Why you shouldn’t consider potatoes vegetables.

Why you shouldn’t consider potatoes vegetables.

It is not uncommon to sit down at a dinner table and the meal includes meat, grains and potatoes.  My question always is where are the vegetables?  The answer I always get is potatoes are a vegetable.  But are they? Here are some reasons why I would not consider potatoes a vegetable.

When I think of vegetables I think of the nutrition factor they have, along with all the enzymes, which is why they should be eaten at every meal.  Potatoes contain vitamin C, vitamin B6, copper, potassium, manganese, tryptophan and fiber.  These are all great things and do make potatoes better than a dinner roll, but in comparison they are not nearly as great as some other vegetables.  Take kale for an example; kale contains vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, fiber, copper, tryptophan, calcium, vitamin B6, potassium, iron, magnesium, vitamin E, vitamin B2, B1, and B3.  Looking at the nutrient comparison, I would say a kale salad is a lot better to have on your plate then a potato.

Potatoes are also pure starch, which makes them so yummy.  Starches are also found in grains, so if your plate contains grains and potatoes, you are at a starch overload.  When your body ingests a starch it breaks down to sugar, which will in fact increase your blood sugar levels.   This makes potatoes have a high glycemic index, not well for people with diabetes or blood sugar issues.  The GI (glycemic index) score of a white potato is 119; compare that to another vegetable such as cauliflower which is 30, making the potato score very high.

When eating vegetables we also want to be careful about chemicals and pesticides.  Some vegetables will contain more than others.    Vegetables that usually have minimal amounts of pesticides are onions, sweet corn, cabbage, sweet peas, asparagus, eggplant, mushrooms.  The ones that contain the most amounts are bell peppers, spinach, lettuce, cucumbers and potatoes; these should be bought organic if possible.  Potatoes are one that will have pesticides most frequently found on them, they also if bought dehydrated or peeled raw will contain sulfite preservatives. 

In conclusion, yes potatoes are still technically a vegetable and will always remain in the vegetable family, but in my books and hopefully now yours they will not be considered a vegetable source when serving a meal.   I am not saying don’t ever eat them, because I will admit they are delicious but if you do serve them I would suggest serving them instead of a grain option and alongside another REAL vegetable (that contains more than 5 nutrients).


Cassie-Lee Tario (C.N.P) is a Holistic Nutritionist and the former owner of The HeartBeet Cafe. She loves to cook, create new recipes and share her health knowledge with everyone. To find out more info about her or how to contact her visit www.cassie-leetario.com

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