The Paleo diet and tubers

Tubers, roots and starchy vegetables
can be part of your Paleo diet.

Some people believe that the Paleo diet is low in carbohydrates and although it is lower in carbs compared to the standard American diet, the amount of carbs you should include in your diet depends on your personal goals.

If you are trying to lose weight or want to maintain your weight and are not particularly active, it may be a good idea to keep your carb intake lower by limiting your intake of yams, plantains, potatoes and other tubers, roots and starchy vegetables.

However, if you have reached a healthy weight for you or are physically active, including more of these safe starches into your diet, especially as part of your post-workout meal, can help you replenish your glycogen stores, perform better and have more energy. You can find a list of the carbohydrate and fiber content of these foods in the table below.

The carbohydrates found in tubers in mainly starches, which are made of long chains of glucose. In other words, these carbohydrates are safer because they do not contain the evil fructose (read more about fructose here) found in most sugars and sweeteners.

Serve them with plenty of fat and an adequate serving of protein to minimize their glycemic load and keep your blood sugar levels more stable after your meal. For example, you can make sweet potato fries in bacon fat or lard,  fry plantains slices in coconut oil or mash butternut squash with cinnamon and ghee/butter for a delicious Paleo-friendly treat.

Carbohydrate and Fiber Content
of Roots, Tubers and Starchy Vegetables
*

Food

Serving

Total Carbohydrate (g)

Fiber (g)

Sweet Potatoes (skinless)

1 medium or ½ cup mashed

21-24

3.3-3.8

Yams (skinless)

1 cup, cubed

38

5.3

Potatoes (skinless)

1 cup

26

1.8

1 medium

34

2.3

1 cup, mashed

36

3.2

Plantains

1 cup, mashed

62

4.6

1 cup, sliced

48

3.5

1 cup, green, fried

58

4.1

Yuca/cassava root

1 cup

78

3.7

Taro root

1 cup, sliced

46

6.7

Jicama

1 cup

11-12

6-6.5

Parsnip

1 cup, sliced

27

5.6

Turnip

1 cup, sliced

8

3.1

Rutabaga/swede

1 cup, sliced

15

3.1

Butternut squash

1 cup

22

6.6

Spaghetti squash

1 cup

10

2.2

Pumpkin

1 cup, mashed

12

2.7

Beets

1 cup, sliced

9

1.7

*Reference: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference.


Download the PDF version of the "Carbohydrate and Fiber Content of Tubers, Roots and Starchy Vegetables"


Learn more about carbohydrates
and your optimal carb intake with the Paleo dietitian

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