Can You Eat Sprouted Potatoes?

When you see sprouts on your potato, I am sure, you have a second thought about whether or not you should eat it.

However, I am sure you wouldn’t like to compromise on safety when you are not sure whether it is fine to eat sprouted potatoes. If you have faced such situations, read to find out if it is safe to eat sprouted potatoes.

Is it safe to eat sprouted potatoes?

Potatoes, in general, are safe to eat, even if they have sprouted. As long as they are firm to touch and do not look too shriveled or wrinkly, you can eat them.

Potatoes do not lose the nutrients they possess as long as they are firm. Most of the nutrients in potatoes are still intact in a sprouted potato.

The appearance of sprouts on a potato indicates it is preparing itself to grow a new plant. Once it develops sprouts, it begins to convert complex carbs present in it such as starch into sugars in order to feed the new plant growing from the sprout.

Once this process begins, you will find softening of the potatoes around the parts where there used to be an eye. You need to remove the sprouts along with the soft spot surrounding it before you can use the potato for cooking. 

Important points to remember

It should be noted that eating sprouted potatoes may not be safe for pregnant women. Research studies have revealed possible links between the risk of genetic defects in the child and the consumption of sprouted potatoes by the mother. The studies have shown that the maternal consumption of sprouted potatoes during the periconceptional period could increase the risk of orofacial clefts and neural tube defects. This means women who are planning to conceive should also avoid eating sprouted potatoes. [1]

As the potato continues to sprout, it shrivels. This indicates that more amount of starch is getting converted into sugar to be used by the growing sprout. A shriveled and wrinkled potato would not be as palatable as an un-sprouted potato. Hence, it may be advisable to avoid eating shriveled and wrinkled potatoes so that the taste of your dishes is not affected.

Solanine and some glycoalkaloids present in the eyes and sprouts of potatoes could be toxic to humans. It may lead to vomiting and headaches in some cases. Hence, if you are prone to digestive troubles, it would be best to avoid eating a sprouted potato. [2]

Conclusion

Overall, sprouted potatoes pose no major health risks. Pregnant women should avoid eating sprouted potatoes keeping in mind the risk of congenital defects. Patients who suffer from frequent digestive troubles should also avoid sprouted potatoes. However, the risk of digestive side effects is minimal.

References:

  1. Ni W, Tian T, Zhang L, Li Z, Wang L, Ren A. Maternal periconceptional consumption of sprouted potato and risks of neural tube defects and orofacial clefts. Nutr J. 2018;17(1):112. Published 2018 Nov 28. doi:10.1186/s12937-018-0420-4
  2. Zhou X, Gao Q, Praticò G, Chen J, Dragsted LO. Biomarkers of tuber intake. Genes Nutr. 2019;14:9. Published 2019 Apr 2. doi:10.1186/s12263-019-0631-0