Caloric content of potatoes: the most important questions and answers

Kaloriengehalt von Kartoffeln: Die wichtigsten Fragen und Antworten

You may have wondered how many calories are actually in potatoes. Since potatoes are also used for unhealthy foods such as crisps or fries, they are often classified as fattening foods. Potatoes have many health-promoting properties and are basically low in calories.

In this article you will learn about the calorie content of potatoes and how to preserve the nutrients in potatoes when cooking. This is how you benefit from the positive properties of potatoes and can enjoy them with fewer calories!

the essentials in brief

  • Potatoes are basically low in calories and contain important nutrients. They only have a reputation as fattening foods because they are often processed into high-fat products such as french fries or crisps (1.7).
  • Simple boiled or boiled potatoes have the fewest calories (4.12). As soon as the potatoes are fried or fried, the fat content increases and with it the calories.
  • Compared to rice and pasta, potatoes contain far fewer calories. In addition, potatoes fill you up quickly and they are also an important source of energy (1).

What you should know about the calories in potatoes:

The popular cultivated plant has a number of special features. It can be processed into countless dishes and is also beneficial to health thanks to the many important nutrients. Potatoes are also great for losing weight because they contain hardly any calories and fill you up quickly (1,2). You can find out more about this in the following part:

How many calories are in potatoes?

Potatoes are low in calories, because they only have 69 kcal per 100 g. It is also interesting to compare the calories in relation to the other components of potatoes. To better illustrate the nutritional values ​​of peeled and boiled potatoes, we have summarized them in a table (4):

nutritional values per 100 g (peeled and cooked)
calories approx. 69 calories
proteins 1.7g
fats 0.02g
carbohydrates 14g
fiber 1.56g
potassium 384 mg
vitamin C 12 mg

So it can be seen that potatoes contain a lot of good nutritional values. As long as they are processed into healthy dishes and not fried in fat, the potatoes are a valuable source of energy.

Which type of potato has the fewest calories?

Freshly boiled boiled or boiled potatoes with about 70 kcal per 100 g have the fewest calories. If you also let the potatoes cool after cooking, they will lose an additional 10% of their calories (3,10).

To give you a better overview of the calories in other potato products, we have selected a few ways to prepare them and their calorie content (12):

potato product Calories per 100g
fried potatoes 159 calories
crisps 539 calories
potato pancakes 269 ​​calories
Mashed potatoes 83 calories
potato salad 143 calories
fried potatoes 159 calories
croquettes 265 calories
baked potato 95 calories
French fries 291 calories
Rosemary Potatoes 93 calories
sweet potatoes 111 calories

Please note that the number of calories in potato products depends heavily on the preparation and can vary. The calories increase mainly through the addition of fat, which is the case with fries, potato pancakes or chips, for example. Searing, frying and refining with cream increases the fat content and thus the calories enormously.

Fast food

Potatoes have a negative reputation for being fattening, as they are often processed into fast food. When cooked properly, potatoes have very few calories. (Image Source: Jonathan Borba / Unsplash)

Are cold potatoes lower in calories?

We hear again and again that cold potatoes are healthier and have fewer calories. This may be due to the fact that potatoes go through a process when they cool down, during which they form what is known as “resistant starch” (10). This causes our body to feel full faster. After all, there are fewer carbohydrates in the potatoes, which also results in a lower calorie count.

In the table below we have listed different ways of cooking potatoes and their resistant starch content (11):

type of preparation Resistant starch content
Baked potatoes 3.6g / 100g
Cooked potatoes 2.4g / 100g
Cold Potatoes 4.3g / 100g
Cooled and reheated potatoes 3.5g / 100g

How exactly resistant starch is produced in potatoes can be found in one of the following questions on the topic "Low carb diet with potatoes".

What Are the Health Benefits of Potatoes?

Many components of potatoes contribute to antioxidant activity (1). Although the protein content is relatively low, potato protein has a very high biological value. This means that their protein is of particularly high quality. The vitamin C and vitamin B content is also comparatively considerable and potatoes are also a source of potassium and magnesium (1,2,4). But not only trace elements are found in potatoes - dietary fiber is also one of their nutrients.

Potatoes contain vitamin C, vitamin B, potassium and magnesium. The shell contains valuable dietary fiber.

The rich dietary fiber is mainly contained in the peel. Therefore, if possible, you should leave the peel on when preparing, if that is feasible depending on the recipe. If you still want to remove the peel, be careful and don't cut off too much in order to preserve the valuable ingredients. If the packaging of the potatoes states that they have been treated after harvest, you must remove the skin to get rid of the toxins (7). For dishes where the skin should remain on top, only untreated or organic potatoes are suitable.

However, all of these health-promoting ingredients in potatoes are only retained if they are properly prepared (3,10). It is best to always cook the potatoes well, but do not let them simmer for too long. If potatoes are cooked too long, many nutrients and vitamins are lost. To test if the potato is cooked through, simply poke it with a fork. If you can pierce them easily and get to the soft core, the potato is done and can be eaten (7).

Do Potatoes Help You Lose Weight?

Unless they are sautéed or deep fried, potatoes can be used as a weight loss food. The low number of calories in potatoes is an advantage, but when losing weight you should not only pay attention to the calorie content of food, but above all to a low energy density (5,6). The reason for this is that calories alone do not fill you up. So it's important to consider the amount of calories per gram.

Lose weight

There's no need to skip potatoes when trying to lose weight, as long as they're low-fat (Image source: Bill Oxford/Unsplash)

The energy density of food is considered low if the value is below 1.5. In addition to potatoes, fruit, legumes, lean meat and low-fat dairy products also have a low energy density (6). Since weight loss is generally related to a reduction in energy intake, eating potatoes does not lead to weight gain (5).

Potatoes are a good side dish instead of pasta or rice because they contain fewer calories. Potatoes also have the advantage that they fill you up quickly thanks to their high starch content. Therefore, they should only be consumed in moderation (7,8). In addition, the feeling of fullness lasts longer, which can reduce food cravings (9).

Does a low carb diet work with potatoes?

Since potatoes contain a relatively large amount of carbohydrates, one might think that they are poorly suited to a low-carb diet . However, there is a trick in the preparation to reduce the carbohydrate content. The trick lies in the effect of resistant starch (10). Here is a detailed explanation of how potatoes get this type of starch:

Since potatoes are about 20% non-digestible starch, they need to be cooked before they can be eaten. This process causes the starch granules to swell and eventually burst. Now the potatoes are digestible by the human body.

Resistant starch is produced when the potatoes cool down, which reduces the proportion of carbohydrates and calories.

After the fermentation process, let the potatoes cool down. In the process, part of the starch crystallizes out again and "crystalline starch" is produced. This special starch then passes through the small intestine undigested, so to speak. So when the potatoes cool down, about 10% of the starch converts in this way and becomes resistant starch.

This resistant starch is only broken down in the large intestine, which contributes to the well-being of the intestine. Feel free to reheat the potatoes because the resistant starch content remains unchanged (10). So you can enjoy potatoes without any problems despite a low carb diet!

Which has fewer calories: rice or potatoes?

Potatoes contain fewer calories than rice. 100 g of potatoes have around 70 kcal and 100 g of rice, on the other hand, have around 90 kcal. For better comparison: 100 g of pasta contain 150 kcal (7). So it makes sense to choose potatoes instead of rice or pasta as a side dish.

potatoes

There are numerous dishes in which potatoes are prepared low in calories. (Image source: Congerdesign / Pixabay)

Which low-calorie dishes with potatoes are there?

Whether as a salad or as a warm meal: Many great dishes can be prepared from the staple food, which also have few calories! You can find a wide range of recipes on the internet. Why not try one of our favourites, namely Mangold Ricotta Muffins!

Not only are they easy to make and taste great, they're extremely low in calories (152 kcal per piece). So you can eat a second muffin with a clear conscience. If you want, you can also prepare chard ricotta muffins as a side dish.

Conclusion

Potatoes are generally low in calories, it only depends on the preparation whether the good nutritional values ​​are retained. Even when you lose weight, you don't have to do without potatoes, because they have fewer calories than pasta or rice and also fill you up quickly. Cooled potatoes are particularly helpful here, because they produce resistant starch, which reduces the number of calories even more.

The potatoes don't live up to their bad reputation as fattening foods unless they are processed into fast food in the form of chips or chips. There are numerous recipes in which potatoes are prepared in a low-calorie manner and can be eaten as an alternative to fatty dishes.

References

    Camire ME, Kubow S, Donnelly DJ. Potatoes and human health. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2009 Nov;49(10):823-40. doi: 10.1080/10408390903041996. PMID: 19960391. Source Furrer AN, Chegeni M, Ferruzzi MG. Impact of potato processing on nutrients, phytochemicals, and human health. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2018 Jan 2;58(1):146-168. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2016.1139542. Epub 2017 Jul 11. PMID: 26852789. Source Lazy K. Simple potatoes do not make you ill. MMW Fortschr Med. 2018 Dec;160(21-22):40. German. doi: 10.1007/s15006-018-1230-5. PMID: 30542865. Source King JC, Slavin JL. White potatoes, human health, and dietary guidance. Adv Nutr. 2013 May 1;4(3):393S-401S. doi: 10.3945/an.112.003525. PMID: 23674809; PMCID: PMC3650512. Source Randolph JM, Edirisinghe I, Masoni AM, Kappagoda T, Burton-Freeman B. Potatoes, Glycemic Index, and Weight Loss in Free-Living Individuals: Practical Implications. 2014 Oct 10. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Source When it comes to losing weight, energy density is more important than calorie count. 2020. SĂĽddeutsche Zeitung. Source Eitelmann M. The potato, how healthy or unhealthy is the tuber really? 2019. Alternative healthy living. Source Holt SH, Miller JC, Petocz P, Farmakalidis E. A satiety index of common foods. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1995 Sep;49(9):675-90. PMID: 7498104. Source Paddon-Jones D, Westman E, Mattes RD, Wolfe RR, Astrup A, Westerterp-Plantenga M. Protein, weight management, and satiety. Am J Clin Nutr. 2008 May;87(5):1558S-1561S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/87.5.1558S. PMID: 18469287. Source Potato diet: How to lose weight with potatoes. 2018. Eat Smarter. Source Resistant starch content of potatoes varies significantly by preparation and service method. 2013. Eurek Alert. US Potato Board. Source Potato products calorie chart. CalorieTable.net. 2021. Source
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