Meet the new low-calorie, low-carb potato that’s GMO-free

This new Ontario-grown potato is lower in calories and carbohydrates. JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images

If you love potatoes but worry about calories and carbohydrates, a new Ontario-grown spud is here to save the day. A Canadian company says its new potato is lower in calories and carbs, and it has a lower glycemic response making the crop a great option for diabetics.

Ontario-based EarthFresh Farms says the Carisma potato is grown from seeds from the Netherlands and isn’t genetically modified.

While a yellow or russet potato has about 100 calories and 25 grams of carbohydrates, the Carisma has about 70 calories and 15 grams of carbs, Jane Dummer, a Kitchener, Ont.-based registered dietitian, told Global News.

READ MORE: Australian man eating only potatoes for a year to lose weight, curb food addiction

(These amounts will vary depending on the size of the potato. Dummer said these estimates are for a 150-gram serving.)

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Like there are several varieties of mushrooms or apples, the Carisma happens to be a different kind of potato.

“With this variety, it elicits a lower glycemic response and that’s great news for diabetics and health-conscious people because those people may be thinking of the mix of carbohydrates in their diet,” Dummer said.

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Like most potatoes, it still has 20 per cent of your daily vitamin C needs. It’s good for the immune system, skin and hair and it’s packed with potassium and three grams of fibre and three grams of protein.

READ MORE: The 41 most nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables

It also comes with a 20 per cent decrease in glycemic response compared to a regular potato.

The glycemic index is a 100-point scale in which foods are ranked based on how quickly they raise blood sugar levels. Foods that have higher GI levels raise our blood sugar levels faster.

Prime examples include white bread, puffed rice, instant oatmeal, white rice and pasta. Russet potatoes fall under the high-GI category, too.

Joanne Lewis, director of nutrition and diabetes education at the Canadian Diabetes Association, says potatoes often get a bad rap because they’re categorized as a white starch. This potato shouldn’t be as worrisome for healthy eaters, she said.

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“This benefits people with diabetes because the CDA supports low-GI foods and diet. There’s a lot of scientific evidence that people who have diabetes and replace high-GI carbs with low-GI carbs see a significant benefit in their blood sugar control,” Lewis told Global News.

“But for people who don’t have diabetes, there’s a benefit in that it reduces risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, it provides sustained energy, feelings of satiety and weight management,” she said.

Now an important question: how does it taste?

Dummer said the texture is a little “different.”

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“It tastes similar to a yellow potato but it’s a creamier, melt-in-your-mouth kind of flavour that lends itself well to mashing or to make potato salads,” she explained. They’d also be great as fries, she added.

Right now it’s already gained a following in Australia.

In Canada, it’s only sold in Ontario this fall at Longo’s, Metro, Sobey’s and Whole Foods.

The company is working with farms in Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, and Prince Edward Island to expand sales across Canada.

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