20 September 2018

How many kilojoules are actually in a potato, anyways?

The answer might surprise you...

What do the following delicious foods have in common:

French fries



Yup, that’s right – they’re all made out of potatoes, the world’s best food.

Sadly, potatoes don’t have the best reputation for being that healthy (thanks, low-carb diets!) – and with all the starch involved, you might wonder how many kilojoules are in a potato. Well, let me put your mind at ease: It’s not that bad.

A potato’s kilojoule count of course will depend slightly on the variety and size of your potato. A smaller medium red potato, for example, has 623kJ, according to the USDA, compared to the 702kJ in a medium russet potato.

Of course, nutrition isn’t just about kilojoules. For the curious, here’s what you’ll get in a whole, medium russet potato:

  • Kilojoules: 702
  • Fat: 0.2g (0g sat fat)
  • Carbohydrates: 38g
  • Sodium: 1mg
  • Sugar: 1g
  • Fibre: 3g
  • Protein: 5g

Read more: These stuffed potatoes seem like junk food – but are healthy

Do potatoes deserve their bad rap?

The short version? No. “Potatoes are a rich source of several important micronutrients,” says Nora Minno, a Daily Burn coach and trainer. “One medium potato contains 70% of your daily recommended vitamin C, 30% of your daily recommended Vitamin B-6 and 25% of your daily recommended potassium.”

Also: “Potatoes are one of the most affordable vegetables,” says Torey Armul, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “One study found that potatoes offer more nutrients per penny than other vegetables.”

And yeah, they’re starchy and carby. But Minno says potatoes kind of got a raw deal in the whole low-carb craze.

“While they are considered a starchy vegetable, they also contain protein and fibre which can help slow down the release of glucose into the bloodstream and help avoid blood sugar spikes,” she says. The surprisingly high amount of protein in a potato (5g) makes it “great for those who are looking for plant-based sources of protein”.

Read more: 4 ways eating potatoes can help you lose weight

So how can I make potatoes healthier?

Obviously, some of those potato-based foods I mentioned earlier are not the healthiest (and add on way more kilojoules than just the plain potato). Vandana R Sheth, a certified diabetes educator and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, says she loves baked or oven-roasted “fries” as a way to enjoy the health benefits of potatoes “without a lot of added fat” or kilojoules. And Minno says she personally opts for potatoes instead of toast when looking for a healthier side at a breakfast restaurant.

This article was originally published on 

Image credit: iStock 




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