Do you think potato as a vegetable or as a carbohydrate?

@sblossom (2170)
September 23, 2009 2:50pm CST
Before I moved to the UK I did not like potato. I can live without it. However I found here in the UK people eat potato a lot. Potato is like bread in British meals. How about you? Do you like potato or not? Do you think potato as a vegetable or as a carbohydrate? Thank you for sharing your ideas.
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23 responses
@owlwings (38073)
• Cambridge, England
23 Sep 09
Potatoes are a vegetable, of course, and they do contain carbohydrate, mostly in the form of starch but with some sugars. They are also a source of fibre, minerals and vitamin C and, to a lesser extent, other vitamins. There is very little if any protein in a potato. Most of the vitamins are contained in the layer directly beneath the skin, so peeling raw potatoes before cooking them (very often the traditional way) removes most of the vitamin content! Provided they are served boiled or roast, potatoes are acceptable in a diabetic diet because the starch grains are largely unbroken and therefore the carbohydrate is slower to be absorbed. Mashing, however, breaks the starch grains and radically changes the way that they are processed by the body. Diabetics should avoid mashed potato. There are many different varieties of potato with different textures, flavours and suitability for certain ways of cooking. Some, like Maris Piper, are ideal for chipping, roasting and mashing, others, like King Edwards, are better boiled (they tend to be less 'floury' and more 'soapy' - in texture NOT in flavour!) Various varieties of potato (Firapple and Charlotte) are best harvested when they are small with thin skins. They have a very delicate flavour and should be served boiled and served either hot (as 'new potatoes') or cold as salad potatoes. Usually such potatoes are served with the skin on. Provided a potato is young and has no green whatsoever on the skin it is theoretically possible to safely eat it raw. Potatoes are members of the Solanum family, however, and usually the green parts of most of this family are poisonous to a greater or lesser extent. Exceptions are the potato (so long as no part of it is green - the potato itself is actually an underground swollen stem), the fruit of the tomato, aubergine [eggpalnt] (again, the fruit of the plant) and bell and chilli peppers. I think of potato as a vegetable, though, for dietary purposes it needs to be treated with the grains as a source of carbohydrate. Even mashed, however, the carbohydrate is as a starch which is not so quickly assimilable as the sugars and it is in a different class from the starches of rice, wheat, corn and other grains as well as the pulses (peas, beans, lentils &c). The typical British diet relies almost completely on meat and cheese for its protein. Wheat flour also contains protein, of course. Fat (from the meat and in butter) and carbohydrate from wheat and root vegetables, including (since the 17th Century) potatoes, supply energy and wheat, potatoes, green vegetables and whole fruits supply vitamins and fibre. The Chinese traditional diet is probably just as well balanced but tends to include more protein, carbohydrate and fibre from rice and other vegetables, less protein from cheese and milk products and, on the whole, less meat than would be found in most modern British diets. In early centuries in Britain, meat was expensive (unless it was home-grown or 'wild') and not used by most people as much as it is today. By contrast, the richer people ate much more meat than we do today. A mediaeval feat might consist of many dishes of different fishes and meats almost exclusively!
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@sblossom (2170)
29 Sep 09
When I started the topic I did not expect so wonderful response. The topic came across to me by accident. I watched a TV program and it was taling potato as a vegetable. I was a little suprised to hear potato as a vegetable. In my dictionary it was not fruit, but not vegetable either. So I thought why not start a discussion to see what other think? your answer is really informative and I really appreciated. So it worth the best response. happy mylotting and best regards.
@owlwings (38073)
• Cambridge, England
29 Sep 09
Thanks for your 'BR', sblossom. When I think about it, a Chinese 'banquet' (as served in good Chinese restaurants in England) may contain 12 or more dishes, most of which actually contain quite a lot of meat. I think that, in China, much more emphasis is put on flavour (and balance) than it is in English cooking. What is called 'British Traditional Cooking' really describes what the workers eat, not what the 'gentry' have traditionally eaten, which very often includes dishes from other cultures and invariably contains more meat. I'm sure that just the same division happens in China: there are common, 'traditional' dishes which use a different combination of sauces and flavourings simply because they are quick to prepare (when everyone in the household is working) or they can be prepared and be reheated later or eaten cold. In England we don't have the culture of 'quick cooking' (that is, food prepared so that it will cook in minutes in a wok or something similar). This is something that we have learned (or are learning) to our benefit from the interchange of culture. What have we given China in exchange? Nothing, so far as I can see, except the burger in a bun and Coca Cola! ... YUK! The potato, however, is an interesting vegetable (yes, of course, it's a vegetable!). It has long been used in Indian and European dishes ... so much so that it's now a staple in Europe and an essential in many Indian recipes (anything with 'aloo' in the name is almost certain to contain potato). In Thailand and further East, I think that the potato is regarded as an 'exotic' (and not a very interesting one, at that). Perhaps it is used in the Philippines more than it is elsewhere East of India but only because the Philippines have a much closer association with Western culture than much of the Far East. It's worth remembering that the potato (and the tomato) only arrived in Europe in the 16th Century (1536, in the case of the potato) but proved itself so easy to grow and so able to cheaply replace the other starches in our diet that it has almost taken over our menus! In China you do, of course, have your root vegetables, as we do here: the earliest and most traditional of ours are parnips, carrots and maybe beetroot. In China one finds more 'stem' vegetables (perhaps) used in cookery than the parts of the plant that grow underground as roots (technically, the potato is a swollen stem rather than a root, as carrot, parsnip, beetroot and mooli are). This, I think, is one of the main differences in our cookery cultures. In many parts of the world there was (and still is) a resistance to 'root' vegetables because (since they grow underground) they 'belong to the devil'! My feeling about Chinese [cookery] culture is that it is more resistant to 'new' ingredients than, for example, Indian or more 'Western' cookery. This may be because China was tradtionally at the end of the overland trade route and that people along the route were more exposed to (and needed to cater for) the tastes of other cultures. This was, of course, long before potatoes arrived from the New World but it's noticeable that Chinese recipes tend to have been influenced less by ingredients and techniques from the West than other recipes from along the Silk Road have been influenced by the cultures that travelled it.
@owlwings (38073)
• Cambridge, England
29 Sep 09
I meant to add, by the way, that China is actually the world's largest grower of potatoes - whether the Chinese eat them much or not! Presumably, they are a big export crop :)
@malpoa (1218)
• India
24 Sep 09
I like potatoes. There are a lot of things you can make with potato, as a snack, a meal in itself, a dessert of it, a side dish or even as just one of the ingridients in an elaborate non veg dish.. Potato comes to my recue on a lazy day as it is easy to make and everybody in my home likes it. I think potato is a vegetable rich in carbohydrate. It wasnt actually a native veg here in Indai. It was brought by potuguese when they came to India and slowly it spreaded to the whole of India. Now it is lavishly used in all states and in most dishes across the country. It was basically known as the food of poor as it was very cheap. But now its price rose to half a dollar, previously it was less than 20cents. Adding potato in non veg dishes like chicken or mutton curry, enhances the taste of the curry. Also a biryani isnt complete if there isnt any potato in it. I have a cousin who used to eat only potatoes and rice three times a day. No other vegetables or non veg!!!
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@owlwings (38073)
• Cambridge, England
29 Sep 09
Potato and rice will actually give you most of the different starches you need and probably adequate protein (to be picky, I might add pulses - beans, lentils or peas - to the diet). A sag aloo (spinach and potato cooked with spices) and a dhal with rice and, maybe, some fruit as dessert would be a very adequate diet!
@malpoa (1218)
• India
30 Sep 09
I am not a saag person except for the lal saag and methi saag. I have never eaten aloo sag, have to give it a try. I thought rice and potato was all about carbohydrate!! and you mentioned protein, may be very less in percentage?
@owlwings (38073)
• Cambridge, England
19 Oct 09
Malpoa, potatoes are, it is true, mostly carbohydrate (though if you don't peel them, the part just under the skin has good vitamin C content). Rice has protein, like most grains do, and that is why is is s very good staple - many people survive on rice alone if they have to. The potato and the tomato are so important now in Indian cooking (and Italian and that of many other cultures too) that it's hard to remember that both of them only found their way to Europe (and thence to the East) only about 500 years ago. I think that many Indian - and other - dishes would have been very different before the arrival of the tomato.
@coolcat123 (4392)
• India
11 Oct 09
i love potatoes and eat it almost every day, its a very common and the cheapest vegetable here too. So, i eat potato as a vegetable and never think of the carbohydrate content of it.
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@sblossom (2170)
19 Oct 09
here in the UK potato is cheaper compard to other vegetables. there are many varieties of potatoes to choose at market. to me I can not figure out the difference. my husband always tried to tell me which one is for roast, which one is for mash, etc, I heared but i forgot it soon. so when we are in supermarket he's always take responsible to choose potatoes, I have mashroom at the time. best regards and happy mylotting.
12 Nov 09
I use it as a thickener in stews... which I wouldn't use other vegetables for I suppose. But it is perhaps surprising how the flavour of the potato varies according to the potato variety (King Edwards, Maris Piper, Desiree, and so on). My favourite is the Maris Piper. It has a great texture and flavour for roast potatoes, and for mashed potatoes. But when I use them to thicken stews, it is better to use a variety that breaks up more easily. So I tend to use potatoes labelled as Jackets for that, but they don't seem to say what variety they are always in the supermarkets. I do love a jacket potato. I always try to avoid cutting of the skin, even when I boil them, as a lot of flavour and goodness is in the skin. So when I have a jacket or a roast potato, I tend to think of them as a vegetable. But as a thickener it is an alternative to using maize flour, and it is more of a carbohydrate then.
@sblossom (2170)
12 Nov 09
first welcome to mylot big community and i wish you can find it's fun and interesting. wish you can make some progress here as well as know more friends. it's shame i can not figure out the varities of potatoes in supermarket. i just notice there are huge choices of shopping of pototoes. i'm also surprised you even not cut the skin when you boil them. I always peel the skin when i have roast potato. although i hate peeling it. thanks for your reply and happy mylotting.if you have any question you can ask me here. as you can see I'm a member who already has 9 stars.
12 Nov 09
Thanks for the prompt reply! No wonder you are a multi-starred user!I see from the Potato Council's website that the usual varieties recommended for jackets are Estima (which I have definitely heard of) and Marfona (which I have never heard of). Not sure if my local supermarket follows the recommendations of the Potato Council, but I see that Maris Piper and King Edwards are amongst those they recommend for chip-making, probably because they have a firmer texture and make chips that don't break up. Of course, making a good roast potato is an art in itself,it is best to boil them first,then it comes down to getting the roasting temperature right, and the basting in the oil. Lovely!
@sblossom (2170)
12 Nov 09
I think I should write down the names you mentioned and checked it on my local supermarket. I don't know how can people do chips at home? I mean the one we can buy from a shop of fish & chips, or something like fried french chips. it was very funny. I heard fried french chips long time ago, but just when i visit York last month I tried it. the fried french chips are lot thinner than british chips. which one do you pefer? best regards.
@yugasini (12814)
• Anantapur, India
24 Sep 09
hi sblossom, I do like potato,but we use it for curry purpose for meals and side dish for poori or chapathi and for even dosa also,i prefer when ever i visit a hotel for breakfast,if i order for poori or dosa most of the hotels will supply with potato kurma with that,it is a delicious side dish for us,have a nice day
@sblossom (2170)
29 Sep 09
I have tried a few times of Indian food, but I never came across potatoes. so before I read your reply I thought Indian people did not eat potatoes, or less eat them. Now I found I'm wrong. I don't know much about Indian food.Here in the UK I have a lot of chance to eat Indian food, there are many indian food on supermarkte. I also have a friend she's Indian. when we visit her she cooked a delicious Indian meal for me and my husband. the meal was really impressive.
@owlwings (38073)
• Cambridge, England
29 Sep 09
Yes, Indian cooking very often uses potato and, even more, tomato ... both of which only arrived from the Americas barely 500 years ago! I think that many Indian 'traditional' recipes must have been very different before tomatoes arrived in India!
@yugasini (12814)
• Anantapur, India
30 Sep 09
hi owlwings, thanks for the response,really you have taken more effort in giving detailed information about potato,i think you have done research on this subject,have a nice day
@marguicha (80321)
• Chile
13 Oct 09
Potatoes are, both a vegetable and a source of carbohidrates. The same thing happens with beets and other veggies. I love potatoes and know a lot of ways to use them from apetizers to desserts. Unlike many sources of carbohidrates, potatoes can be cooked in so many ways that I feel it´s a wonderful food. There are also several types of potatoes that serve different purposes. In my kitchen, they are the kind of food I have to have. Take care!
@sblossom (2170)
19 Oct 09
it's my first time to hear people can use potatoes to do desserts. I have never seen or tried any potato dessert yet. I suppose it would be very special. we also have potato in our kitchen. My husband loves potatoes. so when it's his turn to cook he use potato. I never use potato when I cook. when he comes home I would ask him if he knows potato desserts, maybe we can try one. thanks for your reply and happy mylotting.
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• United States
12 Nov 09
We love potatoe bread too!
@max1950 (2313)
• United States
23 Sep 09
i used to think of them as a veggie then when i turned 45 or so and my metabolism slowed i looked at them as carbs, all i know is now if i eat them ( and i do love potatoes) my waist gets alittle larger.
@sblossom (2170)
25 Sep 09
At least in your life I had a time to think potato was a vegetable. In my life I never think it is a vegetable. How can you connect the round ball with green vegetable? By the way I heard a different voice about potato. Some report said in fact potato can help people losing weight. So maybe it’s not potato that made your waist getting biger.maybe something else with potato did it.thanks and happymylotting.
@max1950 (2313)
• United States
25 Sep 09
well potatoes are carbs aka starch, carbs turn to sugar, sugar turns to fat so it cant be the fish, i dont do soda or sugar cut all fat off of meats and no pasta, just gettin old -er i guess.
@sblossom (2170)
18 Oct 09
How are you? sorry just read your reply. it's very interesting to read your explaination. it's easy to understand. if you don't say like this i would not realize it. now in my life i can almost have potato every day. if one day my husband has no potato he will feel something lost in his life. luckily there are many varieties of potatoes so we can cook many styles for change. best regards.
@Hatley (157679)
• Garden Grove, California
25 Sep 09
sblossom well us diabetics have to think of potatoes as both'carb and vegetables. and we have to count the carbs in how much potato that we eat. really an ordinary medium sized potato is pretty low in calories compared to other things, and it does have nutritional value too with some vitamins and minerals in them so you can eat them if you just count the carbs. we just have to stay within a certain number of carb per meal and per day.
@owlwings (38073)
• Cambridge, England
29 Sep 09
As a diabetic, Hatley, you are probably aware of 'resistant starches' - those which don't convert so easily or quickly into glucose. It's interesting to note that older potatoes, especially when mashed, have broken starch granules which convert easily and quickly to glucose. Newer potatoes and those which are boiled or roasted and eaten whole (or sliced) are less likely to be dangerous to diabetics. (My daughter is Type 1 and I learned this from her). You may already know this site. It seems to me to be rather better than the USDA Food Pyramid from the point of view of diabetics: http://www.diabetes.org/food-nutrition-lifestyle/nutrition/meal-planning/diabetes-food-pyramid.jsp
@sblossom (2170)
19 Oct 09
my mother is diabetic, so she does not eat potatoes. however she eats a lot of fruits. Now she is in good situation without seriously controlling her meals. sometimes I wonder do diabetics really need to control their meals. some people i know they do control themselves but their situation is not good, some people they don't control their situation is not worse. one month ago I came to our community surgery to check for diabetical test. luckily i have no probrem with it so far. but as i told you above my mother has it, so i always worry about it. best regards to you.
@dlr297 (5214)
• United States
23 Sep 09
I love potatoes, cooked any way. Mashed, fried, baked....But i do not eat them as much anymore because i am diabetic, and because they are a carb. They turn to sugar in my system.
@owlwings (38073)
• Cambridge, England
23 Sep 09
As a diabetic, you should avoid any 'floury' potatoes and especially mashed (which breaks the starch grains and makes them much more quickly turned to sugars). You should be able to enjoy a certain amount of new potatoes, however - the kind that, when cooked, are more 'soapy' in texture. I actually think that this is the right way to enjoy potatoes - they usually have a much better and delicate flavour. Look for varieties called Firapple or Charlotte (there are many others, but those are two that come to mind!) or, indeed, any that are sold as small 'new potatoes'. Living with diabetes should'nt be a list of denials but an exploration of new and different delights, some of which may have to be enjoyed as 'luxuries' and delights (because you can't have too much of them). I'm sure you know this, anyway! My daughter has Type 1, so I know more about how she controls that with diet and insulin. I know less about Type 2 (except that diet is, perhaps, rather more important and that the body no longer responds properly to insulin, so it's not so easy to deal with sudden excesses of glucose).
@sblossom (2170)
25 Sep 09
yes, as a diabetic you should avoid eating potato. my mother is a diabetic, she totally quit eating potato. as I told before also on my family we eat potato very rarely. the main reason my father does not like it, now my mother could not eat it, so basically they don't buy potatoes. Also I think the best way of eating potato is to roast it, at my family they don't have oven, so I don't bother having no potato when I visit them.
@Hazelrose (2186)
• Philippines
6 Feb 10
Hi sblossom,Potatoes is a good source of carbohydrates and it can be a vegetable too.It can be mixed in some delicious dishes.Happy mylotting!
@sblossom (2170)
6 Feb 10
you are right. potatoes are very flexible to be cooked. today i went to a big farmer market and saw many kinds of potatoes. before in the supermarket i already saw a few and felt surprised, today i saw more. one of which was a blue colour. it totally changed my idea about potatoes. I like potatoes, but I don't want eat them daily. I must have rice during a week to replace potatoes. thanks for your reply and happy mylotting too.
• China
26 Nov 09
Interstingly, I think it depends on the way the patato being cooked. I consider it vegetable when it is cut into thin threads and fried combining with other vegitables such as pepper. But if it is cut into bulks and then boiled then I consider it carbonhydrate like rice. But on the whole I love its taste. It is on my favorate-vegitable list. Unfortunately I can't have it too much once, or I will suffer from the too much acid my stomach produces because of it. Sad......
@sblossom (2170)
26 Nov 09
first thank you very much for your reply. second your answer is really interesting. it's the first time I read about potato is vege or not according to the cut or cooking style. however i do agree with your opinions and i think in some sense you are right. last but not least welcome to mylot and wish you can make more friends here, not to mention to make some extra penny. by the way I accepet your request and thanks being my friend. good night.
• Thailand
13 Nov 09
I think it is a carbohydrate as potatoes hardly give you the vitamins that a normal vegetable does. Though, I really do love potatoes, but consuming them too much is unwise as many researchers have found them to be the cause of cancer so beware to those potatoes chip lovers.
@sblossom (2170)
13 Nov 09
OMG, it's the first time i heard potato can cause cancer. as I know many people think potato is a very healthy food,it can prevent from cancer. anyway I don't eat a lot of patoto. I do eat chips and crisps often. it's not good for me. I need to control my weight and keep me healthier. thanks for your reply and have a good weekend.
@kprofgames (3025)
• United States
12 Nov 09
I think a lot of the use of some vegetbles, yes I consider the potatoe a vegetable, is largely from your back ground. Being of swedish and german we used use potatoes as fillers because we burned a lot of calories was we were growing up on the farm. Potatoes are a carb too, so is corn and green beans. I think that a person who's looking at carbs needs to know what food balance the other out. Now that I'm alittle older and not as active as I was, there is a need to look at what foods are higher in carbs. There are good and bad carbs just like there are good and bad fats in our foods. I think the main key is finding a balance in them.
@sblossom (2170)
12 Nov 09
it's true to find a balance in our diet. my problem is I don't have enough vegetables when i just cook for myself. so i just take easy way to do it for me. however i also think potato is not bread, it's same as other vegetables. my husband consider or i should say in his eyes potato is as important as bread. if he has no potato for three days he said he will miss it, especially british roast chips. thanks for your reply and have a good night.
• Southend-On-Sea, England
30 Oct 09
The potato is the staple vegetable of the UK and most other European countries, and it is largely made up of starch/carbohydrate - dieticians refer to it as 'good carbohydrate'.
@sblossom (2170)
2 Nov 09
I'm glad to meet a new friend here from the UK. I agree with what you said, now I also realised it. I'm surprised to see I changed a lot my opiions about potatoes. Now I like the roast potato more than the steak, or roast beef. I can not believe it before. now my husband at least has three times of potatoes per week, I can have twice weekly. I should control myself on them in case i become potato size. thanks for your reply and have a good day.
@Hatley (157679)
• Garden Grove, California
22 Oct 09
hi sblossom I know, I do not just think, that a potato is both a vegetable and a carbohydrate, all veggies are by the way, and us diabetics must count all carbs.potatoes without all the trimmings are a pretty good low cal bet, but do not add a ton of butter to them. I like potatoes and we here in the US eat potatoes as well as bread with our meals, we are not rice eaters but potato eaters.
@sblossom (2170)
23 Oct 09
If I did not moved to the UK and I would be surprised to hear some people are not rice eater. rice was very important in my meals. I could not live without rice. Now I changed a lot. I can have no rice for one month and no miss it. here we just buy a small bag package of rice, for example 1kg. at my family home they buy 50kg one time. So far i still like potato, however I wish I can have more chance to eat other kind of vegetables. my life needs a change to make me fresh. thanks for your reply and happy mylotting.
@lena12 (15)
• Mauritius
30 Sep 09
Oh my lovely potato, to think that on this glorious day you have a thread all to yourself! Yes, I LOVE potatoes: fried, boiled, mashed, chips,... To me potato is life. To answer the question more appropriately, I'd say carbohydrate. It hardly fits as a veggie and seems more of an energy-giver.
@sblossom (2170)
19 Oct 09
You are the only one to say potato is life. I wonder why? I have a look at your profile and i have no clue why you like or love potato so much? to me potato is just a part of my meals. if nobody cook it for me I have no problem. I can enjoy my rice, noodle or dumplings. without potato I can live well. however if my husband cooks potato I do enjoy it, in particular the roast potato. I don't like boiled potato, when I was a child i had it too much so now i don't like it. best regards and happy mylotting.
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@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
23 Sep 09
Hi sblossom, potatoes are a vegetable and they contain carboydrates. Potatoes are extremely versatile and can be prepared in all manners of ways so are much more interesting than rice. Indeed Irish people used to have to live on a diet of little more than potatoes. They also include vitamins as well as carboydrates, and starch.
@sblossom (2170)
25 Sep 09
I know potatoes have many useful nutrition for us, however before I did not like potato. My father told me when he was child, his family was pool, so they just can afford potato as their main meal. and mainly it was just boiled, so my father was fed up with potato. he feel uncomfortable when he eats potato. so in my family now we rarely eat potato. however after I moved the UK, I have had many choices to eat potato. I like roast potato and chips, but if I don't eat it I will not miss it.
@happy6162 (3011)
• United States
23 Sep 09
I like potato very much I do not think of potatoes as a vegetable. I like to have white or brown gravy on the potatoes. If I eat a baked potato I will put butter and lots of sour cream with salt and pepper on it. There are so many different types of potatoes to choose from and depending of what you choose as to what you put on them.
@sblossom (2170)
23 Sep 09
There are many choices of potatoes too. When I shop in local supermarket I don’t know which one I should choose for my cooking. My husband is potato expert. He chose different potatoes for his cooking. I like roast potato very much. Sometimes the mush potato is also my choice. However I do think in my meals I eat too much potatoes. It’s not good for me. By the way I don’t think potato as a vegetable too. Thank You for your reply and happy mylotting.
@sweetlady10 (3620)
• United States
28 Nov 09
I use potato a lot in our day to day meal. I can survive without potato for more than one day. We just love it! We use it with various kind of vegetables and in lots of recipe. Also we like it alone, a dish all by itself. I think potato as a vegetable, but the most important one!
@babyish13 (228)
• Philippines
11 Oct 09
Both, i guess.