Can you eat potatoes on a keto diet?

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If you’re new to the keto diet, you might feel a little bit swamped and overwhelmed with the rules and restrictions that come with this lifestyle change. 

Of course, one of the biggest questions is: What can and cannot be eaten? 

If you’ve come this far, you should already be aware that the primary focus of the keto diet is to drastically reduce carbs intake.

However, there needs to be some clarification about what items you should avoid, such as potatoes. 

So this raises the question: Can you eat potatoes on a keto diet?

No, you cannot eat potatoes on the keto diet. But we won’t leave it there. 

Throughout this guide, we will examine why you shouldn’t eat potatoes on a keto diet and what you can eat instead to make adapting easier and more enjoyable. 

Are Potatoes Keto-Friendly?

Potatoes should be avoided because of their high carbohydrate content, which will hamper your keto diet and make it difficult to lose weight, which I shall discuss in more detail momentarily.

In fact, one of the foods with the most carbs is a potato, even more than foods such as white bread, which is quite hard to get your head around when you consider the bad reputation of white bread and the fact that potatoes are a vegetable. It’s astonishing when you think about it.

This astounding truth suggests that eating a potato causes your blood sugar to increase more than eating a lovely sandwich would. 

How Many Carbs Are There in Potatoes?

The amount of carbs in potatoes can vary depending on your eating style and the portion size. 

The following list will give you a broader idea of how many carbs there are in different kinds of potatoes. 

  • Small Baking Potato – 29g 
  • Medium Russet Potato – 38g
  • Medium Red Potato – 33g
  • Small Roast Potato – 22g
  • Baked Sweet Potato – 38g
  • Hash Brown – 19g
  • Cup of French Fries – 17g

Are Sweet Potatoes Better Than White Potatoes?

sweet potato on keto

Although you’re better off avoiding eating potatoes on a keto diet, if this seems like too much of a battle, you could try swapping out white potatoes for the occasional sweet potato. 

While still relatively high in carbohydrates, sweet potatoes are slightly better for you than white potatoes. 

This is mainly because they contain more vitamins and minerals and less starch. 

If you do opt to treat yourself to a sweet potato here and there, it’s much better to boil them rather than bake them. A baked sweet potato releases a high volume of sugar, or maltose, which increases the carb load. 

Substituting Potatoes

So, you’ve begun your keto journey and are struggling without the starchy goodness of a fluffy potato or missing a creamy lump of mashed potatoes on your plate. In that case, you’ll be pleased to hear that there are some great alternatives that can almost replicate the humble spud. Let’s check them out. 


Celeriac on keto

Celeriac, also known as celery root, is an excellent alternative to potatoes on a keto diet, and there are tons you can do with this mysterious-looking vegetable

Not only is this unusual vegetable extremely versatile, but it also has many health benefits. It’s rich in dietary fiber and contains vitamins such as B and B6, C, E, and K, and is also full of potassium and phosphorus. 

Celery root is also reported to improve heart health and strengthen bones. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. 

Celeriac can be roasted, baked, fried, boiled, or mashed, and you can season it with whatever you like to suit your taste. It’s a great accompaniment to any dish. 


Turnips on keto

Turnips are pretty similar to celery root in terms of being rich in vitamins and antioxidants. They contain minerals such as iron, calcium, and vitamin C. It’s also highly versatile and can be cooked in many different ways. For example, try boiling it and mashing it with salt, pepper, and olive oil for a delicious alternative to mashed potatoes. 


zucchini on keto

Zucchini is a great low-carb vegetable that can be used to replace potatoes in your keto diet. This mild squash vegetable can be spiralized into pasta or fried in oil to substitute french fries. 

There are just 2g of carbs in 100g of zucchini, so feel free to load your plate up with plenty of these. 

Check out this delicious taco-bit zucchini recipe


Jicama on keto

Many people might not be familiar with this root vegetable, and that’s because it’s not readily available in a lot of places around the world or is not commonly sold. 

Jicama is an apple-like vegetable in texture, but it’s not as sweet. It looks slightly like a turnip, with textured brown skin and white flesh. 

Many people on keto use jicama instead of french fries, but it’s also great for dishes such as stir-fries, curries, and salads. 


Cauliflower on keto

You might think of cauliflower as a simple vegetable you’d boil for a roast dinner or throw into a cauliflower cheese. However, this adaptable brassica can actually enhance meals in many other adventurous ways. 

For example, they can be fried like wings, grated to replace rice, or roasted and caramelized to replicate the popular roast potato. 

Don’t forget the leaves too. Many people toss them out, but the greens of this nutty vegetable taste fantastic when drizzled with olive oil and salt before gently roasting. 


Carrots on keto

Carrots are a commonly eaten vegetable; depending on how you prepare and cook them, they can make a splendid substitute for potatoes. You can boil them, put them into a salad, mash them up with salt and pepper, or dice them and mix them with peas and corn. 


Eggplant on keto

Eggplant is another versatile vegetable that can be used to replace potatoes. They can be eaten raw, too, so they don’t even take much preparation if you’re in a hurry. 

However, they can be roasted, sauteed, fried, or grilled if you wish to cook them. 

They’re also packed with essential vitamins such as B1, B6, and C. And the best part is that one cup of eggplant contains just 20 calories. 


Radishes on keto

If you’re looking for potato substitutes, radish is another great choice. Not only are they exceptionally tasty, with a fiery pepper flavor, but they’re also vibrant and come in a range of colors that can really brighten up any plate of food, making any keto dish even more appealing. 

Radishes are also full of antioxidants; they boost weight loss, lower stress levels, and decrease urinary and kidney conditions. 

One great way to incorporate radishes into your dinner is to roast them with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. 


Rutabaga on keto

If you have rutabaga available to you, it can make an excellent alternative to potatoes on a keto diet. 

Rutabaga, also known as swede, is slightly sweet in flavor, with purple skin and a similar appearance to a turnip. This is understandable, as they were initially cultivated by cross-pollinating turnips with cabbages. 

These ugly-looking root vegetables are a great addition to a keto diet because of their low-calorie content and nutritional value. They are packed with fiber and vitamin C and only contain around 12g of carbohydrates per cup. 

The easiest and healthiest way to cook rutabaga is to boil them in a bit of salt water; you can then eat them as they are or mash them. You could also slice them into sticks and pop them in an air fryer for a unique substitute for fries. 

Benefits of Potatoes

Although potatoes aren’t going to do your keto diet any favors, this doesn’t mean they’re the devil. They actually do have some beneficial factors, which you might want to consider before deciding to cut them out altogether. 

They can help with the following:

  • Blood Pressure
  • Bone Health
  • Inflammation
  • Heart Health
  • Metabolism
  • Immunity
  • Skin Health
  • Weight Loss
  • Digestion
  • Fat Absorption

The Outcome

So, the question we started with, whether or not you can eat potatoes on a keto diet, can be answered in one short sentence. A simple no, they cannot. 

However, it’s important to understand the reasons behind this. The main one is that they are incredibly high in carbohydrates, even higher than foods such as white bread, which is a total no for one of the most healthy weight-loss diets. 

It depends on your personal goals, health levels, and, of course, love for potatoes, which will determine whether skipping out on the spud is the right choice for you.

The Author

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John has been learning about and experimenting with low carbohydrate diets since the around 2006. He has successfully used the keto diet to lose over significant amounts of weight in the past and currently follows a low carb diet for a variety of reasons including general health, weight management, and managing mood levels.

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