Many people love potatoes. It doesn’t matter if they eat them mashed, baked or scalloped – they simply love potatoes. Since potatoes are considered a vegetable, many people make the assumption that they are healthy for you. Are they really that healthy though? Here are some of the things that you should know about potatoes and what role they play in your risk of developing diabetes.
Do Potatoes Cause Diabetes?
Potatoes are considered a refined carbohydrate, which means that they are high in starch. This is why potatoes are also often referred to as a “starchy vegetable.” When you eat potatoes, your blood sugar levels will increase. According to Harvard University, eating potatoes too frequently can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Potatoes and other refined carbohydrates are also thought to lead to gestational diabetes, which is a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy that often goes away afterward. Type 1 diabetes is not caused by over-consumption of potatoes or refined carbohydrates.
Can You Still Eat Potatoes?
Eating potatoes is not altogether unhealthy. To prevent potato consumption from increasing your risk of types 2 diabetes, it is ideal to only eat them in moderation. Also be sure to consider the type of potatoes that you are eating, as baked potatoes tend to be a healthier option than mashed potatoes. While sweet potatoes are known to be slightly healthier, they are also fairly starchy.
Be sure to consider what other refined carbohydrates are in your diet, such as white breads, pastas and rice. Harvard University recommends switching to whole grains. It is also ideal to eat other starchy vegetables in moderation, such as corn and peas. Increase your intake of leafy green vegetables and vegetables which are high in fiber.
Even if you do develop type 2 diabetes, it is important to keep in mind that you do not need to completely shun potatoes from your diet. You can still eat potatoes, but should avoid eating them excessively. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetics should limit their carbohydrates intake to three to four servings a day.
Overall, the most important thing to keep in mind when eating potatoes is that they should always be eaten in moderation. Excessive potato consumption can increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes. By limiting the amount of potatoes that you eat and following an otherwise healthy diet, you can prevent diabetes from affecting you.
American Diabetes Association, “Diabetes Myths.”
Harvard University, “Type 2 Diabetes.”