As people become more aware that the gluten in wheat starch is bad for gut health, they are looking for better alternatives.
In this article, find out if potato starch is a healthy, gluten-free substitute for wheat starch in cooking and baking. Plus, you’ll learn which potato starch substitutes can be even better for your health.
What Is Potato Starch?
Potato starch is an industrially processed food derived from potatoes. The starch is often used as a thickener for sauces, soups, and stews and as a binder in baking.
Starch is a polysaccharide, multiple sugar.
The most common vegetable starches worldwide include wheat, corn, potato, and tapioca starch.
Potato starch is a white powder similar in consistency to corn starch.
Potato Starch vs. Cornstarch
As the name suggests, potato starch and cornstarch are not significantly different.
While one polysaccharide is produced from potatoes, the other is obtained from corn.
That’s why corn starch is also usually used in a 1:1 ratio as a potato starch substitute for sauces or cakes.
Potato Flour vs. Potato Starch
Potato flour is nothing more than a dried and ground potato.
On the other hand, potato starch is created in a multi-step process where only the starch is extracted from the potato.
Since potato starch and flour differ in consistency, they are used for different reasons and taste different.
While potato starch is tasteless, potato flour has a flavor similar to a potato. Potato flour is heavier and more yellowish. Starch, on the other hand, is white.
Potato starch is used in baking and as a thickener. Potato flour can be used instead of wheat flour as a primary ingredient for bread and cakes.
That’s why you can’t substitute potato starch for potato flour.
Sweet Potato Starch
Sweet potato starch is a starch commonly used in Chinese Sichuan cuisine. It is made from sweet potatoes.
Sweet potato or Ipomoea batatas belongs to the bindweed family or Convolvulaceae.
Therefore, strictly speaking, the sweet potato is not a potato.
Unlike the potato, the sweet potato is not a nightshade. Therefore, it does not contain lectins that can harm the intestines.
Plants use these sticky proteins as toxins to defend themselves against predators (Dolan et al. 20101).
Is Potato Starch Gluten-Free?
Since potato starch is primarily carbohydrates and contains no proteins, it is gluten-free. However, it does contain lectins other than gluten instead.
Is Potato Starch Keto?
The fact that potato starch is gluten-free does not mean that it is low in carbohydrates. As the name starch already tells us, potato starch consists mainly of carbohydrates.
Here are the nutritional values per 100 g of potato starch (*):
- Energy: 333 calories
- Protein: 0.0 grams
- Fat: 0.0 grams
- Carbohydrates: 83.3 grams
- Dietary fiber: 0.0 grams
- Net carbs: 83.3 grams
Is Potato Starch Healthy?
Potato starch is a refined carbohydrate that sends blood sugar and insulin levels through the roof. Because it makes you gain immense amounts of body fat, potato starch isn’t great for weight loss.
But aren’t the complex carbohydrates in potato starch healthy?
Complex means that they are multiple sugars instead of single sugars. And this, in turn, is broken down by the liver into simple sugar, glucose.
This way, blood sugar, and insulin levels stay high even longer, exerting an antilipolytic effect (Jensen et al. 19892).
In short, potato starch inhibits the breakdown of body fat (lipolysis) and promotes fat gain (Meijssen et al. 20013).
In addition, potato starch is a highly processed food that is industrially produced in several shifts. In short, the starch is separated from other nutrients and fiber, leaving only the concentrated multiple sugars.
For these reasons, potato starch has healthier and more natural alternatives.
Substitutes for Potato Starch
Since potato starch is neither low-carb nor healthy, replacing it with better alternatives makes sense.
Potato Starch Alternatives for Keto
For fans of low-carb cooking, there are good alternatives that can be first-rate substitutes for potato starch as a binder.
Gelatin is 100% carbohydrate-free, making it a top-notch potato starch alternative for keto enthusiasts (*).
Gelatin is a broken-down form of collagen, the protein that holds our bodies together. For this reason, gelatin has a binding property.
Moreover, this structural protein is the essential building block for teeth, joints, bones, skin, and hair (Stefanovic 20134).
Whether soup, smoothie, or baked goods, gelatin can be added as a dry powder to various dishes.
The powder replaces potato starch in a 2:1 ratio in cooking and baking.
2. Egg White
As long as you don’t suffer from an intolerance or eat a vegan diet, egg white is a simple potato starch substitute.
Egg whites not only bind ingredients but also add easily digestible protein to the meal at the same time.
Furthermore, it helps bread rise when baking, which can be difficult without gluten. However, too much protein can also cause the result to be too fluffy.
Use one egg white for every tablespoon (4.5 grams) of potato starch for baking.
3. Ground Flax Seeds
Since flaxseeds are incredibly low in carbohydrates, they are ideal for the ketogenic diet. One tablespoon of ground flaxseeds contains only 0.1 grams of net carbohydrates (*).
In addition, flaxseeds can improve blood clotting, blood pressure, blood lipid levels, and the risk of inflammation and diabetes (Faintuch et al. 20075; Mandaşescu et al. 20056; Kawakami et al. 20157; Bloedon et al. 20048).
Flaxseeds add moisture and binding to dishes. Therefore, they are an alternative to potato starch in baked goods.
However, the seeds must be ground beforehand to provide the desired binding and texture.
To do this, you can grind flax seeds in a pepper grinder. However, buying a fine flaxseed meal, bread, and other baked goods will be even better.
In baking, 1/2 tablespoon of ground flaxseed can replace one potato starch.
Gluten-Free Potato Starch Substitutes for Baking
Although potato starch is gluten-free, healthier alternatives exist for baking, which we will now look closely at.
1. Almond Flour
Almond flour gives you the same texture and consistency as potato starch without the myriad carbohydrates.
Unlike potato starch, almond flour can help improve your health. While it enhances energy and heart function, it helps fight diabetes and obesity (Berryman et al. 20159).
In addition, almond flour is high in protein and fat while still relatively low in carbohydrates.
When baking, replace each potato starch tablespoon with one almond flour.
2. Konjac Powder
Konjac powder or glucomannan is made from konjac root, which is widely used in Asian cuisine (Keithley et al. 201310).
Due to its high fiber content, the powder can thicken dishes similar to potato starch.
In addition, according to studies, konjac flour can help lower blood lipid levels, blood sugar, and blood pressure (Devaraj et al. 201811).
Glucomannan is a pure dietary fiber product that contains no net carbohydrates, proteins, or fats (*).
Thus, this potato starch substitute is ideal for a ketogenic diet.
Konjac powder replaces potato starch in a 1:1 ratio. The exception is tough baked goods like tortillas, which require a 1.5:1 ratio.
3. Psyllium Husk Powder
Psyllium husks comprise soluble fiber that forms a gummy texture when combined with a liquid.
When the psyllium husks absorb water, they have a binding effect. Therefore, they can also hold ingredients together in dishes.
Because psyllium husks are highly absorbent, they remove much liquid from a dish without additional water.
For this reason, psyllium husk powder should always be added to a recipe in conjunction with liquid.
With only one net carbohydrate per two tablespoons, psyllium husks are a low-carbohydrate binder (*).
To make baked goods successful, replace each tablespoon of potato starch with at least half a tablespoon of psyllium husk powder.
The following products can replace potato starch in certain situations. However, since they are unsuitable for weight loss, I recommend choosing one of the above potato starch alternatives.
1. Arrowroot Flour
Arrowroot flour is a less common gluten- and grain-free powder. It is also made from starch extracted from an exotic plant called maranta arundinacea.
It is often used as a substitute for flour and is predominantly carbohydrate, so it is not keto-friendly (*).
Moreover, this versatile flour can also be used as a thickener. In addition, many people use it with almond or coconut flour for baking.
Arrowroot flour can be helpful in baking and breading because it gives you extra crispy results.
In baking, you can use arrowroot flour as a 1.5:1 substitute for potato starch. For frying, the ratio may be 2:1.
2. Tapioca Starch
Tapioca starch or tapioca flour is derived from the roots of the cassava plant.
It is often used in gluten-free recipes for bread, pancakes, or pizza dough for baking, as well as a sauce binder.
As with potato starch, tapioca starch is likewise a high-carbohydrate refined food unsuitable for weight loss.
You can replace potato starch 1:1 with tapioca starch as a thickener.
Wheat flour is a potato starch substitute for gravies and pie fillings. Although flour is a thickener, it doesn’t thicken as much. Hence, it would help to use twice as much wheat flour as potato starch.
It also doesn’t always make baked goods tender.
Wheat flour is highly refined, low in fiber, and high in gluten. Accordingly, it is neither healthy for your gut nor suitable for weight loss.
4. Rice Flour
Rice flour has similar properties as wheat flour. Therefore, you need to use twice the amount to make it a good potato starch substitute.
100 grams of white rice flour contains 80 grams of carbohydrates (*).
The refined carbohydrates in rice flour also increase blood sugar and insulin levels. However, compared to wheat flour, it has the advantage of containing very few plant toxins that can harm your gut.
Buy Potato Starch Substitutes
Here are what I consider to be the best potato starch alternatives you can buy on Amazon today:
Potato starch is a highly processed, fattening food you can easily substitute. Numerous healthier alternatives to potato starch can also help you lose weight.
If you’d like to start losing weight today without having to constantly count calories or spending your spare time in the gym, try my free 30-Day Intermittent Fasting Challenge.
Potato Starch Substitutes FAQ
Can I use flour instead of potato starch?
You can substitute potato starch for gravies and pie fillings by double the amount of flour.
Can I use cornstarch instead of potato starch for baking?
You can use cornstarch in a 1:1 ratio to substitute potato starch for baking.
Can I use cornstarch instead of potato starch for frying?
Since they are pretty similar, you can use cornstarch instead of potato starch for frying
What's the difference between potato starch and cornstarch?
The only significant difference is that potato starch is derived from potatoes and cornstarch from corn.
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Stephan is a writer and a true man of science, holding multiple diplomas and master's degrees in different research areas. His greatest passion is closing the gap between the conventional perception of health and the latest scientific evidence – always following the data.