Which Potato is Best for Diabetics? [Revealed!]

by Ella

Potatoes are a popular and versatile vegetable enjoyed by people worldwide. However, for individuals living with diabetes, managing carbohydrate intake is crucial to keep blood sugar levels in check. Potatoes, being a starchy vegetable, can significantly impact blood glucose levels, making it essential to choose the right varieties and preparation methods. This article delves into the world of potatoes and explores which types are best suited for individuals with diabetes, along with tips on how to include them in a balanced diabetic diet.

Potatoes and Their Impact on Blood Sugar:

Potatoes are rich in carbohydrates, primarily in the form of starch. When consumed, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, which enters the bloodstream and raises blood sugar levels. The glycemic index (GI) is a scale that ranks how quickly a food item increases blood glucose levels. High-GI foods cause rapid spikes, while low-GI foods lead to gradual increases. For people with diabetes, choosing low-GI foods is crucial for managing blood sugar effectively.


The Glycemic Index of Potatoes:

The glycemic index of potatoes can vary depending on factors such as the variety, ripeness, cooking method, and accompanying foods. Generally, boiled or steamed potatoes have a lower GI compared to baked or fried potatoes. Additionally, potatoes that are consumed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats can help mitigate their impact on blood sugar levels.


Read more: Can Potatoes Raise Your Blood Sugar Levels?


Best Potato Varieties for Diabetes:

Sweet potatoes are a popular choice for individuals with diabetes due to their lower GI compared to regular potatoes. They contain more fiber and are rich in vitamins A and C, making them a nutritious option for a diabetic diet. Sweet potatoes can be boiled, roasted, or mashed, providing a satisfying and flavorful alternative to traditional white potatoes.


Read more: Can Diabetics Eat Sweet Potatoes? [Revealed!]

Healthy Potato Preparation Methods:

a) Boiling or Steaming:

Boiling or steaming potatoes can help reduce their GI compared to baking or frying. This method also preserves more of their nutritional content, including vitamins and minerals.

b) Roasting:

If roasting potatoes, consider using a minimal amount of heart-healthy oils like olive oil and pair them with low-GI vegetables or proteins to create a balanced meal.

c) Avoid Deep Frying:

Deep-frying potatoes significantly increases their GI and adds unnecessary unhealthy fats. Limiting or avoiding fried potatoes is essential for individuals with diabetes.

d) Leave the Skin On:

When possible, leave the skin on potatoes, as it adds extra fiber and nutrients. Just ensure to wash them thoroughly to remove any dirt or pesticides.

Risks of eating potatoes for diabetics

Although it’s safe for most people with diabetes to eat potatoes, it’s important to consider the amount and types you consume.

Eating potatoes both increases your risk of type 2 diabetes and may have negative effects on people with existing diabetes.

One study in 70,773 people found that for every 3 servings per week of boiled, mashed, or baked potatoes, there was a 4% increase in the risk of type 2 diabetes — and for french fries, the risk increased to 19%.

Additionally, fried potatoes and potato chips contain high amounts of unhealthy fats that may increase blood pressure, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, and lead to weight gain and obesity — all of which are associated with heart disease.

This is particularly dangerous for people with diabetes, who often already have an increased risk of heart disease.

Fried potatoes are also higher in calories, which can contribute to unwanted weight gain.

Good replacements for potatoes

Although you can eat potatoes if you have diabetes, you may still want to limit them or replace them with healthier options.

Look for high fiber, lower carb, and low GI and GL foods like the following:

Carrots and parsnips. Both are low GI and GL and have less than 10 grams of carbs per 2.8-ounce (80-gram) serving. They’re great boiled, steamed, or baked.

Cauliflower. This vegetable is an excellent alternative to potato either boiled, steamed, or roasted. It’s very low in carbs, making it a terrific option for people on a very low carb diet.

Pumpkin and squash. These are low in carbs and have a low to medium GI and a low GL. They’re a particularly good replacement for baked and mashed potatoes.

Taro. This root is low in carbs and has a GL of just 4. Taro can be sliced thinly and baked with a little oil for a healthier alternative to potato chips.

Sweet potato. This veggie has a lower GI than some white potatoesand varies between a medium and high GL. These tubers are also a great source of vitamin A.

Legumes and lentils. Most foods in this category are high in carbs but have a low GL and are rich in fiber. However, you should be careful with serving sizes as they still increase blood sugar levels.

Another good way to avoid large portions of high carb foods is to fill at least half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, leafy greens, cauliflower, peppers, green beans, tomatoes, asparagus, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, and lettuce.

Delicious and Diabetes-Friendly Sweet Potato Recipes

Sweet potatoes are a nutrient-rich alternative to traditional white potatoes, making them an excellent option for individuals with diabetes. Packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index, which means they have a more gradual impact on blood sugar levels. Here are some delicious and diabetes-friendly sweet potato recipes that you can enjoy as part of a balanced diet:

a) Baked Sweet Potato Fries:



2 medium sweet potatoes, washed and peeled
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Cut the sweet potatoes into thin strips resembling French fries.

3. In a bowl, toss the sweet potato strips with olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper until evenly coated.

4. Spread the seasoned sweet potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.

5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the fries are crispy and golden brown, flipping them halfway through to ensure even cooking.

b) Stuffed Sweet Potatoes:



2 medium sweet potatoes
1 cup cooked quinoa or brown rice
1 cup cooked black beans
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Lime wedges (for serving)


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).

2. Pierce the sweet potatoes several times with a fork and place them on a baking sheet.

3. Bake the sweet potatoes for 45-50 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together the cooked quinoa or brown rice, black beans, diced tomatoes, red bell pepper, cilantro, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper.

5. Once the sweet potatoes are done baking, slice them open lengthwise and fluff the insides with a fork.

6. Spoon the quinoa and black bean mixture onto the sweet potatoes.

7. Serve with lime wedges for an extra burst of flavor.

c) Sweet Potato and Spinach Salad:



2 cups cubed and roasted sweet potatoes
3 cups fresh spinach leaves
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette dressing (sugar-free)
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Toss the cubed sweet potatoes with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.

3. Roast the sweet potatoes for 20-25 minutes or until tender and slightly caramelized.

4. In a large bowl, combine the roasted sweet potatoes with fresh spinach leaves, crumbled feta cheese (if using), and chopped walnuts.

5. Drizzle the balsamic vinaigrette dressing over the salad and toss gently to combine.

6. Adjust salt and pepper to taste and serve the salad as a wholesome and satisfying meal.

d) Sweet Potato and Lentil Curry:



1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup red lentils, rinsed
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes (no added sugar)
2 cups vegetable broth (low-sodium)
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
Fresh cilantro (for garnish)


1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat.

2. Add the chopped onion, minced garlic, and grated ginger. Sauté until the onion is soft and translucent.

3. Stir in the diced sweet potatoes, red lentils, diced tomatoes, vegetable broth, curry powder, cumin, turmeric, salt, and pepper.

4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes or until the sweet potatoes and lentils are tender.

5. Adjust the seasonings to taste.

6. Serve the sweet potato and lentil curry over a bed of brown rice or quinoa and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Balancing Potatoes in a Diabetic Diet:

The key to incorporating potatoes into a diabetic diet is to balance them with other nutritious foods. Consider these tips:

a) Pair with Protein:

Pair potatoes with a source of lean protein, such as grilled chicken, fish, tofu, or beans. Protein helps slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, reducing the impact on blood sugar levels.

b) Add Fiber:

Include high-fiber foods like leafy greens, broccoli, or lentils alongside potatoes. Fiber aids in slowing down the absorption of glucose, promoting better blood sugar control.

c) Control Portions:

Be mindful of portion sizes when serving potatoes. A small serving, around half a cup, is a reasonable portion for individuals with diabetes.

d) Monitor Blood Sugar Levels:

Regularly monitoring blood sugar levels can help identify how different potato dishes affect individual responses. This information can guide future meal planning and choices.


Potatoes can be a part of a diabetic diet when chosen and prepared wisely. Opting for lower-GI varieties like sweet potatoes, new potatoes, red potatoes, or purple potatoes and using healthy cooking methods like boiling or steaming can help minimize their impact on blood sugar levels. However, it’s essential to remember that moderation and portion control are key factors in managing blood glucose levels effectively. Consulting with a registered dietitian or healthcare professional can provide personalized guidance to create a balanced and diabetes-friendly meal plan that incorporates potatoes and other nutritious foods, supporting overall health and well-being for individuals living with diabetes.



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