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are white potatoes paleo?

by (257)
Updated about 5 hours ago
Created July 20, 2012 at 3:34 PM

is it alright... or healthy to eat white potatoes?

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26072 · November 26, 2012 at 7:41 PM

So is beef (from cows) and chicken. Most of the seafood available today is totally different than what was available in teh paleolithic, we better can those too. Oh, fruits and veggies, yeah different since the neolithic, let's get rid of them too. Were potatoes available? No -- but man has eaten roots and tubers for a very long time.

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6107 · August 04, 2012 at 12:41 AM

Also, how about foods that can't (or shouldn't) be eaten unless fermented? Is fermenting paleo, but not cooking?

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6107 · August 04, 2012 at 12:31 AM

Potatoes: domesticated 10,000 years ago. Beef: domesticated 10,000 years ago. Why is a potato neolithic, and not beef?

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6107 · August 04, 2012 at 12:30 AM

Is your argument that paleo humans didn't cook?

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10490 · August 03, 2012 at 9:16 PM

I totally accept your point, Talldog, but Paleo isn't necessarily LC or VLC, though it is pretty much always lower-carb than SAD. Some people can handle the carb-bomb, some can't.

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10490 · August 03, 2012 at 9:14 PM

That's a fair point. No matter how healthy the restaurant food may seem to be, I pretty much always consider it a cheat as I don't know exactly how it's prepared. I usually do oven potatoes myself (olive oil or bacon grease, rosemary, garlic, little salt, on sliced rounds) but once in a while some deepfried lardy potatoes hit the spot.

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3450 · August 03, 2012 at 4:47 PM

I've lost over 40 pounds since January and haven't counted a single calorie--not one.

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3450 · August 03, 2012 at 4:22 PM

The problem with white potatoes isn't the plant chemicals. It's that it is 100% carbs and shoots your insulin through the roof. 100 grams of potato has a glycemic load of 10. 100 grams of apple has a glycemic load of only 3.

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2252 · July 25, 2012 at 11:31 AM

I used to eat raw potatos all the time as a kid, just give them a sprinkle of salt and you are good to go

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2252 · July 25, 2012 at 11:30 AM

By french fries I meant the ones that you buy already cooked, like the lovely fast food concoctions that wont decompose. After you said that though I looked into it... http://www.marksdailyapple.com/can-fried-food-be-healthy/#axzz21dIEgYmF I suppose you are right, I personally prefer to toss them in a little bit of oil and make oven fries just because frying make a big mess.

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6107 · July 21, 2012 at 12:25 AM

"Every kind of food is good...." No it's not.

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10490 · July 20, 2012 at 10:22 PM

I don't see why some occasional homemade french fries cooked in lard or other appropriate oil would count less than another potato preparation.

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10490 · July 20, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Oh, no, I certainly do eat potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers (not eggplant, I just haven't tried it yet as it is not a popular item here, but I would). I just wish I -also- liked sweet potatoes, as I know they are quite healthy. I also wish I liked liver. I go for more of the optimized diet stance for myself, and I describe my eating style as more Primal than Paleo anyway, as I am lucky enough to be lactose tolerant and I'm not going to cut proper dairy out of my diet because cavemen didn't eat it.

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11571 · July 20, 2012 at 7:10 PM

+1 "Use paleo as a framework to form hypotheses to guide your choices, not dictate them."

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11571 · July 20, 2012 at 7:08 PM

They could also be a problem for people with auto-immune disorders.

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2252 · July 20, 2012 at 6:10 PM

I am sure they would have eating the occasional starchy tuber, and you cannot honestly tell me that you never eat tomatos, eggplant, and even some spices are nightshades. Sure sweet potatos are great, and they are my personal preferance, but I am not going to exclude the opportunity for regular potatos as well. In fact my csa has been dropping off a lot of purple potatos every week, which also have the added benifit of anthocyanins

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5775 · July 20, 2012 at 5:41 PM

I don't disagree with any of the responses on here. The definition of "Paleo" greatly differs from person to person. Most people define it in their own way, which IMO, embraces the best part about Paleo in the first place.

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130 · July 20, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Well, depends on the definition of Paleo. For me Paleo doesn't mean "if paleolithic men & women had to eat it or not". A lot of the food (or at least some) we simply accept as paleo are something palelithic men & women did not eat, simply because nature has changed over time. One of the best examples of the top of my head is Turkey, which by that definition would be even less Paleo than Potatoes. Imo, the more important thing is, it is a whole food and without the skin it is healthy. E.g See: http://freetheanimal.com/2012/02/the-moderate-starchy-carbohydrate-experiment.html

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10490 · July 20, 2012 at 4:16 PM

Good answer! Sometimes people use the term Paleo as a reenactment of what pre-agricultural man ate, other times it is used as a term for an evolutionarily optimized diet. Myself... I just wish I liked sweet potatoes.

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971 · July 20, 2012 at 3:48 PM

I agree. If you are at a healthy weight and are aware of digestion issues after lengthy self-experimentation you can easily feel when a carb boost is ok and when you are reacting poorly to something. I find white potatoes very helpful for adding carb to a meal or for increasing energy after expending some on low calories. It's nice to be able to feel each food you are eating, which is impossible on the convoluted modern SAD.

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9 Answers

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5775 · July 20, 2012 at 3:44 PM

The short answer: yes

The long answer: they could cause many issues for someone needing to improve digestion, regulate blood sugar, reverse insulin resistance and lose weight.

Proceed with caution. Timing of them is critical.

5ccb98f6ae42ce87e206cf3f6a86039f
11571 · July 20, 2012 at 7:08 PM

They could also be a problem for people with auto-immune disorders.

C8b2136ef95ba6aac211825ff38cc0e9
971 · July 20, 2012 at 3:48 PM

I agree. If you are at a healthy weight and are aware of digestion issues after lengthy self-experimentation you can easily feel when a carb boost is ok and when you are reacting poorly to something. I find white potatoes very helpful for adding carb to a meal or for increasing energy after expending some on low calories. It's nice to be able to feel each food you are eating, which is impossible on the convoluted modern SAD.

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20908 · July 20, 2012 at 5:11 PM

As you can see by the previous answers, it's a big grey area. This is one you have to try and see for yourself.

I started out avoiding them because Cordain, et. al. said they were bad. Then I read some more reasonable stuff from Lalonde (I'm biased because we're both chemists, so I trust him more) which pointed out that the bad stuff in potatoes doesn't survive cooking or digestion. So now, I do a baked potato a day after my workout to replenish my glycogen, it's a great source of tasty starch without any fructose. I cook the hell out of them so there isn't much, if any, bad stuff left in them.

However, if you react to nightshades like this person, then stay away from them: http://robbwolf.com/2012/04/09/putting-hidradenitis-suppurativa-remission-paleo/

The only right answer here is: "how does it make you look, feel, and perform?" Don't fall into any paleo dogma where food are or aren't paleo. Use paleo as a framework to form hypotheses to guide your choices, not dictate them.

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11571 · July 20, 2012 at 7:10 PM

+1 "Use paleo as a framework to form hypotheses to guide your choices, not dictate them."

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413 · July 20, 2012 at 4:06 PM

Actually, the short answer: No.

A potato is a product of agriculture - it's a nightshade, it would have come into existence around the neolithic. So strictly speaking, paleolithic men & women would not have consumed it.

Having said that, in a broader scope, it's as much a paleo food as a tomato.

If we're simply talking nutrient for nutrient - it's a whole food. It can play a part in a paleolithic way of eating if, as mentioned, timed efficiently. Sweet potatoes are a preferred source of starchy carbohydrates for those opting to consume starchy tubers - I'd recommend the same for the added vitamins & lower GI response.

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26072 · November 26, 2012 at 7:41 PM

So is beef (from cows) and chicken. Most of the seafood available today is totally different than what was available in teh paleolithic, we better can those too. Oh, fruits and veggies, yeah different since the neolithic, let's get rid of them too. Were potatoes available? No -- but man has eaten roots and tubers for a very long time.

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c
6107 · August 04, 2012 at 12:31 AM

Potatoes: domesticated 10,000 years ago. Beef: domesticated 10,000 years ago. Why is a potato neolithic, and not beef?

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d
10490 · July 20, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Oh, no, I certainly do eat potatoes, tomatoes, and peppers (not eggplant, I just haven't tried it yet as it is not a popular item here, but I would). I just wish I -also- liked sweet potatoes, as I know they are quite healthy. I also wish I liked liver. I go for more of the optimized diet stance for myself, and I describe my eating style as more Primal than Paleo anyway, as I am lucky enough to be lactose tolerant and I'm not going to cut proper dairy out of my diet because cavemen didn't eat it.

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2252 · July 20, 2012 at 6:10 PM

I am sure they would have eating the occasional starchy tuber, and you cannot honestly tell me that you never eat tomatos, eggplant, and even some spices are nightshades. Sure sweet potatos are great, and they are my personal preferance, but I am not going to exclude the opportunity for regular potatos as well. In fact my csa has been dropping off a lot of purple potatos every week, which also have the added benifit of anthocyanins

68294383ced9a0eafc16133aa80d1905
5775 · July 20, 2012 at 5:41 PM

I don't disagree with any of the responses on here. The definition of "Paleo" greatly differs from person to person. Most people define it in their own way, which IMO, embraces the best part about Paleo in the first place.

A50ca1bb3d72544cb50171bd7b46105c
130 · July 20, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Well, depends on the definition of Paleo. For me Paleo doesn't mean "if paleolithic men & women had to eat it or not". A lot of the food (or at least some) we simply accept as paleo are something palelithic men & women did not eat, simply because nature has changed over time. One of the best examples of the top of my head is Turkey, which by that definition would be even less Paleo than Potatoes. Imo, the more important thing is, it is a whole food and without the skin it is healthy. E.g See: http://freetheanimal.com/2012/02/the-moderate-starchy-carbohydrate-experiment.html

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d
10490 · July 20, 2012 at 4:16 PM

Good answer! Sometimes people use the term Paleo as a reenactment of what pre-agricultural man ate, other times it is used as a term for an evolutionarily optimized diet. Myself... I just wish I liked sweet potatoes.

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11254 · July 20, 2012 at 4:06 PM

Cordain still says no. Guyenet says yes, as long as you peel it. I can get away with the occasional potato, but constant exposure causes serious problems. A few folks suggest the best way to delineate what foods are in is 'can you eat it raw'? Interestingly enough, potato is not very edible raw, but sweet potato is. I don't know how accurate this rule of thumb is- one can at least assume cooking will destroy many of the more troublesome plant chemicals.

If you have problems with blood sugar/insulin just say no.

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10490 · August 03, 2012 at 9:16 PM

I totally accept your point, Talldog, but Paleo isn't necessarily LC or VLC, though it is pretty much always lower-carb than SAD. Some people can handle the carb-bomb, some can't.

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3450 · August 03, 2012 at 4:22 PM

The problem with white potatoes isn't the plant chemicals. It's that it is 100% carbs and shoots your insulin through the roof. 100 grams of potato has a glycemic load of 10. 100 grams of apple has a glycemic load of only 3.

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2252 · July 25, 2012 at 11:31 AM

I used to eat raw potatos all the time as a kid, just give them a sprinkle of salt and you are good to go

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0 · November 26, 2012 at 7:10 PM

I also never count calories and my body fitness has improved greatly along with my strength and performance. I eat about 85% paleo with a splurge here and there. Every kind of food is not good... many types of food are actually very bad and you can feel just how much they hurt you after you have been eating clean for a while.

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3450 · August 03, 2012 at 4:16 PM

Can you eat it raw? That's my first rule of thumb in determining if something is paleo.

If you look at any list of non-paleo foods you'll see its dominated by foods that are indigestible in their raw form (gains, legumes, etc...) The theory goes that we never adapted to these foods, because we couldn't eat them in their raw form.

Despite the claims by some that they can eat raw potatoes without any problems, imho white potatoes are not paleo, because they cannot be eaten raw.

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6107 · August 04, 2012 at 12:41 AM

Also, how about foods that can't (or shouldn't) be eaten unless fermented? Is fermenting paleo, but not cooking?

A7768b6c6be7f5d6acc76e5efa66464c
6107 · August 04, 2012 at 12:30 AM

Is your argument that paleo humans didn't cook?

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1348 · August 03, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Why the potatoes gotta be white?

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2252 · July 20, 2012 at 6:13 PM

link text

This is an interesting article I found about why they might actually be a good idea to include in your diet. I wouldnt say daily, but there is no reason to be afraid of them as long as you are cooking real whole potatos(french fries dont count)

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10490 · August 03, 2012 at 9:14 PM

That's a fair point. No matter how healthy the restaurant food may seem to be, I pretty much always consider it a cheat as I don't know exactly how it's prepared. I usually do oven potatoes myself (olive oil or bacon grease, rosemary, garlic, little salt, on sliced rounds) but once in a while some deepfried lardy potatoes hit the spot.

3ab5e1b9eba22a071f653330b7fc9579
2252 · July 25, 2012 at 11:30 AM

By french fries I meant the ones that you buy already cooked, like the lovely fast food concoctions that wont decompose. After you said that though I looked into it... http://www.marksdailyapple.com/can-fried-food-be-healthy/#axzz21dIEgYmF I suppose you are right, I personally prefer to toss them in a little bit of oil and make oven fries just because frying make a big mess.

61f9349ad28e3c42d1cec58ba4825a7d
10490 · July 20, 2012 at 10:22 PM

I don't see why some occasional homemade french fries cooked in lard or other appropriate oil would count less than another potato preparation.

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4 · July 20, 2012 at 11:30 PM

Every kind of food is good in one way or another. However you must eat everything in moderation. USE a calorie counter ffs.

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3450 · August 03, 2012 at 4:47 PM

I've lost over 40 pounds since January and haven't counted a single calorie--not one.

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6107 · July 21, 2012 at 12:25 AM

"Every kind of food is good...." No it's not.

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