Is Potato Good for Diabetes? List of Diabetes-Friendly Potatoes

Potatoes are tubers grown underground and considered a staple of diets in various cultures. They come in a variety of forms, including potato salad, baked potato, mashed or diced potatoes, and fried potatoes. You can also get sweet potatoes, though they are technically a different kind of vegetable.

As a starchy vegetable, potatoes are sometimes avoided by those with diabetes for their higher glycemic load and carbohydrate content, but are potatoes always bad for diabetes and blood sugar control?

In this article, we’re going to take a look at whether potatoes can be eaten by those with diabetes, whether potatoes raise blood sugar, and which potatoes you should eat if you have diabetes. Keep reading now to learn more.

Do Potatoes Raise Blood Sugar?

Potatoes do raise your blood sugar. They have a high GI, which means when you eat them, they are likely to cause a spike in your blood sugar levels. This is due to their very high carbohydrate content.

High glycemic index foods, such as potato or potato bread, are broken down more quickly than those with lower glycemic loads. The way a food is cooked can alter its GI, and so can the foods it is paired with. Different kinds of potatoes will have different GIs, but they are all considered high.

Potatoes that are paired with fats, acids, protein, and fiber should not cause as severe a spike in blood sugar because all of these food groups will work to lower the overall GI of potatoes. It is also suggested that you eat the skin and boil potatoes if you want them to have a lower GI.

5 Best Potatoes for People With Diabetes

When people with diabetes eat potatoes, there are certain ways to eat them that can be better for their condition. Potatoes come in wide varieties and forms, and below, we have listed 5 of the best potatoes people with diabetes can eat. Take a look to learn more.

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A bedtime snack can help prevent this by keeping your blood sugar levels stable throughout the night.Improving sleep quality: A small, protein-rich bedtime snack can help you feel fuller for longer and reduce nighttime hunger pangs, which can improve your overall sleep quality.Promoting healthy weight gain: Choosing a healthy bedtime snack that is low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fiber can help promote healthy weight gain during pregnancy.Providing essential nutrients: Eating a balanced bedtime snack that includes nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds can provide important vitamins and minerals that are essential for fetal development.It’s important to work with your doctor or registered dietitian to determine the best types of snacks for pregnancy and portion sizes that are appropriate for you based on your individual needs and health status.This article goes over some bedtime snack ideas for women with gestational diabetes. 20 bedtime snack ideas for people with gestational diabetesWhen it comes to eating at night time with gestational diabetes, it’s important to choose foods that are low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fiber. Here are some examples of foods that are generally safe to eat at night time: Greek yogurt with berriesA handful of almondsCottage cheese with sliced peachesCarrots and hummusApple slices with almond butterTurkey roll-ups with cheese and avocadoHard-boiled egg with whole wheat toastRoasted chickpeasEdamame beansLow-fat string cheese with whole-grain crackersGrilled chicken skewers with veggiesSugar-free jello or pudding cupsCelery sticks with cream cheese spreadBaked sweet potato chipsKale chipsA small fresh fruit saladRice cakes topped with peanut butter and banana slicesHomemade trail mix (nuts, seeds, and dried fruit)Popcorn sprinkled with cinnamonVegetable soupIf you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, check out our guide to healthy dessert ideas for those with gestational diabetes. In that guide, we go over tasty dessert ideas that won’t spike your blood sugar and are also safe to eat as a bedtime snack.It’s worth noting that working with a nutritionist specializing in pregnancy can help you make sure you are eating the optimal foods before going to sleep. They will work with you to tailor a diet plan that fits your needs while keeping you and your baby safe.>> Read More: How a Prenatal Nutritionist Can Help During Pregnancy What to avoid for bedtime snacks if you have gestational diabetesIf you have gestational diabetes, it’s important to avoid certain types of foods that can cause your blood sugar levels to spike. Here are some examples: Sugary and sweetened beverages: This includes regular soda, fruit juice, sweetened tea or coffee, energy drinks, and sports drinks. These beverages are high in added sugars and can quickly raise your blood sugar levels.Processed snacks and sweets: This includes candy, cookies, cakes, pastries, chips, and other snack foods that are high in refined carbohydrates and added sugars.White bread, rice, and pasta: These refined grains are quickly broken down into glucose by the body and can cause a rapid increase in blood sugar levels.High-fat meats: Fatty cuts of meat like bacon, sausage, and hot dogs should be limited because they can contribute to weight gain and insulin resistance.Fried foods: Foods that are deep-fried or battered should be avoided because they’re often high in calories and unhealthy fats.It’s important to work with your doctor or registered dietitian to develop a personalized meal plan that takes into account your individual needs and health status. They can provide guidance on portion sizes and help you make healthy food choices to manage your gestational diabetes effectively.>> Find a pregnancy nutritionist that is covered by your insurance Why does your blood sugar drop at night with gestational diabetes?In women with gestational diabetes, blood sugar levels may drop at night due to a condition called “overnight hypoglycemia.” This occurs when the body produces too much insulin in response to carbohydrate consumption during meals, leading to low blood sugar levels several hours later.During pregnancy, the placenta produces hormones that can interfere with insulin’s ability to regulate blood sugar levels. 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#1 Cooled, boiled potatoes

People with diabetes who choose to eat potatoes are often told to boil them. This is because boiling reduces the glycemic load of the potato. You should also allow the potato to cool before you eat it to further lower GI. The GI should remain lower even if you reheat the potato.

Minimal processing in this kind of potato helps keep blood sugar levels lower.

Glycemic index

The GI of a boiled potato is around 82. While this in no way makes it one of the low GI foods, it is still a lower GI than other kinds of potatoes, like mashed potatoes. This makes this kind of potato better for managing diabetes.

Sugar content

Boiled potatoes have about 0.91g of sugar and 20.1g of carbohydrates per 100g. This is still a relatively high carbohydrate content, and boiled potatoes should be eaten in moderation by those with diabetes.

Is it good for type 2 diabetes?

While boiled potatoes are probably the best option for those with diabetes when it comes to these starchy vegetables, they are still considered a high GI food and should be eaten in moderation and alongside low and medium GI foods.

Boiled potatoes come with more health benefits than other kinds of potatoes. This is because they are boiled, unprocessed, and maintain a relatively low calorie and fat content. They also contain lots of minerals, including vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium.

#2 Potato salad

Potato salad is sometimes recommended to those with diabetes as a way of consuming potatoes safely. Like with other kinds of potatoes, they should not be consumed in excess, and you should not exceed your daily carbohydrate limit.

Glycemic index

Potato salads have a much lower GI of around 45, which would put them in the range of other low GI foods. This is because the fat and other ingredients within the dish bring the glycemic index down.

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Sugar content

Homemade potato salads have a carbohydrate content of around 11.2g. It is important when making your own potato salad to avoid mayonnaise or sour cream with lots of added sugar. Instead, look out for diabetes-friendly ingredients that will help lower the glycemic index of the dish.

Is it good for type 2 diabetes?

Potato salads are a good option for those with type 2 diabetes as it has a much lower glycemic index than other kinds of potatoes. It also mixes potatoes with other ingredients that may offer health benefits that potatoes do not.

It is important to avoid ingredients, like mayonnaise and sour cream, with lots of added sugars when making your own.

This potato dish may be better for those with diabetes as it keeps the potatoes in small chunks. Other kinds of potatoes, like mashed potatoes, are thought to be worse for diabetes because of the way they are processed.

#3 Waxy potatoes

Waxy potatoes include new potatoes, red potatoes, and purple potatoes. They have a much lower starch content than other kinds of potatoes and are more suited to boiling, roasting, and adding to casseroles.

Glycemic index

The GI of new potatoes has been measured at around 65. This makes them a little lower than other kinds of potatoes and, therefore, better for blood sugar management.

Sugar content

The carbohydrate content of new potatoes is 9.84g per 100g. This makes them much lower in carbohydrates than other kinds of potatoes. Though they have a lower carb content, they should still be consumed in moderation by those with diabetes.

Is it good for type 2 diabetes?

New potatoes, and other waxy potatoes, have a lower starch content than other kinds of potatoes. This makes them possibly better for those who have diabetes. Waxy potatoes can be boiled, roasted, and added into casseroles and will hold their shape better than starchy potatoes.

#4 Baked potatoes with skin on

Potato skins hold lots of healthy nutrients, minerals, and polyphenols, which make potatoes a healthy addition to your diet. Also, keeping the skin on potatoes can lower their GI.

Glycemic Index

The GI of baked potatoes is estimated to be around 85 for a 150g baked potato. This is a high GI but could be brought down by pairing your potato with other vegetables and ingredients.

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Sugar content

The sugar content is about 1.4g per 100g, and the carbohydrate content is 46.1g. This makes baking potatoes high-carb.

Is it good for type 2 diabetes?

Baking potatoes may be a better option for those with diabetes, provided it is paired with other vegetables and ingredients that bring down the GI. It should not be eaten to excess as it has a high GI and carb content.

#5 Sweet potatoes

Sweet potato is one of the best options for those with diabetes to consume. Sweet potatoes have a lower carb content than other potatoes but have higher sugar content. This means that, like other potatoes, sweet potatoes should still be consumed in moderation by those with diabetes.

Glycemic index

The GI of sweet potatoes is around 94. This makes them a high GI food and is similar to the GI of some kinds of potatoes.

Sugar content

Sweet potatoes do have a higher sugar content than potatoes, coming in at around 5.74g per 100g. The carb content, however, is much lower than regular potatoes, with just 17.7g per 100g.

Is it good for type 2 diabetes?

Sweet potatoes may be a good choice for those with type 2 diabetes as they have a lower carbohydrate content than regular potatoes. This helps you stay under your carb limit each day. 

Sweet potatoes do, however, have more sugar than regular potatoes and a relatively high GI. This means they should always be consumed in moderation.

FAQs

Conclusion

Potatoes have a high GI and carb content, which means they need to be consumed in moderation by those with diabetes. Potatoes that are boiled and served with the skin on may be more suitable if you have diabetes.

Good substitutes for potatoes include whole grains, like quinoa, bulgur, and brown rice. You could also try pairing potatoes with lots of low GI foods to bring down the GI of your meal.

Always consume carbohydrates in moderation and keep track of your blood sugar levels to properly maintain them if you have diabetes.

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About the Author: Tung Chi