Carbs in Potatoes

Potato Carbs, Glycemic Index, Glycemic Load, Low-Carb Substitutes

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There's no doubt about it; potatoes are at the top of the high-carb and high glycemic vegetable list. Potatoes are also something that a lot of followers of a low-carb way of eating miss, because many of us think of it as a comfort food. If you are on a moderate-carb diet, small amounts of potato are not a bad choice, as there are a lot of nutrients in potatoes.

Check the links further down the page to find good low-carb alternatives to potatoes.

Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts for Potatoes

  • ½ cup diced raw potato:12 gram effective (net) carbohydrate plus 2 grams fiber and 58 calories
  • 1 medium potato (2½ to 3½ inches in diameter; about 7.5 oz): 33 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 5 grams fiber and 164 calories
  • 1 large potato (3 to 4½ inches in diameter; about 13 oz): 57 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 8 grams fiber and 284 calories
  • ½ cup mashed potato made with milk (no butter):17 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 2 grams fiber and 87 calories
  • ½ cup mashed potato made from dehydrated (instant) potatoes with milk:13 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 2 grams fiber and 114 calories

Glycemic Index for Potatoes

Studies of the glycemic index of potatoes are many and varied. The results are everywhere from 56 to 111. Most of the computed averages are in the mid to high eighties, making the one of the most glycemic foods around, although the "waxy" varieties, such as "new red potatoes", which tend to hold their shape instead of breaking down into starch, are somewhat less glycemic than Russets and other starchy potatoes.

Why are potatoes more glycemic than sugar?

More Information about the Glycemic Index

Estimated Glycemic Load of Potatoes

  • ½ cup diced raw potato: 6
  • 1 medium potato (2½ to 3½ inches in diameter; about 7.5 oz):17
  • 1 large potato (3 to 4½ inches in diameter; about 13 oz): 29
  • ½ cup mashed potato made with milk (no butter): 8
  • ½ cup mashed potato made from dehydrated (instant) potatoes with milk: 7

More Information About the Glycemic Load

Health Benefits of Potatoes

Potatoes are a very good source of vitamin C and potassium and a good source of folate, vitamin B6, and manganese. They also contain a fairly high concentration of antioxidant phytonutrients when foods are compared by volume or weight. On a per-calorie basis, however, they are not as high as many if not most non-starchy vegetables.

There are many varieties of potatoes (over 100), and each has it's own constellation of nutrients.  As you would suspect, the blue, purple, and red varieties tend to have more phytonutrients.

For lower-carb substitutes for some potato dishes see comparisons here: Carb Counts of Root Vegetables.  The following recipes are also great substitutes for potatoes:


More Carb Profiles:

    Sources:

    Leroux, Marcus, Foster-Powell, Kaye, Holt, Susanna and Brand-Miller, Janette. "International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vol. 76, No. 1, 5-56, (2002).

    United States Department of Agriculture. "Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods - 2007. November 2007

    USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28.

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