5

votes

Potatoes: Unfairly maligned in paleoland?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created December 12, 2010 at 12:04 PM

Based on the series of blog posts by Stephan Guyenet, I'm inclined to think that potatoes are a bit overemphasized as something to avoid, other than for the isulin resistant (is there really strong evidence for this, actually?). Most of the bad stuff is in the skins, it seems.

For what it's worth, I've been eating at least two potatoes a day, often more, for the last several days. I've felt great. Obviously this doesn't decide the issue, but it's worth something, I reckon. What has been your experience reintroducing potatoes?

I'm not saying we should make them a staple of our diet, but once a week, say, is probably fine, no?

BTW with the potatoes and other tubers I've been eating my carb load has gone way up, but I've never felt better. Also, at around 10 this morning I had a bunch of taters with chicken broth and bits, three eggs, scallions, and tiny dried shrimp, and have eaten nothing since then. At the time of writing this (8 PM), I am not hungry at all.

Medium avatar

(297)

on June 29, 2011
at 06:18 PM

Ya'll forgot to mention the third group: the flabbies. You've seen us, likely: we used to be overweight, we shed our excess pounds, we're now officially at a healthy weight, and we perform quite well athletically... But we still have flab. And we hate it. (Before someone points this out, potatoes have no effect on my flab. I did try cutting them out... didn't have any effect on me).

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on June 24, 2011
at 06:11 AM

Those purple ones skyrocket my blood sugar. That's why I stick to organic orange yams, which are less starchy and dense.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 23, 2011
at 11:45 AM

just to rant for second: i try to use the toolbox idea for food across the board as much as possible. And this is not mutually exclusive with our "tools" tasting great and being delicious. People often hear me and right away think what I'm talking about is unenjoyable spartan view of food. not at all. I'm a decent cook everyone eats my food with no issues. I think just having a fundamental, baseline view that food is first and foremost their to fuel us, and then secondarily of course we can make it taste however we want, is a healthy, sensible approach.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 23, 2011
at 02:14 AM

Tom, 15000 calories is hyperbole and you know it. I'm in the high fat/low carb camp and rarely exceed 3200 calories a day. The comment about worrying about a "150 calorie tuber" over other high fat staples doesn't take into account insulin sensitivity, or anti-nutrients and that's why I made my comment.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on June 22, 2011
at 11:46 PM

+1 for mem. As a former semi-pro ballerina who just happened to get really, really fat I was not unathletic. It was a journey up and a journey back down (though I'll never see ballerina weight again in this lifetime, lol) +1 for Rose defending our team well as usual. Throwing in a +1 for Ben just for being Ben and representing his team so well. No need for a sigh Ben. We can all peacefully coexist. I'm just happy to see both sides of the fence being represented. Paleo isn't about carbs per se but they can be so important for many of us (on either side of the carb fence)

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on June 22, 2011
at 11:40 PM

As Melissa has pointed out, "yams" (not true yams) and sweet potatoes, so beloved among paleos, are likewise native to the Americas. As are squash, for that matter. The idea that we should only eat foods that people ate in the paleolithic is pretty silly. Almost no modern veggies or meats would qualify.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on June 22, 2011
at 11:36 PM

Saying that calories, at some margin, matter is different from saying "a calorie is a calorie".

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 22, 2011
at 11:15 PM

+2 Rose...for super fattie support!!! We can't afford to forget who we are metabolically and thus, where we came from. I like being 140-144 lbs. I don't plan on returning to just under 240! My metabolism has done some healing...but normal? Yo ho ho! Thank you!

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 22, 2011
at 11:12 PM

+1 Joshua for wonderful honesty and specifics. I'd love to eat tubers as usual fare, but if I do, I pay with substantial weight gain and feeling hungry waaaaay too much. Thus, they are relegated to the "treat foods" category in my diet. They are not forbidden fare as they once were prior to my losing all my weight. But "treat" means very occasional - like when we go out to dinner, say, once a month.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 22, 2011
at 11:07 PM

+1 again for Rose! And Ben, overweight/obese/morbidly obese people are not necessarily "unalthletic" people. Some of us have been quite athletic in the past. Then we became obese people. I believe most obese people, as demonstrated by *many* in cluding myself, on this site, come to paleo looking to become *whole* people again and that for most, includes becoming fit people. Most are *not* couch blubbies just looking to become thin-fats. We're on a journey and so are you and there's a substantial place of intersection and "arrival."

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 22, 2011
at 10:58 PM

+1 to both sarah-ann and animalcule for distinguishing specifically the substantial differences between those who have a broken metabolism and those who are typically normal weight and do not. we're different animals, lol!

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 22, 2011
at 10:55 PM

+1, mari for a response which again underlines the highly individualized needs of *individual* paleos - taking into account degree of metabolic derangement, age, number and type of inflammatory conditions, weight, and other issues as well.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 22, 2011
at 10:49 PM

+1, Rose, for saying just perfectly!

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on June 22, 2011
at 10:17 PM

Me too. Low-carb can be downright unhealthy for those of us with naturally healthy glucose metabolism, and leptin and insulin levels.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on June 22, 2011
at 10:16 PM

I think in all these instances, white potatoes were a staple of a poor diet, which excluded many much more nutritious foods. A diet of mostly pure glucose with 0 measurable anti-nutrients is going to lead to many health problems if it's the main component of a nutrient-deficient diet... or infested with toxic molds.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 22, 2011
at 09:10 PM

Can't answer for Alex, but I can tell you in my experience that it's not nothing. I gained weight -- body fat, 14 pounds -- last year by eating brussels sprouts and broccoli a few times a week. When your metabolism's like mine (four generations, maybe more, of obese relatives), insulin is nothing to screw around with.

35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:32 PM

3 small sweet potatoes in a week is like nothing. Did you gain just fat?

332d9f75d1077abafff6887681f6b130

(1081)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:22 PM

Its not totally bunk either. If you eat 15,000 calories per day of good paleo approved food, you're going to gain weight. Similary if you eat 500 calories per day of pure HFC you will lose weight. You won't be healty, but you will lose weight. All things in moderation, even paleo meals.

332d9f75d1077abafff6887681f6b130

(1081)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:19 PM

I disagree. If paleo with potatoes was good, then that's as far as it needs to go. If your goal is to control blood sugar and stave off diabetes, and you can do that with potatoes, why restrict your diet more? You'll just turn away more people by restricting the diet needlessly.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:05 PM

Great post. I think you've really nailed the distinction in the two broad groups, and I really hope the "toolbox" metaphor gets used more often. Each of us is a project, and will need different plans and tools depending on the goals.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 22, 2011
at 07:55 PM

Yes, it would be nice to work out the hostilities between the carbophobic fatties (my team) and the ultra-fit golden gods (your good-looking team). I get the frustration with those of us who worry about carbs all the time, but it would also be nice if the metabolically fit people stopped yelling at us fatties that we're unnecessarily restrictive and "insane." Believe me, restriction is not something I'm drawn to by nature, and I doubt it is for most other carbophobes. The fact that Paleo appeals to both "teams" should and could be a feature, not a bug. Can't we all just get along? ;)

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on June 22, 2011
at 07:04 PM

Same here. Starches up-regulate my appetite. A couple months ago, I experimented with eating a small sweetpotato 3x per week on gym days, and I ended up gaining about 2 pounds a week.

95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6

on June 22, 2011
at 06:58 PM

I agree, it irritates me sometimes, but I'm more likely now to chuckle a bit at anyone who is holier-than-thou and forget about it.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 22, 2011
at 05:50 PM

Ex-fatty here, same experience, minus the fruit (I never really liked it, so saying goodbye to it wasn't hard). Adding "safe" starches, including tubers, turns out to be "unsafe" for me. I think it's unresolved insulin resistance. And since I've been eating this way for four years, I doubt it's resolvable. In me, anyway.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 22, 2011
at 05:41 PM

Absolute agree. This is yet another result of the fact that paleo appeals to both unathletic people looking to shed fat and athletic people looking to fuel performance in less-detrimental ways. Sigh.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 22, 2011
at 05:40 PM

Too much fiber in fruit for the amount carbohydrate I need. Potatoes offer easy access to dense carbohydrate with no fiber to get in the way.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 22, 2011
at 03:26 PM

sherpamelissa, I'm glad you said that. I've been puzzled at the hostility I detect between (for example) ZCers and higher-carb Paleos, and I sort of assumed it was contempt for fat people on the part of healthy folks who'd always been "golden gods" and could eat whatever they wanted without gaining weight. (See, that's what happens when you ass-ume, lol.) But I know strict eaters who are very holier-than-thou, including ZCers (::rolls eyes::), and I can see that would get old. Thanks for the new perspective.

332d9f75d1077abafff6887681f6b130

(1081)

on June 22, 2011
at 02:47 PM

While its true that the 'tater is fairly new to North America, they are no stranger to South America where the first know accounts of people cultivating / eating them are found. People in Peru have been eating 'taters for as long as 10,000 years now.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 22, 2011
at 02:41 PM

You also seem to be in the "a calorie is a calorie" camp which is one of the most destructive concepts in modern Nutritional wisdom.

Medium avatar

(297)

on June 22, 2011
at 02:15 PM

I'm an occasional potato eater, and I never use salt on them. I either pour bacon fat over them or bake them with a mix of olive oil, red vinegar and oregano. Tastes great!

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 19, 2011
at 04:37 PM

Being diabetic, I rarely endulge. But when I do, I eat the skin - just cuz I likes it. I figure the potato itself is worse for me. And ditto on the butter/sour cream (and bacon and cheese...mmm!)

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on December 27, 2010
at 05:10 PM

Dunno about UK, here in the US it's international stores/Korean mart.

B8592e62f9804ddabae73c1103d6bcb9

(1956)

on December 27, 2010
at 04:02 PM

Where can you buy these purple sweet potatoes? I live in the UK and can't find them.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7304)

on December 26, 2010
at 01:59 AM

When my mom first went paleo, she couldnt have sweet potatoes or potatoes or she would get hypoglycemic symptoms For me they were fine. I think it depends both on the type of carb and your level of damage.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on December 25, 2010
at 10:33 PM

Enzyme blockers, destroyed by cooking. FTW. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1981.tb14583.x/abstract

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on December 25, 2010
at 10:28 PM

everything has lectins. The dose makes the poison. most of potatoes lectins and glyoalkaloids are in the Skin. Peel your potatoes and enjoy.

14aa918d730371ed14f8e7e7d6eb6587

(373)

on December 25, 2010
at 08:05 PM

Good point Eva. If you have insulin resistance I can see how BG spiking potatoes could be problematic.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 25, 2010
at 04:25 PM

Kyle, I know that the T2 diabetics I know find that potatoes make their blood sugars shoot up through the roof. The starch turns to sugar right away and the sugar enters the blood stream and bam! High blood sugar in a jiffy. However, if their blood sugar control could be repaired or healed, then they may be able to return to potatoes safely. But how to repair it? That is the million dollar question. However, until the system is repaired, high blood sugar is definitely bad and potatoes/starches definitely cause that.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 25, 2010
at 04:22 PM

Nico, I would agree. I think the easiest is to just try to have people give up the worst offenders and see that improvement. Once the see the results, they can always tweek further later. I am curious if anyone will have lowcarb flu if just giving up the bad grains and the sugar. Is carb flu all ketosis related or is some (or all) of it withdrawal from toxins and sugar as well?

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 25, 2010
at 04:19 PM

This only shows that paleo plus potatoes was better than mediterranean, but it does not show how paleo plus potatoes stacks up against paleo without potatoes, and I think that is the question here.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 25, 2010
at 04:17 PM

Well I think there is the thing. Tubers obviously do support healthy populations of humans in some areas and are a natural food for us, so we have probably developed some immunity from their problems. However, the question is if a biological system potentially already damaged from other unhealthy foods would do well to consume potatoes may be something that has to be taken on a case by case basis. I don't think we have enough data to really know all the details for sure yet. It's just too early in the game and individual genetics could play a role as well.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 25, 2010
at 04:13 PM

Could be, but if I had blood sugar problems, I'd hide from potatoes at least at first until I got my blood sugars under control. Then I might consider cautiously reintroducing them bit by bit while monitoring how it goes. You don't want to play patty cakes with diabetes. Better safe than sorry. You want to get those blood sugar numbers ASAP before more islet cells die. Now for weight loss, it's not quite so critical and I think it's fine to experiment a tad as long as overal decent progress is being made.

64242a1130eb51f4852f78beed38b3d5

(1343)

on December 13, 2010
at 08:19 PM

Yes, Wendy. I too detect the same attitude.

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on December 13, 2010
at 04:49 PM

I'm actually becoming inclined to believe that even "broken" systems work fine on tubers, it's nuts/seeds/legumes/grains that are counterproductive. I've got a Rather Large friend who won't ditch carbs eating tons of meat/potatoes. Weights flyin off him. Looks promising even with damaged system. Im believing it's not carbs, just Which carbs

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on December 12, 2010
at 11:21 PM

Thanks for the comment, Dave. I completely agree that it's silly to expel people from the paleo camp for this kind of stuff. I also think it's counterproductive. Most people would see dramatic health improvements just by eliminating wheat, legumes, and junk- and probably even lose a lot of weight, without having to dramatically change their macronutrient ratios (well, I guess a lot of people eat tons of bread and sugar, so maybe not...)

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on December 12, 2010
at 11:17 PM

Thanks for the feedback, Kyle! I agree with you and am beginning to suspect that VLC is WAY overrated. Obviously it works for some people and that's fine, but I feel like we're turning people off of paleo by throwing them into ketosis and "carb flu" when they would see dramatic improvements by simply removing grains, legumes, sugar, and junk (oil, etc.).

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on December 12, 2010
at 11:14 PM

yeah, I've had the coconut oil with sweet potatoes. Super tasty. I've also added "coconut manna" which seems to be like coconut butter.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on December 12, 2010
at 06:42 PM

Good points, especially the need to eschew conformity. While it's true that we share something like 99.9% of genes in common, that 0.1% can make for some confusing individual variability. For some people, the starch has negative consequences. For others, the oxalates in the skin.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 12, 2010
at 05:59 PM

I agree with the sentiment, but not entirely the tone of voice. I do occasionally get a sense of superiority from the people that are extremely strict with how they eat. We've all turned to Paleo for a variety of reasons and how we make it work for us is individual.

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19 Answers

10
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on December 12, 2010
at 03:00 PM

IMHO, starchy tubers are very paleo. And even if white potatoes are much more recent, they still qualify. Richard Nikoley eats them - and suffered some harrassment for that. Silly really.

Many of us cannot handle the carb load (being diabetic or obese or metabolically damaged). Other than that, if you are careful to prepare them properly, they are pretty nutritious. 2 a day seems like a lot to me, but if you feel good - well, that's what we all want.

There is no "One True Paleo Diet" for all people. Everyone's needs and issues are different. Paleo provides the perspective on working out your individual food issues/tolerances and a way to tweak to gain better health/performance.

531db50c958cf4d5605ee0c5ae8a57be

(8878)

on December 12, 2010
at 06:42 PM

Good points, especially the need to eschew conformity. While it's true that we share something like 99.9% of genes in common, that 0.1% can make for some confusing individual variability. For some people, the starch has negative consequences. For others, the oxalates in the skin.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on December 12, 2010
at 11:21 PM

Thanks for the comment, Dave. I completely agree that it's silly to expel people from the paleo camp for this kind of stuff. I also think it's counterproductive. Most people would see dramatic health improvements just by eliminating wheat, legumes, and junk- and probably even lose a lot of weight, without having to dramatically change their macronutrient ratios (well, I guess a lot of people eat tons of bread and sugar, so maybe not...)

6
667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on December 27, 2010
at 03:37 PM

I think first and foremost that the mixing up of low-carb people and then those of us who are simply into things-paleo is an undercurrent here. There are (or at least were) a large number of paleo folks in the online community who had no issues with weight, and are/were conversely pretty good athletes. For example, I am not a crossfitter but lift at a box and everyones paleo and noone is overweight. So, many of us can use potatoes how we see fit. They're a tool in the toolbox right?

Then you have, especially of late, a lot of general low-carbers and/or heavy people with precise weightloss goals who are getting into paleo and bringing their lowcarb ideas even more into it. Thats muddying the picture to some extent. Nothing wrong with it, i think you can wisely use the paleo ideas to lose weight. Its simply two different populations of people all talking together.

I think if you're healthy already, relatively active, potatoes are fine. Great tool. Great dense little, easy to eat, easy to digest little bundle of glucose that we can use to fuel ourselves by. But those very same traits make it something that is perhaps less-than-helpful to the overweight folks. Same traits, but different uses for the tool as far as I can tell.

I also hasten to add that, at least having grown up in the US for my 31 years, i think the complete reliance on the white potatoe in like 90% of meals, and then of course fast foods' use of the potatoe is a big part of the picture. I mean, steak and potatoe is a great meal. Great fuel, tasty, comforting and all that. But the market, our society, etc we just use the potatoe too much generally, and then process the hell out of it and stuff our faces with pringles, chips, fries, etc. This maligns the innocent plain old potatoe for sure.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:05 PM

Great post. I think you've really nailed the distinction in the two broad groups, and I really hope the "toolbox" metaphor gets used more often. Each of us is a project, and will need different plans and tools depending on the goals.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 22, 2011
at 10:49 PM

+1, Rose, for saying just perfectly!

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 23, 2011
at 11:45 AM

just to rant for second: i try to use the toolbox idea for food across the board as much as possible. And this is not mutually exclusive with our "tools" tasting great and being delicious. People often hear me and right away think what I'm talking about is unenjoyable spartan view of food. not at all. I'm a decent cook everyone eats my food with no issues. I think just having a fundamental, baseline view that food is first and foremost their to fuel us, and then secondarily of course we can make it taste however we want, is a healthy, sensible approach.

6
4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

on December 25, 2010
at 10:49 PM

Carbs are not evil, the negative association from some carbs have made them appear so. Calling tubers or starches evil for being carbs, is like calling saturated fat evil because Transfats and Oxidized Omega6 are evil. Guilt by association is no better than prejudice.

potatoes:-unfairly-maligned-in-paleoland?

Our ancestors evolved on tubers. Let me repeat that. We ate tubers of all different varieties. Many Historical societies Thrived on tubers.

Current HG societies have no issues with tubers despite large % of their diets.

Many Centenarians ate tons of tubers...

The Lectins and most of the Glycoalkaloids are in the skin. Peel your potatoes and then cook them.

There are accounts of people reversing their T2 Diabetes while eating tubers, but not wheat/bad carbs.

and for weight loss, Ive posted a couple accounts, I couldnt self experiment, since my weight loss is already over, but I have 2 friends now losing weight rapidly while eating lots of potatoes. I personally have put on 20+ lbs of muscle since resuming potatoes(likely because im eating more calories as a result)

not to mention the 2 big paleo mineral deficiencies, Potassium and Magnesium, both issues solved and resolved by simply re-introducing the great tuber! (zinc and copper too)

Personally I LOVE the Okinowan Purples.

potatoes:-unfairly-maligned-in-paleoland?

and More Anthocyanins than blueberries!

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on December 27, 2010
at 05:10 PM

Dunno about UK, here in the US it's international stores/Korean mart.

B8592e62f9804ddabae73c1103d6bcb9

(1956)

on December 27, 2010
at 04:02 PM

Where can you buy these purple sweet potatoes? I live in the UK and can't find them.

3c6b4eed18dc57f746755b698426e7c8

(5152)

on June 24, 2011
at 06:11 AM

Those purple ones skyrocket my blood sugar. That's why I stick to organic orange yams, which are less starchy and dense.

5
E9798942dfaa0cda97a8f9a71c128c5d

(168)

on December 12, 2010
at 04:02 PM

Good for you! Enjoy your potatoes....the whole point is to TRUST your body. If you feel good, do it.

I am seeing such a rise in the Paleo community.....where there's an attitude of "I'm more Paleo than you!"...or "THIS is more superior Paleo than THAT," or "YOUR version of Paleo SUCKS and MY paleo is the only TRUE paleo!" PLEASE. It's getting ridiculous (and insulting). All of those paloe-phytes out there being superior?..You are all a bunch of SUCKS.

You body knows what it needs. One of the inherent challenges with Paleo is finding additional foods to consume when you have an efficient metabolism, you are not overweight and you need extra calories...Tubers are the natural choice. They are deeply satisfying, nutritious and as long as you're not spiking insulin (and of course, you'll feel it if you do with hunger and sleepiness)....GO FOR IT.

One added note: ALWAYS eat carbs with high-quality fat. Always. So get that grass-fed dairy butter out and slather away...(coconut oil on sweet potatoes is excellent too).

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on December 12, 2010
at 11:14 PM

yeah, I've had the coconut oil with sweet potatoes. Super tasty. I've also added "coconut manna" which seems to be like coconut butter.

7e746be2f0e550a8cd7df881322ae705

(18701)

on December 12, 2010
at 05:59 PM

I agree with the sentiment, but not entirely the tone of voice. I do occasionally get a sense of superiority from the people that are extremely strict with how they eat. We've all turned to Paleo for a variety of reasons and how we make it work for us is individual.

64242a1130eb51f4852f78beed38b3d5

(1343)

on December 13, 2010
at 08:19 PM

Yes, Wendy. I too detect the same attitude.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 22, 2011
at 03:26 PM

sherpamelissa, I'm glad you said that. I've been puzzled at the hostility I detect between (for example) ZCers and higher-carb Paleos, and I sort of assumed it was contempt for fat people on the part of healthy folks who'd always been "golden gods" and could eat whatever they wanted without gaining weight. (See, that's what happens when you ass-ume, lol.) But I know strict eaters who are very holier-than-thou, including ZCers (::rolls eyes::), and I can see that would get old. Thanks for the new perspective.

95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6

on June 22, 2011
at 06:58 PM

I agree, it irritates me sometimes, but I'm more likely now to chuckle a bit at anyone who is holier-than-thou and forget about it.

5
A727956fa3f943057c4edb08ad9e864e

on December 12, 2010
at 01:17 PM

I do really well on white potatoes too, if I go too low on carbs I get depressed. This could be because I am a normal weight, Robb Wolf spoke about this in his podcast. Since I've added in fruit and potatoes I've felt so much better.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 22, 2011
at 10:58 PM

+1 to both sarah-ann and animalcule for distinguishing specifically the substantial differences between those who have a broken metabolism and those who are typically normal weight and do not. we're different animals, lol!

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on June 22, 2011
at 10:17 PM

Me too. Low-carb can be downright unhealthy for those of us with naturally healthy glucose metabolism, and leptin and insulin levels.

5
52cae90a114ca8f0404948e2b7ccb7ef

(1595)

on December 12, 2010
at 12:49 PM

I eat em with some nice kerrygold irish butter and/or sour cream. I don't eat the skin anymore however. As with most things "paleo", your milage may vary.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on April 19, 2011
at 04:37 PM

Being diabetic, I rarely endulge. But when I do, I eat the skin - just cuz I likes it. I figure the potato itself is worse for me. And ditto on the butter/sour cream (and bacon and cheese...mmm!)

4
Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7304)

on December 12, 2010
at 03:31 PM

Amylase definitely suggests we were evolved for starch. it's arguably better than fruit or nuts too. I've reintroduced them with no ill effects after reading some of the Perfect health diet's arguments for increasing starch consumption. It seems like it could take some stress off of the liver.

3
246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 22, 2011
at 02:38 PM

I personally tried tubers and unfortunately, they really didn't work out for me.

Over the holidays, I had suspended my lower-carb paleo in lieu of allowing some "safe" starches, sweet potatoes, purple fingerlings, the occasional baked idaho with butter...

and I gained considerable weight, seemingly overnight (over the course of two months).

Perhaps my problem is carb addiction or insulin sensitivity, I don't get the "I'm Full" signal when starches are involved. The odd thing is, I can eat 1lbs of steak and will get to the point where I can't eat anymore - but if I add a potato to that steak, I find myself eating until "thanksgiving full" and perfecting the art of gluttony.

To top all, I can eat fruit without this ramification. It specifically seems to be with starches...

For what it's worth - I am a fatty, granted I'm 100lbs less a fatty than I was before starting... but I'm still probably 80lbs over my personal "ideal" and 120lbs over accepted "ideal" for my height.

35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:32 PM

3 small sweet potatoes in a week is like nothing. Did you gain just fat?

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 22, 2011
at 09:10 PM

Can't answer for Alex, but I can tell you in my experience that it's not nothing. I gained weight -- body fat, 14 pounds -- last year by eating brussels sprouts and broccoli a few times a week. When your metabolism's like mine (four generations, maybe more, of obese relatives), insulin is nothing to screw around with.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 22, 2011
at 11:15 PM

+2 Rose...for super fattie support!!! We can't afford to forget who we are metabolically and thus, where we came from. I like being 140-144 lbs. I don't plan on returning to just under 240! My metabolism has done some healing...but normal? Yo ho ho! Thank you!

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 22, 2011
at 11:12 PM

+1 Joshua for wonderful honesty and specifics. I'd love to eat tubers as usual fare, but if I do, I pay with substantial weight gain and feeling hungry waaaaay too much. Thus, they are relegated to the "treat foods" category in my diet. They are not forbidden fare as they once were prior to my losing all my weight. But "treat" means very occasional - like when we go out to dinner, say, once a month.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 22, 2011
at 05:50 PM

Ex-fatty here, same experience, minus the fruit (I never really liked it, so saying goodbye to it wasn't hard). Adding "safe" starches, including tubers, turns out to be "unsafe" for me. I think it's unresolved insulin resistance. And since I've been eating this way for four years, I doubt it's resolvable. In me, anyway.

7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on June 22, 2011
at 07:04 PM

Same here. Starches up-regulate my appetite. A couple months ago, I experimented with eating a small sweetpotato 3x per week on gym days, and I ended up gaining about 2 pounds a week.

3
62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 13, 2010
at 04:25 AM

I don't feel that taters are maligned by paleo eaters. It's just that a lot of people have blood sugar and/or weight problems and those people often avoid potatoes. And that's a lot of people!

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on December 13, 2010
at 04:49 PM

I'm actually becoming inclined to believe that even "broken" systems work fine on tubers, it's nuts/seeds/legumes/grains that are counterproductive. I've got a Rather Large friend who won't ditch carbs eating tons of meat/potatoes. Weights flyin off him. Looks promising even with damaged system. Im believing it's not carbs, just Which carbs

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7304)

on December 26, 2010
at 01:59 AM

When my mom first went paleo, she couldnt have sweet potatoes or potatoes or she would get hypoglycemic symptoms For me they were fine. I think it depends both on the type of carb and your level of damage.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 25, 2010
at 04:13 PM

Could be, but if I had blood sugar problems, I'd hide from potatoes at least at first until I got my blood sugars under control. Then I might consider cautiously reintroducing them bit by bit while monitoring how it goes. You don't want to play patty cakes with diabetes. Better safe than sorry. You want to get those blood sugar numbers ASAP before more islet cells die. Now for weight loss, it's not quite so critical and I think it's fine to experiment a tad as long as overal decent progress is being made.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 22, 2011
at 10:55 PM

+1, mari for a response which again underlines the highly individualized needs of *individual* paleos - taking into account degree of metabolic derangement, age, number and type of inflammatory conditions, weight, and other issues as well.

2
Medium avatar

on June 22, 2011
at 02:19 PM

When people say potatoes are not paleo, to me that smacks of carb phobia. Tubers can be dug out and eaten right then and there without any processing. Chimps are known to dig out tubers. Okay, so nightshades are native to the American continent - so what? I believe that if cavemen had the opportunity, they would have 100% consumed tubers. Can you imagine a caveman coming across a tuber patch, saying, "nah, not good for me", and walking away? Insanity.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on June 22, 2011
at 11:07 PM

+1 again for Rose! And Ben, overweight/obese/morbidly obese people are not necessarily "unalthletic" people. Some of us have been quite athletic in the past. Then we became obese people. I believe most obese people, as demonstrated by *many* in cluding myself, on this site, come to paleo looking to become *whole* people again and that for most, includes becoming fit people. Most are *not* couch blubbies just looking to become thin-fats. We're on a journey and so are you and there's a substantial place of intersection and "arrival."

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on June 22, 2011
at 07:55 PM

Yes, it would be nice to work out the hostilities between the carbophobic fatties (my team) and the ultra-fit golden gods (your good-looking team). I get the frustration with those of us who worry about carbs all the time, but it would also be nice if the metabolically fit people stopped yelling at us fatties that we're unnecessarily restrictive and "insane." Believe me, restriction is not something I'm drawn to by nature, and I doubt it is for most other carbophobes. The fact that Paleo appeals to both "teams" should and could be a feature, not a bug. Can't we all just get along? ;)

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 22, 2011
at 05:41 PM

Absolute agree. This is yet another result of the fact that paleo appeals to both unathletic people looking to shed fat and athletic people looking to fuel performance in less-detrimental ways. Sigh.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on June 22, 2011
at 11:46 PM

+1 for mem. As a former semi-pro ballerina who just happened to get really, really fat I was not unathletic. It was a journey up and a journey back down (though I'll never see ballerina weight again in this lifetime, lol) +1 for Rose defending our team well as usual. Throwing in a +1 for Ben just for being Ben and representing his team so well. No need for a sigh Ben. We can all peacefully coexist. I'm just happy to see both sides of the fence being represented. Paleo isn't about carbs per se but they can be so important for many of us (on either side of the carb fence)

Medium avatar

(297)

on June 29, 2011
at 06:18 PM

Ya'll forgot to mention the third group: the flabbies. You've seen us, likely: we used to be overweight, we shed our excess pounds, we're now officially at a healthy weight, and we perform quite well athletically... But we still have flab. And we hate it. (Before someone points this out, potatoes have no effect on my flab. I did try cutting them out... didn't have any effect on me).

2
2d5221fa80d04a3d8ac6f471f9feae81

(894)

on December 27, 2010
at 01:17 PM

For posterity's sake, potatoes(along with other nightshades) arrived from the American continent a few centuries ago. So they're not a run of the mill tuber that humans encountered. I think that for someone going full paleo, regular potatoes are simply unappealing because they taste awful without salt. Maybe that's just me.

So, not paleo. But not a big deal every now and again.

332d9f75d1077abafff6887681f6b130

(1081)

on June 22, 2011
at 02:47 PM

While its true that the 'tater is fairly new to North America, they are no stranger to South America where the first know accounts of people cultivating / eating them are found. People in Peru have been eating 'taters for as long as 10,000 years now.

Medium avatar

(297)

on June 22, 2011
at 02:15 PM

I'm an occasional potato eater, and I never use salt on them. I either pour bacon fat over them or bake them with a mix of olive oil, red vinegar and oregano. Tastes great!

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on June 22, 2011
at 11:40 PM

As Melissa has pointed out, "yams" (not true yams) and sweet potatoes, so beloved among paleos, are likewise native to the Americas. As are squash, for that matter. The idea that we should only eat foods that people ate in the paleolithic is pretty silly. Almost no modern veggies or meats would qualify.

1
95eda9fa0cec952b482e869c34a566b6

on June 22, 2011
at 06:27 PM

I do think potatoes are unfairly maligned when their consumption is not considered in the context of an individual's health profile. A blanket statement that they're bad news is shortsighted. Humans have been eating tubers for a long time.

When I first started paleo/primal/whatever-you-want-to-call-it, I avoided sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and rice. I went very low carb for the kick-start because of diagnosed metabolic troubles. After the initial drop of about 30 pounds, I've added tubers back in with no weight gain issues. I'm still shaving off a bit of weight here and there -- 1 pound last month -- though I feel I'm very near equilibrium and my metabolism has recovered.

I probably eat tubers 2 to 3 times per week, usually no more than 6 to 8 ounces in one day. They taste great and they make me feel good when I eat them, especially on workout days. Overall, carbs make up anywhere from 12 to 25% of my calories on a given day.

1
35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on June 22, 2011
at 05:55 PM

damn it! Now I'm scared again!

During a famine in 1782, Scottish highlanders complained of dropsy (an old term for edema or swelling, often associated with congestive heart failure) when they ate abundantly of potatoes.1 Russian prisoners of World War II returned with advanced cases of dropsy, which was blamed on heavy potato consumption.2 An old saying in New Hampshire in 1719 was that the white potato shortened men???s lives. ...

Studies with animals indicate that solanine causes cell membrane disruption in the digestive tract???exacerbated irritable bowel disorder in mice,7 gastrointestinal tissue destroyed in Syrian hamsters.8 It affects the gene expression of the human intestinal cell linings and also inhibits proteolytic enzyme activity.9 Solanines also destroy human liver cells in vitro....

... I have found fourteen research reviews linking potato blight in Ireland with birth defects in the following years. ...

Even if you are one of those lucky people who don???t seem to have trouble with nightshades, in my opinion it???s a good idea not to overdo

http://www.westonaprice.org/food-features/1897-nightshades

I'll stick to sweet potatoes.

26b7615ef542394102785a67a2786867

(7967)

on June 22, 2011
at 10:16 PM

I think in all these instances, white potatoes were a staple of a poor diet, which excluded many much more nutritious foods. A diet of mostly pure glucose with 0 measurable anti-nutrients is going to lead to many health problems if it's the main component of a nutrient-deficient diet... or infested with toxic molds.

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 22, 2011
at 05:36 PM

But would you eat potatoes if you didn't cook them? I think eating fruit is much better than eating potatoes

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on June 22, 2011
at 05:40 PM

Too much fiber in fruit for the amount carbohydrate I need. Potatoes offer easy access to dense carbohydrate with no fiber to get in the way.

1
Cb2415c2aef964ab499a09dc92ae7e01

(783)

on December 27, 2010
at 02:10 PM

I'm in the pro-paleo carb camp. I think it is crazy how people eat coconut milk by the can, nuts by the bag, bacon by the pound, butter by the stick and then worry about a 150 calorie tuber. That said I eat more sweets and squashes than potatoes. Not anti-fat here either, but I do much better with more carbs. Just add some fats for cooking and don't go out my way to add extra.

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 22, 2011
at 02:41 PM

You also seem to be in the "a calorie is a calorie" camp which is one of the most destructive concepts in modern Nutritional wisdom.

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on June 22, 2011
at 11:36 PM

Saying that calories, at some margin, matter is different from saying "a calorie is a calorie".

246ebf68e35743f62e5e187891b9cba0

(21430)

on June 23, 2011
at 02:14 AM

Tom, 15000 calories is hyperbole and you know it. I'm in the high fat/low carb camp and rarely exceed 3200 calories a day. The comment about worrying about a "150 calorie tuber" over other high fat staples doesn't take into account insulin sensitivity, or anti-nutrients and that's why I made my comment.

332d9f75d1077abafff6887681f6b130

(1081)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:22 PM

Its not totally bunk either. If you eat 15,000 calories per day of good paleo approved food, you're going to gain weight. Similary if you eat 500 calories per day of pure HFC you will lose weight. You won't be healty, but you will lose weight. All things in moderation, even paleo meals.

1
14aa918d730371ed14f8e7e7d6eb6587

on December 12, 2010
at 05:43 PM

Potatoes have become a staple for me as well, and like you, I've noticed how pounding the starch + fat in a single meal just makes it easier to fast. Your body seemingly finds a way to maintain your weight, no matter how many starchy carbs you eat.

Sucks that I spent all of those months forcing VLC on my body when I could have been thriving on a macronutrientally unrestricted diet. I think such a diet is much more paleolithically sound, as well. Besides, homemade hashed-browns (fried in butter) are ridiculously good.

I question the common wisdom that potatoes are bad for T2 diabetics. As I understand it, with type 2s the damage is in the liver, and thus you need to avoid liver damaging foods like sugar, o-6, and alcohol. And also aid the liver (perhaps by eating liver (and potatoes, which you suggest give it a break?)).

02736efa3fda31740e8890eed0cb663d

(1813)

on December 12, 2010
at 11:17 PM

Thanks for the feedback, Kyle! I agree with you and am beginning to suspect that VLC is WAY overrated. Obviously it works for some people and that's fine, but I feel like we're turning people off of paleo by throwing them into ketosis and "carb flu" when they would see dramatic improvements by simply removing grains, legumes, sugar, and junk (oil, etc.).

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 25, 2010
at 04:25 PM

Kyle, I know that the T2 diabetics I know find that potatoes make their blood sugars shoot up through the roof. The starch turns to sugar right away and the sugar enters the blood stream and bam! High blood sugar in a jiffy. However, if their blood sugar control could be repaired or healed, then they may be able to return to potatoes safely. But how to repair it? That is the million dollar question. However, until the system is repaired, high blood sugar is definitely bad and potatoes/starches definitely cause that.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 25, 2010
at 04:22 PM

Nico, I would agree. I think the easiest is to just try to have people give up the worst offenders and see that improvement. Once the see the results, they can always tweek further later. I am curious if anyone will have lowcarb flu if just giving up the bad grains and the sugar. Is carb flu all ketosis related or is some (or all) of it withdrawal from toxins and sugar as well?

14aa918d730371ed14f8e7e7d6eb6587

(373)

on December 25, 2010
at 08:05 PM

Good point Eva. If you have insulin resistance I can see how BG spiking potatoes could be problematic.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on June 24, 2011
at 05:25 AM

I do great with sweet potatos but white potatos not so much. There's something about white potatos that doesn't sit well, not sure if it's the pesticides or the fact it's a nightshade(unlike sweet potatos)

Sweet potatos don't need salt, they taste fine steamed. Just put cinnamon, butter or coconut oil. Though I'm against butter and recommend coconut oil it tastes better and is much healthier saturated fat IMO.

White potatos contain TONS more pesticides than sweet potatos, so if you aren't buying organic get sweet potatos.

0
1cb6463c45193cf1b240b5bdec370e22

on December 25, 2010
at 09:46 AM

Dr. Ben Balzer claims that potatoes contain enzyme blockers, lectins, and glycoalkaloids.

He strongly advises against consuming them repeatedly in this article: http://www.earth360.com/diet_paleodiet_balzer.html

I don't get it. To consume or not to consume potatoes?

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on December 25, 2010
at 10:33 PM

Enzyme blockers, destroyed by cooking. FTW. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1981.tb14583.x/abstract

4b97e3bb2ee4a9588783f5d56d687da1

(22913)

on December 25, 2010
at 10:28 PM

everything has lectins. The dose makes the poison. most of potatoes lectins and glyoalkaloids are in the Skin. Peel your potatoes and enjoy.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 25, 2010
at 04:17 PM

Well I think there is the thing. Tubers obviously do support healthy populations of humans in some areas and are a natural food for us, so we have probably developed some immunity from their problems. However, the question is if a biological system potentially already damaged from other unhealthy foods would do well to consume potatoes may be something that has to be taken on a case by case basis. I don't think we have enough data to really know all the details for sure yet. It's just too early in the game and individual genetics could play a role as well.

0
1aeb2cfacf9bc03644bcda640ce459ba

(154)

on December 13, 2010
at 03:42 AM

I recently read a study review at advancedmediterraneandiet.com/blog/ that was written on Nov 23. Two groups of pre/T2 diabetic males. One group ate paleo which included no more than 2 med taters daily. The other group ate mediterranean diet which is starch, dairy, less meat, etc....all that 'healthy' stuff.

Paleo glucose control was dramatically better in the paleos even though fruit consumption was high.

Of course, there's more but I just wanted to show that potatoes may not be the culprit in an otherwise nutrient rich, grain free diet....and these guys were unmedicated.

62ed65f3596aa2f62fa1d58a0c09f8c3

(20807)

on December 25, 2010
at 04:19 PM

This only shows that paleo plus potatoes was better than mediterranean, but it does not show how paleo plus potatoes stacks up against paleo without potatoes, and I think that is the question here.

332d9f75d1077abafff6887681f6b130

(1081)

on June 22, 2011
at 08:19 PM

I disagree. If paleo with potatoes was good, then that's as far as it needs to go. If your goal is to control blood sugar and stave off diabetes, and you can do that with potatoes, why restrict your diet more? You'll just turn away more people by restricting the diet needlessly.

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