Potatoes are great food and when eaten occasionally, they are unlikely to cause any harm. However, when you have too many carbohydrates such as potatoes in your diet you might experience side effects. Here is what you need to know about chest and stomach pain after eating potatoes.
Health benefits of potatoes
Being considered a staple food in numerous households, potatoes are very nutritional.
Potato is a perfect source of many minerals and vitamins. There are different varieties of potatoes and how they’re prepared to bring about the potato’s nutritional context.
Potatoes have many health benefits:
- Potatoes are high in nutrients like potassium, vitamin C, B vitamins, iron, phosphorus, and magnesium.
- Antioxidants in the potato can help to prevent diseases like cancer or cardiovascular problems.
- They contain resistant starch, which can improve insulin resistance and might help weight loss.
- The resistant starch in potatoes is prebiotic, which improves gut health.
- While digesting potatoes, a short-chain fatty acid, called butyrate, is produced. which strengthens the colon’s defenses and reduces inflammation.
Risks of eating potatoes:
- No matter how potatoes are prepared, they have a high glycemic index and therefore might cause a spike in blood sugar.
- It is easy to eat too many potatoes, which might result in weight gain.
- French fries might contain a lot of oil. Oily foods can cause chest pain and all kinds of digestive problems.
- Potato chips can contain a lot of salt. Salty foods might be bad for your heart or digestion.
Chest pain after eating potatoes
Albeit not common, some people do experience chest tightness after eating potatoes.
The way potatoes are prepared might have a great impact on the digestion process. Too much oil, fat, or salt can put pressure on your digestive tract and might trigger symptoms.
Acid reflux or heartburn, caridovascular problems, like angina, are the most likely causes of chest pain after potatoes.
In some cases, problems in your digestive system might cause stomach pain that radiates into the chest.
These are the most likely scenarios of having chest pain after potatoes:
- potato allergy or intolerance
- eating too much
- eating too fast
- eating oily french fries or salty potato chips
- too hot potatoes might cause esophageal spasm
Why does your stomach hurt after eating potatoes?
Since chest pain after eating potatoes usually originates from the stomach and radiates into the chest, most cases that cause chest pain will also cause stomach pain after eating potatoes.
Stomach pain after eating potatoes might happen for a variety of reasons:
- potato allergy or intolerance
- eating too much potato
- eating oily french fries
Potato is usually very friendly for the stomach, especially when eaten with the skin. However, potatoes might cause gas for some people, which might result in bloating and stomach pain.
When you’re allergic to potatoes, it means your immune system has mistakenly identified certain proteins in the potato as toxic substances. Your immune system reacts by isolating and attacking these intruders.
With the immune system trying to protect the body, it produces antibodies along with histamine hence triggering allergic reactions.
A small percentage of people are allergic to potatoes. They’re most likely to be allergic to raw potatoes rather than cooked. Besides, children can outgrow their allergies to potatoes, unlike adults who remain affected forever.
Furthermore, potato allergy can be due to cross-sensitivities with allergies such as latex allergies, food allergies. and plant allergies.
Potato allergy rarely causes chest or stomach pain. The typical symptoms are itchy skin, runny nose, sometimes it might cause difficulty of breathing, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea. In rare cases, potato allergy might cause anaphylaxis, which requires immediate medical help.
Unlike an allergy, intolerance is a digestive disorder and it is more likely to cause stomach pain, sometimes even chest pain.
Potato intolerance can cause a wide variety of symptoms, however, there is no such severe symptom as anaphylaxis.
If you think you have potato allergy or intolerance, you should stop consuming potatoes and go to an allergologist and get tested.
What to do if potatoes cause you stomach or chest pain?
Managing chest or stomach pain after eating potatoes depends on the cause of the pain and the way potato was prepared:
- If an allergy is causing you symptoms, your allergologist probably will recommend eliminating potatoes from your diet.
- If you are potato intolerant, your doctor might either suggest avoiding potatoes or try to prepare them differently.
- If potato gives you heartburn, it is probably because of the way potato was cooked. Baked and mashed potatoes are unlikely to cause acid reflux, french fries and potato chips might give you heartburn.
- If potato triggers excessive gas production in your stomach, try to limit the amount you eat.
Because of its high resistant starch content, potato is considered to be good for the gut. However, in some cases, potatoes might trigger unwanted symptoms.
Quite often the problem is not the potato itself, but the amount consumed or the way the potato was prepared.
Eating too much from any food might trigger stomach pain or chest symptoms like heartburn.
In general, oily french fries and salty potato chips are more likely to trigger eating-related symptoms, baked and mashed potatoes are more friendly to your gut.
It is also quite possible that it’s not the potato, that is triggering the symptoms. Deep-fried foods, spicy foods might cause chest or stomach pain. If you eat potatoes with a big slice of red meat, that might also trigger symptoms.
Frequently asked questions
Why do I get stomach pain after eating french fries?
If other forms of potato, e.g. baked potatoes, mashed potatoes, also cause problems, you are likely allergic or intolerant to potatoes. Get yourself tested to be sure and avoid eating potatoes.
However, if only french fries trigger stomach pain, it might be either overeating or the high oil content of the food. Such oily foods can cause stomach pain if you already have a problem in your digestive system, like gallbladder inflammation or pancreatitis.
If the pain is sharp and severe, you might need immediate medical help, otherwise visit a gastroenterologist to find the exact cause.
How long does it take to digest french fries?
All fried foods are hard to digest. French fries are high in carbs, so they are somewhat easier to digest than high protein fried foods, e.g. fried chicken.
It can still take anywhere between one to three days to completely digest french fries (time from eating until food is excreted).
Do potato chips cause gas?
Yes, potatoes might cause gas to some people. This is because when the starch in the potato is digested, the bacteria in your large intestine can produce gas.
Another possible reason is allergy or intolerance.