Can you get sick from eating a raw potato?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you get sick from eating a raw potato” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not you can get sick from eating raw potatoes. Moreover, we are going to discuss the nutritional value of potatoes and the difference between the nutritional and flavor profile of raw and cooked potatoes.

Can you get sick from eating a raw potato?

Eating raw potatoes is not something that is mainstream. No doubt that raw potatoes have a lot of benefits but the consumption of raw potatoes has been linked with concerns related to safety and nutritional value.

Due to the glycoalkaloids and antinutrients, consumption of raw potatoes in a large amount can cause serious health implications.

Glycoalkaloids 

Raw potatoes contain two types of glycoalkaloids which are solanine and chaconine. Thus, if the potatoes are consumed raw in a large amount then it can even lead to glycoalkaloid toxicity which is characterized by drowsiness, itchiness, increased sensitivity, and digestive issues.

Solanine can also result in nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and in severe cases, it can even result in death.

Cooking or baking can reduce the amount of these glycoalkaloids to a great extent. Moreover, as the amount of glycoalkaloids is greater in the green potatoes therefore you should avoid eating the green potatoes.

Antinutrients

Moreover, potatoes contain many antinutrients trypsin inhibitors, and lectins that can interfere with the absorption of nutrients in the body.

Cooking can reduce the amount of these anti-nutrients in the potatoes. A test-tube study even showed that cooking was able to inactivate one type of trypsin inhibitor completely while it was able to partially inactivate the other.

Another study suggested that cooking potatoes destroyed 50-60% of the lecithin content of the potatoes.

Contaminants

Raw potatoes can also contract bacteria and contaminants from the soil that can otherwise be killed easily during cooking but in case the potatoes are eaten raw then they can increase the risk of food-borne illnesses. 

You can read more about solanine poisoning here.

Raw vs. cooked potatoes

Raw potatoes have an unpalatable taste and their taste is inclined towards a bitter one. Moreover, they have a starchy taste that is very unappealing and that is the very reason that people prefer to devour cooked potatoes.

When the potatoes are cooked they undergo a process known as the Maillard’s reaction which is a reaction that takes place between amino acids and the reducing sugars in the presence of heat.

Thus, this Maillard reaction is responsible for the browning of the potatoes as well as they’re the ones responsible for the development of flavor and crispiness of the cooked potatoes.

Moreover, during cooking, certain compounds are formed that are responsible for making cooked potatoes more palatable than their raw counterparts.

Moreover, potatoes provide the body with resistant starch which is the type of starch that does not get digested in the small intestine. Thus, when it does not get digested in the small intestine, it goes to the large intestine where it feeds the beneficial gut bacteria.

Raw potatoes have about  47 to 59% of their dry mass made up of resistant starch while 2-4% resistant starch is present in cooked potatoes. 

Last but not least when it comes to vitamin C, then raw potatoes contain more vitamin C than cooked ones as high temperature destroys vitamin C so some amount of vitamin C gets lost during the cooking.

Raw potatoes have about double the amount of vitamin C per gram than the baked potatoes.

Nutritional value of potatoes

A medium-sized (173 grams) baked potato provides 161 calories. It has 0.2 grams of fat, 4.3 grams of protein, and 36.6 grams of carbohydrates. Moreover, it contains about 3.8 grams of dietary fiber.

Potato is also rich in many micronutrients and is a good source of various vitamins and minerals. It is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, niacin, and folate. 

It is also rich in antioxidants and owing to its nutritional value, potato provides many benefits including improving digestive health, or being gluten-free can be used even by people with gluten allergy. Moreover, they are quite filling and can be used in a variety of ways.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you get sick from eating a raw potato” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not you can get sick from eating raw potatoes. Moreover, we discussed the nutritional value of potatoes and the difference between the nutritional and flavor profile of raw and cooked potatoes.

Citations

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/raw-potatoes

https://askinglot.com/what-happens-when-you-eat-raw-potato

https://www.myrecipes.com/healthy-diet/is-it-safe-to-eat-raw-potatoes#:~:text=The%20main%20source%20of%20concern,even%20death%20in%20extreme%20cases.

https://www.livestrong.com/article/523041-the-risks-of-eating-raw-potatoes/

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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