Last Updated on March 21, 2023 by Claire
Can you eat raw potatoes? Well here’s what you should know—yes, you can eat raw potatoes. However, you must do so only in small quantities to protect yourself from some potentially harmful side effects. Raw potatoes are similar to other root vegetables that can be eaten raw with no (or mild) adverse side effects but can be toxic at the same time.
Can you eat raw potatoes?
You can eat raw potatoes. However, raw potatoes contain antinutrients and toxic compounds, such as solanine, which can cause digestive issues if consumed in large quantities.
Raw potatoes generally have a tough, starchy texture that can be difficult to digest. For these reasons, it’s generally recommended to cook potatoes before eating them.
Cooking raw potatoes do help to reduce the levels of antinutrients and toxic compounds, and makes the potatoes easier to digest and more palatable.
Wondering what these might be? Keep on reading to enlighten yourself on all you need to know about eating raw potatoes, and if it’s safe for you to do so.
What happens if you eat raw potatoes?
While fatality is not common, raw potatoes contain a toxic compound known as solanine, which can cause headaches, nausea, diarrhea, and even death in extreme cases. According to the National Library of Medicine, if ingested, raw potatoes may cause poisoning in humans and farm animals.
Although it’s been noted that a tiny percentage of the populace chooses to eat their potatoes raw, nonetheless it’s highly unlikely you’ll be running into others with the same habit any time soon.
There are a few reasons not to eat raw potatoes
Potatoes are tasty and crunchy when they are cooked, steamed, fried, mashed, or even when it plays a supporting role in other recipes.
However, in their raw forms, potatoes have been known to have a bitter and starchy taste, along with a rough mealy texture which makes them unpleasant to eat uncooked.
Problems with digestion
Eating raw potatoes will trigger digestive problems.
This is because raw potatoes contain starchy carbohydrates (also known as resistant starches) that are indigestible in their raw form.
Since the human digestive system isn’t equipped to break down this type of carbohydrate, you might have problems digesting your raw potatoes.
However, it’s worth mentioning that trying to digest starchy carbohydrates will not cause any serious health issues.
Raw potatoes contain compounds like lectin and solanine which can have some unpleasant side effects on the human body when consumed.
Some of which are:
- Stomach upsets
- Diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues.
In general, the consumption of raw potatoes doesn’t really pose a serious threat to your health unless you consume a large amount.
Nonetheless, I wouldn’t take any chances with my health. So the best thing to do is to cook them before eating.
What do raw potatoes taste like?
As mentioned previously, raw potatoes have a “bitter-starchy” taste and an extremely unappealing “chalky-rough” texture to them. The primary reason for this is the presence of solanine in raw potatoes.
Solanine is produced when potatoes are exposed to too much sunlight as opposed to being grown underground.
Most cooking methods will break down and destroy the solanine present in raw potatoes making them safe for consumption.
Benefits of eating raw potatoes
Here are the benefits of eating raw potatoes in small quantities:
According to recent studies, the resistant starches present in raw potatoes have been found to have positive effects on colon cancer patients.
- Lower amounts of carbohydrates and fewer calories
- They don’t increase blood sugar
- Higher amounts of thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin C, and other essential micro and macronutrients than cooked potatoes.
Downsides of eating raw potatoes
- High levels of antinutrient lectin which can be harmful to you (especially in potato peels)
- Increased amounts of fiber and starchy carbohydrates can lead to digestive issues.
- Lower amounts of potassium, protein, and vitamin B6
The best way to consume your potatoes is by cooking, steaming, frying, and mashing them, or even using them as an ingredient in your delicious recipes. Even undercooked potatoes are not very advisable for consumption.
It’s been noted that most cooking methods will break down and destroy all of the ‘lectins’ and ‘solanines’ present in raw potatoes that make them unsuitable for consumption in their raw forms.
Read also: won’t it be shocking if tequila goes bad?
Is it OK to eat raw potatoes??
Unless you want to experience solanine and lectins (two compounds that can cause gastric distress and potentially make you sick), it’s not OK to eat raw potatoes. Nevertheless, there are no real health risks when you eat raw potatoes in small quantities.
Can you eat slightly undercooked potatoes?
Yes, you can eat slightly undercooked potatoes with no problems. However, you need to keep in mind that slightly undercooked potatoes might not taste as nice as properly cooked potatoes or be as easy to digest as they are.
Will eating raw potatoes give you a fever?
Yes, eating raw potatoes can give you a fever. Raw potatoes contain both solanine and lectin which have been known to cause gastrointestinal issues and other symptoms such as headaches, fever, confusion, and others.
While you can go ahead and eat raw potatoes, you need to remember that it’s beneficial to you so far it’s done in moderation.
Eating large quantities of raw potatoes is like asking for trouble, and you’ll get plenty of it. The best thing is to eat your potatoes cooked.