Are potatoes healthier than rice?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Are potatoes healthier than rice?” and discuss the nutritional properties of rice and potatoes and what makes rice or potatoes to be considered a healthier choice. 

Are potatoes healthier than rice? 

Yes, potatoes are healthier than rice, when cooked potatoes are compared to cooked white rice. While both potatoes and rice are healthy additions to your diet, potatoes are more nutritious than white rice as long as they are not deep fried (1).

On the other hand, deep fried potatoes are less healthy than brown rice, as brown rice contains many vitamins and fibers. There are many aspects to consider when deciding which carbohydrate source is healthier. These aspects will be discussed in the following sections of this article.

What factors determine when potatoes are considered healthier than rice?

The factors that determine when potatoes are considered healthier than rice are the cooking method for potatoes and the type of rice. The cooking method has a great influence on the nutritional properties of the food. 

The table below presents the nutritional profile of potatoes prepared by different cooking methods and for cooked brown and white rice. It is noticeable that the nutrients vary significantly (2,3,4):

Food Baked potatoes with skinBoiled potatoes without skinFrench friesCooked white riceCooked brown rice
Calories93 87172130122
Water75 77616870
Proteins2.50 1.872.662.382.73

Comparing the values in the table above, it is clear that both the type of rice and cooking method chosen to prepare potatoes can affect the nutritional properties of the carbohydrate choice

While both types of rice contain higher amounts of calories and carbohydrates than baked and boiled potatoes, they are less energetic and contain less fats than french fries. 

In addition, baked potatoes without skin have the least amounts of fibers and less proteins among all options in the table. When potatoes are fried, a high amount of fat is added to the food. 

As a result, fried potatoes are classified under the unhealthy foods consumed and their consumption is related to higher incidence of obesity in the population (1).

How can potatoes and rice be healthy? 

Potatoes and rice can be healthy when baked or cooked with no addition of fats, and consumed whole, that means, when potatoes are eaten with the skin and brown rice is eaten without polishing (2,3). 

Potato skin is a source of fibers and many varieties of potatoes have pigments in the skin. These pigments are anthocyanins and carotenoids with potent antioxidant properties and other positive effects on health. Potatoes skin also contains potassium.

However, the skin should be removed when it is green. Green potato skin appears when potatoes are exposed to sunlight. The skin turns green due to the production of chlorophyll and contains glycoalkaloids, which can be toxic.  

Boiling the potatoes to be consumed on the next day can reduce their glycemic index. A study showed that while the glycemic index of fresh boiled potatoes was 89, their glycemic index was reduced to 56 when stored for 24 hours in the refrigerator. 

The storage of boiled potatoes lead to the retrogradation of the starch, transforming it into a type of resistant starch. Low glycemic index foods are associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes, obesity and other metabolic diseases.  

Rice can be considered a healthy choice when brown rice is consumed. Brown rice contains more vitamins, fibers and minerals than white rice (non-fortified) (5).   

A study showed that, while the consumption of high amounts of white rice is related to higher rates of diabetes among Asians, the consumption of brown rice was considered to reduce the risks of diabetes in western populations.

Another study showed that the consumption of vegetables and brown rice was positively correlated to a lower risk of obesity in the population when compared to the consumption of meat, fried potatoes and cheese.

Other FAQs about Potatoes that you may be interested in.

Can you eat moldy potatoes?

Is sweet potato bad for you?

How to store potatoes in the fridge?


In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “Are potatoes healthier than rice?” and discussed the nutritional properties of rice and potatoes and what makes rice or potatoes to be considered a healthier choice.


  1. Shaikh RA, Siahpush M, Singh GK, Tibbits M. Socioeconomic Status, Smoking, Alcohol use, Physical Activity, and Dietary Behavior as Determinants of Obesity and Body Mass Index in the United States: Findings from the National Health Interview Survey. Int J MCH AIDS. 2015, 4, 22-34. 
  2. Camire, Mary Ellen, Stan Kubow, and Danielle J. Donnelly. Potatoes and human health. Critical rev food sci nutr, 2009, 49, 823-840. 
  3. USDA Food central data. Cooked white rice
  4. USDA Food central data. Cooked brown rice
  5. Mohan V, Unnikrishnan R, Shobana S, Malavika M, Anjana RM, Sudha V. Are excess carbohydrates the main link to diabetes & its complications in Asians? Indian J Med Res, 2018, 148, 531-538

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