Are Raw Potatoes Toxic? Can They Kill You?

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Are Raw Potatoes Toxic? Can They Kill You?

by Vraja Sauer
(Florianopolis, SC, Brazil)

Varja's Question:

I heard that you can poison yourself by eating raw potatoes.

In Germany in World War II they used to give raw potatoes to the people at the concentration camps to kill them. What do you have to say about that?

Love and Peace!


Andrew's Answer:

Hi Varja.

Yes, raw potatoes are indeed toxic. Especially when green, but really at any time they're uncooked, potatoes contain a class of toxic compounds called glycoalkaloids. One of these, solanine, is also known for causing problems with the nightshade family of plants.

As humans moved away from the tropics, the abundant fruit trees that fed us during our early evolution were no longer available, and fire was the tool we adopted to make unhealthy or poisonous foods edible, if not healthy.

toxic potatoes

All tubers, particularly potatoes, are examples of this, with palatability and toxic load improving when heat is applied.

Without cooking, potatoes will cause headaches, diarrhea, and cramps. Theoretically they can cause you to fall into a coma or even die, but this is not something that occurs with any regularly, mostly because our palates tell us that raw potatoes are not something we should be eating.

The Takeaway:

The key to take away from this is that despite what some raw foodists insist, rawness is not the ultimate litmus test for a food's suitability.

Many raw foods are not healthy for us to eat, or at least not ideal. Healthy raw foodists stick to raw fruits, some raw nuts and seeds, and certain easy-to-digest raw vegetables.

Here's a list of many of the foods that should be avoided if you're interested in choosing healthy options.

Following Up:

Want to lose weight, overcome your health problems, and find a new well of energy and vitality?

Ditch the potatoes and get yourself on a healthy raw food diet.

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