Are Potatoes Bad for Diabetics?

When you have diabetes, it is very important to pay attention to your diet. Sometimes, you may have to eliminate your favorite foods from your diet to manage your blood sugar better. You have to be very careful with foods high in carbohydrate, such as pasta, soft drinks, breads, sugar breakfasts, and many desserts. Eating these foods would raise your blood sugar levels in no time. Over time, it can damage your small blood vessels and result in blindness, heart disease, stroke, kidney diseases, and amputations. But what about potatoes?

Are Potatoes Bad for Diabetics?

Short Answer

In a sense, yes! Potatoes have a high glycemic index, which means that your body will quickly turn those carbs into sugar. This is true whether you have them baked and mashed or have them as potato chips. However, it is also true that you do not have to avoid potatoes completely.

Detailed Answer

It is common to see many diabetics not eat potatoes because they are high in carbs, but the truth is that you can still include a modest amount of potatoes in your diet.

The main concern with potatoes is there high GI value, which measures the effect of the food you eat on your blood glucose level. Potatoes have a GI value between 65 and 80, whereas brown rice has a GI of 55, wholemeal bread a GI of 60, and table sugar a GI of 63. Due to their high glycemic index (GI) value, it is natural to believe that potatoes are bad for diabetics.

Eating a great amount of any food with high GI value can increase your blood sugar levels in no time. For healthy individuals, the body releases insulin to bring blood sugar levels back to normal in a few hours. But this is not the case in diabetics because they have an impaired insulin response. With blood sugar levels staying elevated, there will be several symptoms, such as frequent urination, excessive thirst, nerve problems, and tiredness.

How to Better Include Potatoes in Diet with Diabetes?

Are potatoes bad for diabetics? Yes, they are. Can you eat them? Yes, you can, so long as you eat in moderation. There are actually ways to include them in your diet without affecting your blood sugar a lot.

  • For instance, you should consider eating potatoes in combination with a healthy fat source. There should also be enough protein in your diet, which will work to reduce the glycemic load. Keep in mind that you should not eat potatoes every day and only opt for organic potatoes.
  • If you really want to include potatoes in your diet, you may want to do it with the skin on. That is mainly because the skin is laden with fiber, which helps diabetics by slowing the digestion of food and preventing quick spikes in blood sugar levels. While the potato skin is not a great source of other nutrients, it has fiber and helps limit the leeching of nutrients into the water when you boil potatoes.
  • It is also a good idea to go for a short walk after you have eaten a meal containing potatoes, which helps limit the rise in blood sugar levels. In fact, this helps when you eat a meal that includes any other source of carbohydrates.

How Many Potatoes Can You Eat with Diabetes?

Are potatoes bad for diabetics? Yes, if you do not eat in moderation. How much to include usually depends on your carbohydrate allowance. Therefore, you should talk to your doctor and ask them about the amount of carbs you can have daily.

You can design your diabetes diet in a much better way if you have complete information about your individual carb requirements. In most cases, you need to keep it between 15g and 30g a meal. You can include potatoes in your meal while paying attention to what else you have in that meal. You can have mashed or creamed potatoes with steamed cauliflower or another great vegetable. Eating it with a great vegetable will help cut the carb content and let you enjoy potatoes without having to worry too much about raising your blood sugar levels.

Keep an Eye on Your Blood Sugar Levels

It is important to note that you can include a moderate amount of potatoes in your diet, but you should still keep an eye on how your body reacts to it. Ideally, you should be checking your blood glucose levels at least once a day. Your blood sugar levels should be around 140mg/dL a couple of hours after a meal – anything higher than this requires a change in your diet. You should talk to your doctor and learn how you can keep things under control. They may adjust your diet plan, ask you to have a better exercise program, or take other measures to manage your blood sugar better.

It is also important to bear in mind that while it is important to keep an eye on your blood sugar levels, you should not panic if you notice your blood sugar getting high after eating something. You can certainly use that information to adjust your diet plan accordingly, but you still do not need to eliminate potatoes from your diet. There is always a better way to include it in your diabetes diet and you should work with your doctor to find it because potatoes do offer some amazing health benefits as well.

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