Are Potatoes Paleo Friendly?

There seems to be a lot of confusion about whether potatoes and white potatoes specifically are a Paleo friendly food. The Paleo community seems fairly divided and confused about this issue with different experts all over the place on their recommendations. This, despite the fact that a tuber like a white potato would probably be one of the most recognizable foods we eat, to a Paleolithic human.

A lot of this confusion stems from the fact that while potatoes and white potatoes specifically are Paleo friendly in that they do not contain compounds that will actively harm you digestive tract in the same way wheat or corn might. White potatoes do represent a lot of fairly simple starch, and therefore should not be eaten if you are at a low activity level, especially if you are still struggling with insulin in-sensitivity. This means many paleo diets and experts will recommend you not eat white potatoes, but it is usually not for the same reason you should be avoiding grains.

Potatoes should be treated like any of the other hunter gatherer diet foods, like nuts and fruits; you must keep your personal dietary and caloric needs in mind. This is no different from other foods in the diet though, you should not be eating pounds of nuts or piles of fruit a day, if you are not at a high enough activity level.

However if you are an athlete, or someone who has a heavy physical work load, I think you would be remiss to not eat some white potatoes. Or at least you would be missing out on a delicious way to refuel yourself after a workout.

Make sure to peel the potatoes before you eat them however, as the skins can contain anti-nutrients, also as with everything try to buy local organic potatoes if possible.

photo by sethoscope