Is it healthy to eat potato peel?
Can potato peels also be eaten?
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Claudia Kay / Hans-Helmut Martin
Officials advise against the consumption of potato peels as they contain harmful glycoalkaloids. However, adults can also eat fresh and ripe potatoes occasionally with their skin on.
Potatoes naturally contain small amounts of the two glycoalkaloids solanine and chaconine. Like caffeine or nicotine, they belong to the group of alkaloids and serve the plant to ward off pests. Glycoalkaloids are also toxic to humans in large quantities. Depending on the dose, they can initially lead to stomach and intestinal problems as well as sore throats; in larger quantities, the central nervous system can be impaired. Solanine and chaconine are mainly found in or under the potato peel and in the germ buds. The total content of solanine and chaconin in the potato is given as the SGA value. In general, an intake of up to 1 mg per kg of body weight is considered tolerable.
In 2005, according to a study by the Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety, the solanine and chaconine levels averaged 20-30 mg per kg of potatoes. The UN organizations FAO / WHO, however, estimate values of up to 100 mg per kg to be normal. Autumn potatoes had lower levels than new potatoes and products from Germany performed better than imported goods.
For adults, no toxic uptake is achieved even with an SGA exposure of 100 mg per kilogram of potatoes. Well-stored potatoes without bruises or injuries can therefore also be enjoyed with the skin on. The situation is different with green, damaged and sprouted tubers. Here the solanine content can reach values of up to 10,000 mg SGA per kg of potatoes. Such potatoes should not be eaten at all, not even peeled. Because sprouted potatoes in particular still have high solanine contents even after peeling. In the case of individual green areas, it is sufficient to cut them off generously. The glycoalkaloids content is also influenced by the variety, growth conditions, mechanical damage as well as storage and temperature. Temperatures that are too high or too low as well as storage for too long cause the SGA content to rise. The ideal storage temperature for table potatoes is between 4 and 6 degrees Celsius.
Due to their lower body weight, children can reach problematic values much faster. You should therefore generally not eat potatoes with their skin on, especially since you cannot see how much solanine they contain in the potato. The solanine content can be significantly influenced by kitchen processing. Since the glycoalkaloids are mainly located directly under the skin, the content can be reduced by up to 90 percent by peeling. The alkaloids are heat-stable, but some of them go into the cooking water when they are cooked. Therefore, as is usual with jacket potatoes, the cooking water should be poured away.
- Federal Office for Consumer Protection and Food Safety (Ed). Glycoside alkaloids. http://www.bvl.bund.de/DE/Service/Glossar/Functions/glossar.html?lv2=1401736&lv3=1418114 (as of October 28, 2013)
- Federal Institute for Nutrition and Food (Ed). Variety of potato. www.mri.bund.de/fileadmin/Veroeffnahmungen/Archiv/Einzelthemen_Publikationen/dt-kartoffelvielfalt.pdf (as of October 28, 2013)
- Max Rubner Institute, Federal Research Institute for Nutrition and Food, Institute for Safety and Quality in Grains (publisher). Avoidance strategies. Proper use of green potatoes. www.mri.bund.de/fileadmin/Veroeffnahmungen/Verbrauchinformationen/MRI-Flyer-GrueneKartoffel-IGW13_web.pdf (as of 19.19.2013)
- German Nutrition Society. Solanine in potatoes. DGE-info (2), 130, 2010
- Joint FAO / WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (Ed.): Solanine. http://www.inchem.org/documents/jecfa/jeceval/jec_2180.htm (as of October 29, 2013)
Source: UGB-FORUM 6/13, p. 304
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