Potatoes fall under the category of a starchy vegetable, and a diabetic can make it a part of a healthier diet. However, diabetic individuals need to understand and watch sugar and carbohydrate intake in their meals.1
Whenever a person consumes something, their body converts the sugars and carbohydrates in food into a simple sugar known as glucose. Glucose enters the bloodstream while increasing the blood sugar levels in your body.
The person who is not diabetic produces and uses insulin successfully. Insulin is a hormone that allows glucose to enter the cells for energy use, which means that the glucose flags out the bloodstream.
But, diabetics cannot use or produce insulin effectively, and it appears that glucose fails to enter the cells and stays in the blood, elevating blood sugar levels in the body. It is for this reason that diabetics need to keep a check on their intake of carbohydrates.
Potatoes, rich in starch, contain carbohydrates that elevate the sugar levels in the blood. In our post, we will start by examining whether diabetics can consume potatoes or not. We will even take a look at the kind of potatoes which are ideal for blood sugar and information which is vital for diabetics.
Should Diabetics Stop Eating Potatoes?
ADA or The American Diabetes Association often recommends eating starchy veggies, including potatoes which become part of a healthful diet. Starch is often a complex carbohydrate that takes longer for the body to break down than normal sugars.
People with diabetes must avoid eating potatoes and other food containing starch since the glycemic index or GI levels are higher. It is highly a myth that people tend to believe.
GI helps rank foods based on their effectiveness in elevating the blood sugar levels in the body. Food rich in higher GI increases blood sugar more rapidly than the ones with a lower GI.
It is noted by ADA that:
- Foods low in GI have a GI of 55 or less
- Food with medium GI has a GI ranging from 56 to 69
- Higher GI foods have GI levels of 70 and more
Consuming foods with lower or medium GI levels can aid a person in managing their levels of blood sugar. At the same time, a couple of potato varieties have higher GI while other factors balance this condition.
But, GI is the sole indication impacting the food on blood sugar levels. GL or Glycemic load will effectively demonstrate the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream. Diabetics should keep a watch on their intake of food with high levels of GI, keeping a watch on food preparation ways, and management of portion sizes to help in reducing the blood sugar impacts.
Whenever you plan on picking on food with higher levels of GI, it is recommended by ADA to combine food with low GI to help in preparing a well-balanced meal. They even mention that the size of the portion is the main thing to enjoy food with starch as a part of their plan for a healthful meal.
The other vital point of consideration is the method of cooling. Shallow or deep-frying potatoes in well-chosen fats and oils such as animal fats can elevate the Trans and saturated fat content. It might lead to higher chances of cardiovascular diseases, mainly in individuals who are diabetics and who have a greater risk of heart disease.
Fat comprises calories. People who manage the weight of their body to reduce the adverse effects of type 2 diabetes might aim to get their potatoes cooked in a mode moderating fat and intake of calories. People should aim at burning calories to reduce body weight.2
The perfect way to prepare potatoes is by steaming or boiling them. Both steamed and boiled potatoes are rich in minerals, vitamins, and fiber; however, they are low in fat, salt, and sugar content.
What Is The Glycemic Index In Potatoes?
A diet with low GI is the most potential way for diabetics to manage their blood sugar levels. GI, or glycemic index, is the measure of the amount of food involved in raising blood sugar levels compared to keeping control with 100 gms of white bread.
Food with a higher GI, mainly 70, is considered a higher GI, meaning that it elevates blood sugar instantly. Alternatively, foods with a GI content of less than 55 are classed as low, and potatoes generally have medium to high levels of GI.
But, only the GI is not the ideal representation of the effect of food on blood sugar levels because it never considers the portion sizes of food or the cooking methods involved. Instead of this, you can use the GL or glycemic load.
GL is the GI multiplied by the real number of carbs under portion getting divided by 100. A GL of less than 10 is considered low, while a GL of more than 20 is considered high. Specifically, a low GI diet focuses on retaining the daily GL that gets under 100.
Dangers Of Eating Potatoes
Although it is quite safe for diabetics to consume potatoes as it is essential consideration regarding the types and amount of intake? Consuming potatoes can significantly increase your risk of type 2 diabetes and might adversely affect people with their existing diabetic condition.
A study mentioned that for every 3 servings each week of mashed, boiled, or baked potatoes, there is a 4% greater risk leading to Type 2 diabetes, and if you are consuming French fries, the risk reaches 19%.4
Furthermore, fried potato chips and potatoes contain higher amounts of unhealthy fats that might elevate blood pressure levels and lower good cholesterol levels leading to obesity and weight gain. All these are linked to cardiovascular diseases.
It is specifically hazardous to diabetics, who often have a greater risk of heart diseases, while fried potatoes increase the chances of gaining calories leading to unwanted fat accumulation.
People who are type 2 diabetics are often encouraged to maintain their weight or lose it to aid in managing blood sugar while reducing the chances of complications.
Consequently, potato chips, French fried, and other potato dishes use huge fat contents, which should be avoided at any cost.3
Potatoes are rich sources of carbohydrates which elevates the blood sugar levels in a person’s body since they are considered starchy vegetables. Consumption of too many potatoes is associated with issues of improper management of blood sugar control, mainly for diabetics.
But potatoes are a rich source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, while diabetic people can enjoy them if carefully prepared.
Consumption of non-starchy food in moderate amounts of whole potatoes can keep their GI under check. Cooking potatoes by steaming or boiling them with no other ingredients will ensure they have a low salt, fat, and sugar content.
However, suppose you are battling to make the right choices for your health and effectively manage your diabetic conditions. In that case, it is advised to consult with your dietician, nutritionist, or healthcare giver.
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