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Beans vs Potatoes – Carbohydrate totals for each

Beans and potatoes are delicious and naturally nutritious foods that many families incorporate into their daily meals. There are a wide variety of beans and potatoes available in supermarkets. They can be found fresh, frozen, canned and dried.

Beans and legumes provide a nutritious source of carbohydrate, as well as protein, fibre, B-group vitamins, iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium. They are also naturally low in fat and sodium. While many people are aware of the benefits of beans, average intakes fall well short of recommendations. The Grains and Legumes Nutrition Council recommends we eat ½ cup or 100g of beans and legumes at least 2-3 times per week. 

Potatoes are also a healthy carbohydrate option when prepared correctly. Potatoes cooked simply and eaten with their skins are low in kilojoules while also being a rich source of vitamin B6, vitamin C and potassium. Potatoes tend to retain more of their nutrition when they are steamed or microwaved. Potatoes that have been cooked and cooled, like in potato salad, have more resistant starch, which is a fibre that helps control blood glucose levels and maintain a healthy gut. Potato chips and other fried options are less preferable and should be enjoyed in moderation. Sweet potatoes and white potatoes are very similar in their nutrition content and are both healthy complex carbohydrates. Eating potatoes can help you reach your daily recommended intake of vegetables, with 1 medium potato being 1 serve of vegetables. 

The carbohydrate content of beans and potatoes varies based on the specific type. The nutrition content of some common varieties is outlined in the table below. Amounts are per 100g.

TYPE OF BEAN / LEGUME

KILOJOULES (kJ)

PROTEIN (G)

FAT (G)

TOTAL CARB.

(G)

DIETARY FIBRE

Butter (Lima)*

355

6.4

0.3

10.2

5.3

Red Kidney*

382

7.9

0.5

9.1

7.2

Chickpea*

499

7.2

2

14

7.6

Navy (Haricot)*

464

8.2

0.7

12.6

8.8

Baked Beans, in tomato sauce

334

4.9

0.3

10.1

4.8

Lentils*

385

7.3

0.5

11.9

4.1

Split Peas*

365

6.6

0.4

9.1

8.3

TYPE OF POTATO

KILOJOULES (kJ)

PROTEIN (G)

FAT (G)

TOTAL CARB.

(G)

DIETARY FIBRE

White skin, peeled, baked

368

3

0

17.4

1.7

White skin, peeled, boiled

267

1.5

0.1

12.6

2.1

Red skin, peeled, baked

364

3.5

0

25.6

2.6

Red skin, peeled, boiled

298

2

0

33.4

2.4

Sweet potato, peeled, baked

357

2.3

0.1

17.2

3.1

Sweet potato, peeled, boiled

315

2

0.1

15.2

2.7

Data has been taken from the FSANZ Australian Food Composition Database.

*Cooked from dry form and drained of cooking liquid.

 

The role of beans, legumes and potatoes in your health 

Adding a variety of beans and legumes to a healthy diet plan can help protect against chronic disease. They have been linked to reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and may help managing body weight.

Legumes are known to help with the management of blood glucose levels and in the prevention of diabetes. Beans are a rich source of complex carbohydrates, which means our bodies digest them more slowly. This can help with prolonged feelings of fullness and assist with the regulation of plasma glucose and insulin levels after meals. Research suggests that the regular consumption of beans as part of a low Glycemic Index (GI) diet can improve blood glucose management in the body and also reduces systolic blood pressure. 

There is conflicting research around the health benefits of potatoes, mostly because the cooking method and what else you consume within the meal can significantly affect its nutrient content. Potato chips that have been fried are high in saturated fat and also sodium. When consumed in this form, potatoes have been linked with obesity, risk of type 2 diabetes and CVD. Potatoes are generally a high GI food as well, so it is a rapidly digested carbohydrate affecting blood glucose levels. However, when cooked simply and incorporated into a low GI diet, potatoes can be helpful for diabetes management. They are also a rich source of vitamins and minerals. Research shows that potatoes cooked simply are more satiating than other carbohydrates like pasta and rice, and may have a role in weight management. When we cook and cool potatoes, like in potato salad or leftovers, some of the carbohydrate is converted into resistant starch, which is a fibre that helps to maintain a healthy digestive tract and blood glucose level.

For more information about healthy food habits, take a look at our infographic Your guide to a healthy balanced diet or How occasional foods fit into a healthy diet.

REFERENCES

 

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