Is It Safe To Eat Raw Potatoes?

It's likely you haven't seen raw potatoes on the veggie and dip platter at parties. When you're craving a crunchy veggie snack, it's most often carrots or celery that comes to mind instead of slices of uncooked potato. But just because potatoes are often served cooked in a variety of delicious ways, does that mean we can't dine on them raw?

Well, they may not be considered toxic, but consuming uncooked potatoes might have a negative effect on your digestive system. According to My Recipes, raw potatoes contain a resistant starch that our bodies are not able to properly break down. When a potato is cooked, it goes through a gelatin process which helps the molecules of the resistant starch break down. Which is why that side order of french fries, or loaded baked potato is easier to digest. What kind of digestive issues? LiveStrong shares that the resistant starch found in raw spuds can be known to cause uncomfortable symptoms such as gas, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.

You may love the crunch, but is it worth the uncomfortable side effects?

In addition to the possible digestive issues, My Recipes shares that potato lovers should be aware of a toxic compound called solanine if you choose to snack on a few raw bites before throwing your soon-to-be roasted potatoes into the oven. Ingesting solanine can often lead to headaches, nausea, or diarrhea.

We're not asking you to banish spuds as a tasty side to your meal. According to Healthline, eating both cooked and raw potatoes in moderation can be a part of a healthy diet. A raw potato contains more vitamin C than a cooked one. And yes, the resistant starch may cause some uncomfortable digestive side effects, but it can also act as a prebiotic and contribute to a healthy gut. The most important thing is that you wash them beforehand and practice good hygiene while cooking. Peel the skin off the potatoes and avoid eating them if they have turned green. 

In the U.S., the average person consumes roughly 110 pounds of potatoes each year. But we're starting to understand why raw potatoes have yet to make the vegetable and dip tray at parties. You can eat them in moderation if you like, just note that your digestive system might not agree with your choice.