrots, and zucchini.
Here are some other delicious ways to enjoy potatoes on the paleo diet:
- Boil red or white potatoes until soft, then mash with garlic and coconut oil.
- Thinly slice white potatoes and fry in avocado oil until crisp.
- Top baked sweet potato with coconut oil, chopped bacon, and fresh chives.
- Drizzle pure maple syrup over roasted sweet potatoes.
- Make potato salad with homemade paleo mayonnaise and mustard.
Though potatoes are paleo-friendly, it’s wise to moderate your consumption if you’re concerned about your blood sugar or counting calories. A medium russet potato – about 173 grams – contains roughly 164 calories, including 37 grams of carbohydrates.
Foods To Avoid On The Paleo Diet
If you don’t want to memorize a food list, simply ask yourself if hunter-gatherers would have found the food in the wild. If the answer is no, it probably isn’t paleo-friendly. Some food groups you’ll need to avoid include the following:
Our Paleolithic ancestors didn’t cultivate grains the way we do. Wheat, corn, rice, barley, and other grains are off the list, as are the foods they’re made with, like pasta, bread, and cereal.
This category includes all peas, beans, and lentils, as well as peanuts and soy-based foods like tofu. Green beans, as a vegetable rather than a legume, are permissible.
Sugar is just about everywhere you look, so this one might be challenging. To follow the paleo diet, avoid table sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and other processed sweeteners. Some paleo dieters allow pure maple syrup, but many prefer stevia, coconut sugar, or monk fruit extract.
Hunter-gatherers didn’t have the time to raise livestock, so dairy products are off the list. Although, some versions of the paleo diet include full-fat dairy products.
Refined Vegetable Oils
When you join the paleo community, you can’t just reach for a bottle of vegetable oil anymore. Refined vegetable oils like grapeseed, sunflower, soybean, and corn oil aren’t paleo. Stick to extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil.
Any highly processed food is not considered paleo. Be particularly careful to avoid foods that contain artificial sweeteners and other synthetic additives.
A potato diet might sound appealing if you love potato chips and french fries. But can you eat potatoes in paleo? Yes! However, keep in mind that some forms of potatoes aren’t paleo-friendly. You’ll need to use all paleo-friendly ingredients when preparing them.
Remember that while white potatoes are fine for your standard paleo diet, they aren’t acceptable for the autoimmune protocol diet, sometimes called the autoimmune paleo diet. The AIP diet excludes vegetables in the nightshade family, like potatoes and eggplant. If you’re following a paleo keto diet for weight loss, you may also need to avoid potatoes.
It’s important to remember that any elimination diet comes with risks. The key to success with any diet is to achieve balanced nutrition. Consider meeting with a registered dietitian to address your unique nutrition needs. And to support your overall health on the paleo diet, you might also consider adding a paleo supplement.
+ 6 sources
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