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Potatoes & the Paleo Diet

author image Janet Renee, MS, RD
Janet Renee is a clinical dietitian with a special interest in weight management, sports dietetics, medical nutrition therapy and diet trends. She earned her Master of Science in nutrition from the University of Chicago and has contributed to health and wellness magazines, including Prevention, Self, Shape and Cooking Light.
Potatoes & the Paleo Diet
The Paleo diet consists of basic foods such as meat and vegetables. Photo Credit: gkrphoto/iStock/Getty Images

The Paleolithic diet is an eating plan that attempts to mimic what early humans ate. Paleo diet proponents, such as Loren Cordain, claim you can lose weight and reduce your risk of various diseases by avoiding foods that your early ancestors didn't eat. This type of eating plan includes fruits, vegetables, seafood, meats, eggs and healthy oils, but excludes potatoes, which includes sweet potatoes. Proponents believe potatoes were not available in Paleolithic times, and that they are too high in sugar.

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Fresh mashed potatoes.
Fresh mashed potatoes. Photo Credit: bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images

Individuals following a strict Paleo diet avoid potatoes. Some individuals follow a modified Paleo diet, which includes potatoes, while others make modifications to include sweet potatoes, but not white potatoes. So, it's up to you whether or not you feel potatoes fit within your health goals. In the meantime, you can substitute potatoes with plantains, which are allowed on the Paleo diet. Plantains are starchy, but low in sugar, making them a good substitute. It's common to use plantains in place of potatoes in savory dishes. Use plantains in their green, unripe state. As they ripen and become yellow, they become sweet like a banana.

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