Richard Nikoley of Free the Animal apparently got himself in trouble with the paleo purists by noting in a recent post that he’s added potatoes back into his diet:

I really don’t get it. Now, if for some reason you must stay low-carb; say, for weight loss, diabetes or other health or well being reasons, then fine. But if not, what’s the deal? Potatoes are Real Food. Sure, the various white varieties are a neolithic introduction, but c’mon, so is virtually every fruit and vegetable we consume. Most in no way, shape, form, fiber content, nutrient makeup, or sugar content resemble pre-domesticated versions. So why pick on the white potato?

One purist was so disgusted, he dropped Free the Animal from his blogroll.  Give me a break.  We laugh at militant vegans for being the Hezbollah of the food world; do we really need to start imitating them?  Should Richard start looking over his shoulder, wondering if some paleo fanatic will smash a meat pie into his face?

Paleo or not, I don’t eat white potatoes for a good reason:  my blood-sugar meter informed me I don’t get along with them.  The small red-skinned potato I consumed on St. Patrick’s Day pushed my glucose all the way up to 164 mg/dl.  It’s not just a matter of staying below a particular carb count for the day; I don’t want my blood sugar reaching that level, period.

However, Richard also linked to a four-part series by Don Matesz on Primal Potatoes that’s quite an interesting read.  (Part one, part two, part three, part four.)  Don makes a convincing case that tubers such as sweet potatoes have been in the human diet for a very long time (unlike grains or sugar) and on balance are probably good for us.

Well, maybe.  I understand some native peoples ate a lot of sweet potatoes, were healthy, and didn’t become fat and diabetic … but then again, they didn’t wreck their metabolisms with sugar and white flour, either.  I did, at an early age, so starches of any kind may have a more dramatic effect on me.  How I would react to sweet potatoes today if I’d never discovered Captain Crunch as a child is irrelevant at this point.

But since I’m still testing which foods cause my blood sugar to skyrocket, I decided to experiment with a medium-sized sweet potato.  I also decided to make it count by putting together a meal I knew I’d enjoy — after all, if it pinned the needle on my glucose monitor afterwards, this would be my last sweet potato in a long time.  So, as you can see from the pictures, I cooked up a skillet of home fries and eggs.

Between the sweet potato and half of a red onion, the meal included about 30-35 carbohydrates.  I fried the potato slices and onions in some Kerry Gold butter until they were on the crispy side, then added four eggs, salt, pepper, and some thyme.  When the eggs were firm, I folded the whole thing over onto a plate, added a dollop of sour cream, and enjoyed.

Yes, it was delicious.  I used to make home fries and eggs nearly every weekend, but with white potatoes.  Not knowing any better at the time, I assumed sweet potatoes were full of sugar.  Why else would they taste sweet?  But in fact, a sweet potato has a glycemic index of 44, whereas a red-skinned potato comes in at 88 — putting it up around pure-glucose territory.

However, the glycemic index is an imperfect guide.  We’re all different, so if you want to know how a particular food affects your blood sugar, you have to measure.  Spaghetti, for example, has a glycemic index of around 40.  But when I added a wee bit of it to some meatballs and a half-cup of marinara awhile back, I ended up with a blood-sugar reading of 174 mg/dl an hour later.  Yikes.  So while I wasn’t exactly afraid of the sweet potato, I prepared myself to see quite a glucose spike.

Didn’t happen.  An hour after breakfast, the meter showed my blood sugar was at 128 mg/dl.  Not great, but not bad either.  After two hours, the reading was 87 mg/dl, which means my body brought my blood sugar back to normal without much trouble.  By contrast, I was still around 120 mg/dl more than two hours after the spaghetti.  Pasta just doesn’t agree with me, no matter what the glycemic index says.

So wheat and wheat products are definitely out.  But it looks like a “paleo potato” is okay now and then.  Next time, I’ll bake it and top it with butter and sour cream … with a medium-rare steak on the side.

p.s. — For some reason I was unable to upload a new post all day yesterday and this morning.  I guess my web provider fixed the issue.

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34 Responses to “Paleotatoes”
  1. LeonRover says:

    The only true test of glycaemic loading (or not) – the sugar meter!

    You sucked it and what did you see ?

    Sweet potato he no suck. . . . . . . for you.

    Is it paleo ?

    Does not matter a suck.

  2. Rabbi Hirsch Meisels says:

    not all sweet potatoes have a GI of 44. Here is a list from Mendosa’s website:
    Sweet potato, Ipomoea batatas (Australia) 44
    Sweet potato, NS8 (Canada) 48±6
    Sweet potato, peeled, cubed, boiled in salted water 15 min (Canada) 59
    Sweet potato, kumara (New Zealand) 77±12
    Sweet potato, kumara (New Zealand) 78±6
    mean of five studies 61±7

    I noticed there was quite a variation among different types. I’d best make sure I stick to the same type.

  3. aurelia says:

    Most of the things I’m “testing” I don’t even need to use a glucose meter anymore. My heartbeat is rapid and I’m flushed when my blood sugar goes over 130. The one thing that doesn’t set me off that surprises me is white rice.

    That’s why we need to test our own individual reactions.

  4. Tracey says:

    I have been using kumara (NZ sweet potato) instead of ‘spuds’ for about a year now – I was taking it on faith but interesting to see how your blood sugar bore that out for me.

    Food Nazis are not attractive, no matter what variety…getting all evangelical about what other people should eat is likely to do more damage to the cause. Surely encouraging people to eat ‘real’ food is a great start – getting rid of highly processed junk out of the diet is going to make people healthier than continuing to fill their bodies with numbers. With my clients (because as a PT I’m only allowed to give very general dietary info, no specific diet plans) I tell people that if they really want to have something sugary (cake/muffin/fudge even kiwi ‘fish and chips’ etc), do so, but make it themselves using real ingredients. Ideal – no – but are they more likely to sustain that – absolutely. And hopefully it will lead to them thinking more about what they are putting into their bodies.

    As an aside, on ‘Good Morning’ last week (basically a TV version of a women’s magazine) was an interview with a woman who lost 40kg. Don’t usually watch the programme but was interested to see how she did it – imagine my delight when she spoke about cutting out all starches and sugars from her diet, and eating good quality lean meats and fats. The presenter’s face when Michelle talked about avoiding trans fats but eating lots of good natural animal fats was both hilarious and really sad – she looked like she’d been made to eat a dairy farmer’s unwashed gumboot!

    PS – I’m another celery hater – vile stuff – would be 100% behind your campaign :D

    That must’ve been a tough cookie to swallow for a brainwashed media type. I figure if the choice is between a sweet potato or some low-carb frankenfood, the sweet potato wins.

  5. Michael says:

    The one thing that doesn’t set me off that surprises me is white rice.

    That actually isn’t an unusual response to white rice. Even so, transitory rises in blood sugar aren’t really the issue. It does make a difference whether the rise is acute or chronic. Some people over time have indeed adjusted to foods that only give a temporary spike to the point where they don’t even get that (even diabetics). Yes, properly fed, the body can heal.

    That’s why I believe it’s a good idea to measure at 1 hour and again at 2 hours. I’d prefer to avoid spikes completely, but definitely plan to stay away from foods that raise my blood sugar and keep it elevated for awhile. That’s what wheat seems to do in my case.

  6. Husker82 says:

    As a diabetic I can tell you certain foods raise my blood sugar more than one would expect from the total carb intake of a food. An individual’s metabolism can vary a lot. Still I have found the glycemic load is far more insightful to gauge how much a food will raise your blood glucose.

    Here a site that shows the glycemic load for various foods.
    http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Glycemic_index_and_glycemic_load_for_100_foods.htm

    Load definitely matters. A teeny bit of a high GI food isn’t going to produce a much of a spike.

  7. Russ says:

    “Some people over time have indeed adjusted to foods that only give a temporary spike to the point where they don’t even get that (even diabetics). Yes, properly fed, the body can heal.”

    Agreed. As I mentioned on Richard’s blog, I have experienced this myself as a diabetic. 3 months ago potatoes with 5 units of insulin still produced readings over 300. This was, however, after a period of 3 years of eating low carb and no potatoes at all. I believe I have seen studies that showed implaired glucose function in folks after going low-carb, with function slowly returning after repeated exposure. So trying to look at things in terms of acute and chronic I persisted with them.

    Today my 1 hour reading after having 6.5 oz. of white potatoes fried in coconut oil with 2 units of insulin was 81. The previous 5 times I had potatoes my readings with the same 1-2 units of insulin were: 111, 66, 100, 96, 84 respectively.

    The big picture is seems much more complicated than simply placing the blame on carbs.

    I don’t plan to start eating white potatoes again, whether I can adjust to them or not. But if I can fry up an occasional sweet potato without a blood sugar spike afterwards, I don’t see the harm. As Weston A. Price noted, the real culprit seems to be refined carbohydrates.

  8. Tom says:

    What was the point of this exercise? I’m just wondering why you would put this kind of glycating substance in your body if you don’t need to for basic nutrition.
    Is it enjoyment alone? Or still a residual craving for sugar maybe?
    I’m not judging, just wondering about the motivation. I wondered the same when I read Nikoley’s post.
    Thanks

    Mostly I’m curious about which foods raise my blood sugar and which don’t. I’m not sure how glycating it would be, since my carb count for the day was still around 50-60 and I didn’t experience a blood-sugar spike. Don Matesz’s posts made some good points, so I thought it would be interesting to see if I can handle an occasional tuber. Apparently I can, if it’s not a white potato.

  9. Mark. Gooley says:

    I’m a type 1 diabetic diagnosed nearly forty years ago. Sweet potatoes, at least the usual brown-skinned, orange-fleshed type sold here in the north of Florida and grown in various places (including Georgia: after the harvest there, the price here plummets for a while, sometimes to 19 cents a pound), drive up my blood sugar relatively little — certainly a lot less than white potatoes do. I still much prefer white potatoes, and the ones grown just to the east of here (there’s even a small town in Florida potato country called Spuds) can be excellent, including a slightly lower-carb variety bred for Florida, but they’re a guarantee of a spike in blood sugar, and I rarely eat them.

    I wonder about those New Zealand sweet potatoes: could they be entirely unrelated to those usual here?

    Not sure about those kiwi sweet potatoes. I actually preferred the sweet potato … white potatoes make me feel bloated, probably because of the glucose spike. Pasta makes me feel bloated as well. I guess I should’ve taken that as a hint years ago.

  10. Felix says:

    Oh shit, I think one should have seen it coming. Exorcizing people for insulting the paleo gods. LOL! I have a copy of the Melvin Anchell’s Steak Lovers’ Diet in hand and its basic tenet is eat at every meal as much meat as you like with some potatoes, french fries, etc as a side dish. Also allowed (instead of the potatoes) are a bowl of rice, a banana, a pear, a small bunch of grapes, a slice of water melon, and a bowl of raspberries or blueberries. This was the easiest low-carb diet I’ve ever followed and it’s still my recommendation whenever people ask me. You can be low-carb and have your french-fries, too. Quite frankly, steak and french fries doesn’t sound like much of a diet, really (sure beats the “magic” cabbage soup). This is Alfred Pennington’s original DuPont diet, by the way. Anchell mentions that it was his experience that replacing the carbs mentioned on his list with others reduced or even stopped weight-loss.
    Dying of infections is paleo, too. I don’t need that.

    People are becoming fat and diabetic because carbs dominate our diets, especially refined carbs. Even with a sweet potato, my carb count for the day was low. I think the key is to limit the carbs to side dishes and avoid any foods that cause a blood-sugar spike.

  11. Natalie says:

    Mark Gooley and Tom: Kumara are awesome. They’re creamy yellow on the inside and when they’re cooked they’re quite dry and a little sweet, not really sweet like the northern hemisphere, orangey-pink sweet potatoes. I grew up eating dozens of the things and it wasn’t until I went on holiday to America with my family when I was 10 that I started gaining weight!

    Anyhoo – another commenter above mentioned Michelle – a young Kiwi woman interviewed on television about her amazing 40kg weightloss on the Primal plan. I thought you might like to watch it: Here you go! :)

    http://tvnz.co.nz/good-morning/s2010-210410-michellematangi-video-3481727

    Awesome! She followed Mark Sisson’s Primal Blueprint. Thanks for the link.

    I was sitting here chuckling when the host started worrying that poor Michelle was consuming too much fat and asking if she’d checked with her doctor. Same old, same old: you’ll lose weight, but you’ll die of a heart attack.

  12. Russ says:

    “What was the point of this exercise? I’m just wondering why you would put this kind of glycating substance in your body if you don’t need to for basic nutrition.
    Is it enjoyment alone? Or still a residual craving for sugar maybe?
    I’m not judging, just wondering about the motivation. I wondered the same when I read Nikoley’s post.”

    I’d imagine you were asking Tom but here is my 2 cents as well. I first became aware of my blood sugar issues 3-4 years ago. I did a large amount of research and removed all refined flour and sugar from my diet – by default lowering carbs. I realize the ~75-125g a day I ate at this time would still be shunned by many paleo/lo-carb people, but this worked wonderfully. Within 3 days my blood sugar was normalized without any medication. I lost 30 pounds in 3 months, going from about 220 at 17% bodyfat to 190 and 12-13% bodyfat. I began extolling the benefits of lo-carb to all of my clients. This worked for a little over a year.

    Then no more. Slowly I began developing those symtpoms some associate with low-carb diets – low sex drive, general crankiness, etc. I couldn’t understand how I could eat less than 50g/day with 1000mg of metformin and still wake up with a fasted reading over 300. Frustrating beyond belief. It also led me to believe that going low-carb wasn’t the panacea I thought it was previously – that there was more to the picture.

    So I came across Matt Stone and decided to give his ideas a whirl, my ideas certainly weren’t working – and heck some of the stuff he said made sense. It was never about cravings etc., actually my cravings were worse towards the end of the very low carb phase – they are essentially non-existant now. I quit eating 5-6 small meals a day just because that’s what we preach in the fitness industry and simply listened to my body to tell me when I was hungry – I think this helped with cravings as well.

    I am now in agreement with the WAPF, and many others, that you must differentiate whether the carbohydrates are refined/processed or not. But not only carbs, processed fats like canola oil and maragarine, and processed protein like nitrite/-ate laced meats. In the end – I’m all about REAL food – which a potato certainly is. And as Tom has discovered – they are a welcome addition to an omelet! I think low-carb can be a great kick-start to someone with diabetes or wanting to lose weight – but due to my experiences, I can’t sign off on it as a long-term solution.

    It’s not my goal to live on a zero-carb diet. My goal is to eat a mostly whole food, unprocessed, low-carb diet while avoiding any foods that spike my blood sugar. Since sweet potatoes don’t spike my blood sugar, they’re off the DO NOT TOUCH list.

    I haven’t suffered any of the effects of long-term carb-restriction that Matt describes, but we’re all different. I don’t think anyone should get locked into a particular idea of what constitutes the ideal diet, then ignore negative consequences of that diet. That’s how I ended up sticking with a vegetarian diet when my body clearly didn’t get along with it.

  13. GHarkness says:

    Well, excommunicating Richard from the link love is just silly. If he had really felt the need to do that, for paleo purity, yanno, it could have been done quietly without a public announcement.

    Re the sweet potatoes. I like them too, but eating a whole or even a half one is a bit much (for me). I find it works best to add them, cut up, to a really good dish, like brussels sprouts cooked with bacon and pecans…that spreads the carbiness out a little and lessens the glucose load.

    I always buy the orangest sweet potatoes I can find (actually I look for yams if they are available) and I only buy one at a time and share them (in the above dish) amongst several servings.

    My wife usually puts carrots and bits of sweet potato in her beef stew. I’ve been eating around the sweet potatoes, but apparently a small amount of them won’t affect my blood sugar very much.

  14. Tracee says:

    I have to curse my captain crunch addiction for all of my ills too..as if making the roof of my mouth sore wasn’t enough, contributing to my Celicacs and carb intolerance is another. Damn you Captain!

    I love reading your glucose meter posts. I think I’m going to get everyone a copy of Blood Sugar 101 this Christmas.

    Captain Crunch, Tony the Tiger, that little Leprechaun with his Lucky Charms — I owe several cartoon characters a good punch in the chops.

  15. Dianne says:

    “Most of the things I’m “testing” I don’t even need to use a glucose meter anymore. My heartbeat is rapid and I’m flushed when my blood sugar goes over 130.”

    I felt flushed and my pulse was up to 79 (from 63) after eating Brazil nuts and cashews yesterday. I just ordered a blood glucose monitoring kit. Wonder if would show a spike in blood sugar. Odd what can affect us.

  16. Dave says:

    Just to beat the horse a bit more: Blood sugar is one of the few things you can practically measure about your metabolism. I think it is clear humans evolved to eat a broad range of foods, and the categorization of something being “paleo” or not is arbitrary (indeed, most true “paleo” foods have long since evolved into something different or gone extinct). Better to actually gather information than blindly categorize, particularly when dealing with your specific metabolism.

    Exactly. If a food spikes my blood sugar, I’m not going to make it part of my diet, whether it’s considered paleo or not. And if Richard Nikoley or Matt Stone or anyone else can eat white potatoes without gaining weight or experiencing blood-sugar spikes, I don’t see any reason they should avoid them. Carb tolerance is highly individual.

  17. Jo says:

    Oooohhh, New Zealand kumara has a taste of its own. It has an added dimension to the flavour quite different to those we get in Europe. Delicious roasted.

  18. FYI, sweet potatoes made it onto the American Diabetes Association list of “Top 10 Super Foods” a couple years ago.

    That being said, I think the ADA in general recommends too many carbs for diabetics.

    -Steve

    The ADA is definitely in the anti-fat camp, but they seem to be slowly turning the ship.

  19. Hey Tom.

    Thanks for the support. Funny, I was well into composing the post I just posted about your Double Down experiment yesterday afternoon when I got wind of this.

    http://freetheanimal.com/2010/04/the-kfc-double-down-is-going-down.html

    Thanks for always keeping it real and directing energy in the right direction.

    Like you, I don’t support Food Police of any kind. The idea is to figure out what works for you, then eat that way most of the time. Your version of a Double Down looks a lot tastier than KFC’s, by the way.

  20. Pumpkin is another root vegetable that does not spike my blood sugar. I love pumpkin mashed, baked, pureed, and sometimes even add it to my smoothies instead of fruit.

    We’re actually growing pumpkins in the garden this year. I’ll probably conduct a test with some mashed pumpkin when they’re ready.

  21. Ned Kock says:

    Thanks for sharing Tom, and I agree with you regarding strict paleo.

    I think that the glycemic load of foods is a much better measure of their likely effect on glucose levels than the glycemic index. By the way, there is a huge gap between glycemic loads of refined and unrefined carbohydrate-rich foods:

    http://healthcorrelator.blogspot.com/2010/04/huge-gap-between-glycemic-loads-of.html

    I am reading a paper now that is fascinating. Very mathematical, but fascinating. It shows a strong association between longevity and patterns of average blood glucose variations over time. (Average blood glucose levels naturally go up as we age.) I hope to be able to post on this soon.

    Quite a gap there between refined and unrefined carbs. Let me know you when you post about longevity and glood glucose. I’d like to read it, and I’m sure others would as well.

  22. Anna says:

    “People are becoming fat and diabetic because carbs dominate our diets, especially refined carbs. ” Good post Tom, but this comment is not backed up by the facts. Many people have eaten high-carb diets for millenia without becoming fat and diabetic (and in the early 1900s-1970s diets high in refined carbs without epidemic obesity and diabetes). What has changed? Increased PUFA, decreased saturated fats and high levels of HFCS, plus things like everyone going on diets and stress levels rising, GMO foods. To me, any of those are far more likely to be culprits.

    We didn’t live on anything close to zero-carb diets in previous generations, but our overall carb consumption has gone up, and our consumption of refined carbs — especially sugar and HFCS — has gone way up. In the past 100 years, per capita consumption of sugar has gone from something like 4 pounds per year to 150. The PUFAs didn’t help any, either.

  23. Trish says:

    Unless you’re going into the back yard and killing deer for your dinner there is nothing we eat that was around at the time of our paleo buds running around, so the “purity” of the whole thing is in question anyway. If you can eat a potato without gaining five pounds or blowing out your glucometer more power to you. Outside of mashed Yukon gold potatoes at Thanksgiving or a bowl of pommes frites at Les Halles in New York once a year potatoes don’t figure a lot into my diet anyway so I’m not going to sweat it. I figure if I’m going to eat something “off” I’ll eat the best example of it I can.

    That’s why I figure the best we can do is eat something approximating paleo foods and avoid anything that causes blood-sugar spikes, which is an individual thing.

  24. gallier2 says:

    I can contribute a little experiment I did the last two weeks. I eat mainly low carb but am not really strict about it, normally I eat very few potatoes and avoid wheat in big quantities. I tried last week-end a big meal with a huge quantity of french fries (made myself in beef tallow) with meat, I had ketchup with it (so a lot of sugar) and had ice as dessert (more sugar). I had no problems except the strange sensation in the head (which was probably due to the high glucose) but nothing else of symptoms. By weighing the day after I had gained 1 kilo but that was only the water bound by glycogen, the rest of the week that weight fell off again without a problem.

    The this week end I tried the same experiment but with wheat. So I ate pasta (with a fantastic home made sauce), ate bread, and a little slice of cake. I had the same sensation of high glucose in the head, but the evening was really quite different, heartburn all night, diarrhoae, had to go 3 times, sh.. the guts out of me, horrible.
    Conclusion: while the glycemic load of potatoes is something to consider, it has nothing whatsoever to do with the effects of wheat.
    Just a little anecdote

    It’s anecdotal, but matches my experience as well. There’s something about wheat that upsets my system beyond the carbohydrate load.

  25. Mojo Yugen says:

    Bless me father, for I have sinned. I have partaken in the eating of the forbidden tuber that is so hideous in eyes of God that He hid it beneath the earth, down near the realm of the Devil. I have tasted its white, carbohydrate-filled interior, usually with some butter and sour cream, and it was good. What is my penance father? How can I be forgiven in His eyes, or at least in the eyes of His fanatical followers here on Earth?

    Three Hail Marys, four Our Fathers, and a grass-fed steak. Go and sin no more.

  26. Verimius says:

    Hi,

    Sweet potatoes are native to the Americas, so would not have been part of the pre-agricultural human diet. White potatoes are also a New World plant, and were unknown in Europe, Africa, and Asia before Columbus.

    Yams are found in Africa and Asia, and have been cultivated for about 8000 years according to Wikipedia. African yams must be cooked before being eaten.

    Yams and sweet potatoes are different species.

    –Verimius

  27. D says:

    Tom, a good alternative to potatoes is rutabagas. Yes, I know, some people hate the taste. The first time I had rutabagas, they were way over-cooked, and had a nasty, sulfur taste. But then I learned that you can actually cook them so that they taste good. I’ll put them in a pot of soup or stew, but put them in last, and let them cook until just barely fork tender. I’ve had people eat the soup or stew and think they are actually eating potatoes. I also cut them in a small dice and brown them in a little olive oil and butter, cooked slowly. This brings out a sweet taste, and again, it’s hard to distinguish them from potatoes. This also works with turnips. As long as they aren’t overcooked, they are very good. The fried rutabagas or turnips are great with eggs & bacon, or folded into an omelet. And, as weird as it might sound, you can slice and fry radishes, and they are very good. Buy the really big ones, they are easier to slice. I do love sweet potatoes, but wonder why anybody thinks they need sugar and marshmallows to make them taste good? Just roasted in the oven, and served with a pat of butter, and what could be better?

    Marshmallows? Sheesh. They’re sweet enough as it is. I don’t believe I’ve ever tried rutabages, but I’ll put them on the grocery list.

  28. Deborah says:

    Tom, that is a really interesting experiment you did and it certainly bears out my personal experiences with sweet potatoes vs other carbs.

    I’ve never measured my glucose, but once I started to eat low-carb, I found very quickly that I have a recognizable physical reaction to eating carbs – ie they make me hungry (obviously they made me hungry before too, which is why I ate all the time, but now the sensation is isolated as I eat them much more rarely).

    Anyway, nowadays, I am strictly low-carb except for random special occasions, but those don’t happen often – ie other than maybe once every few months, I am strictly low-carb – no bread, no pasta, no rice, no sugar, etc. But I *have* found that I can tolerate sweet potatoes as part of a meal without experiencing the carb craving ‘rush’ I would get if I ate other carbs. Eg, last week our weekend (shabbat) dinner consisted of coconut chicken soup (recipe from “Eat Fat, Lose Fat” and totally delicious), roast chicken, zucchini tagliatelle with spicy tomato sauce, and roast root vegetables – cubes of beets, sweet potato, carrot and onion. And a small helping of those roast veg were totally fine for me – I didn’t feel the need to eat more and more of them, and they didn’t send me diving into the bread basket. Which for me, is the equivalent of measuring on the actual glucose meter – whether the food sets off carb cravings or not. No question if I’d had the equivalent amount of regular potato I would have been unable to stop/would have had to quash my craving/hunger and endure the rest of the day feeling hollow and hungry.

    Anyway, another way to enjoy sweet potato – make ‘tagliatelle’ out of them, using a vegetable peeler, and then fry in schmaltz/palm shortening/other saturated fats good for frying. Fry till just going brown, take out and sprinkle with salt. Unbelievably delicious, and because you’re balancing with plenty of fat and the way you cook it means you don’t eat too much of it (have the fries added to salad, or as a side dish with protein) again it’s not a big spike in anything and not many carbs.

    I didn’t mention it in my post, but I also found that a sweet potato didn’t drive up my appetite, which white potatoes do. That’s most likely because there wasn’t much of a blood sugar spike.

  29. Rishara says:

    I completely agree with you that what we put into our mouths has to be highly personalized. I’m diabetic and can eat white potatoes, onions and tomatoes without much of an impact on my blood sugar (as long as I eat a reasonable portion), yet a small amount of peanuts or whey protein powder (1g carb per scoop) sends my blood sugar sky-rocketing… Sometimes I get frustrated because there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it!

    Indeed, that’s why you have to test for yourself. Going strictly by carb count, pasta shouldn’t send my blood sugar skyrocketing, but it does.

  30. Don Matesz says:

    HI Tom,

    Thanks for linking to my blog. Glad your sweet potato experiment went well.

    Happy to link to it. Great work on the series.
    Tom

  31. Dianne says:

    I had a small yam with ghee. Sent my blood sugar to 167. Bummer.

    That’s why you have to check your own reactions.

  32. Willa Jean says:

    I’m pretty sure that potatoes are paleo if your birth language is Nahuatl.

    I get so tired of “personal behavior police” of all persuasions. I love potatoes. I’d eat them every day if I could. I can’t. So I don’t. If Richard can and if he wants to, more power to him. If he changes his mind in a couple of years, well, good on him for that, too. It’s his life.

    I envy you your yams. I think I’ll run out and get a Double Down for supper.

    And Richard is smart enough to back off the potatoes if they cause weight gain or blood-sugar issues.

  33. Noelie says:

    It makes total sense that some folks that haven’t damaged their systems as I have can add some foods like potatoes back into their diet.

    I will probably never personally be able to eat anything other than leafy greens the rest of my life, but there is no way I would tell everyone that they should do such a thing too. I am firmly of the belief that sugar is not good for any of us, but I am talking table sugar and not some plants foods, that others plainly can eat far better than I can

    My great-grandfather, who was a farmer, could eat his potatoes well into his 90′s. Of course his whole life had been fresh raw dairy, meat and other items and not just the potatoes and not a lot of sugar. That is the difference at least between us, and I am of his genetic line.

    I think that’s the key: have you damaged your metabolism with sugar and refined carbs? If so, carbs that might otherwise be okay start to become problematic. White potatoes elevate my blood sugar for hours, which probably wasn’t the case when I was a kid.

  34. Walter Bushell says:

    One question, why would anyone eat bread, or pasta when there are sweet potatoes? Sweet potatoes are even cheaper, and even the hardest pressed “nutritionist” would be hard pressed to favor even the least refined loaf over sweat potatoes if forced to a choice.

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