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Is Cassava a Source of High-Calorie Foods?

By Emily Creasy

Cassava plants produce fleshy roots that are high in carbohydrates and low in both fat and protein. The cassava roots can be bitter and even poisonous if eaten raw. Correctly prepared and detoxified, cassava can be used much like a potato due to its high-starch content and is often eaten baked or fried. This moderate-calorie root is also known as tapioca and can be found in puddings and other baked goods.

Calories

One cup of raw cassava contains 330 calories. When prepared as a 1-oz. serving of chips, about 23, the cassava contains 147 calories. The FDA considers foods that are between 100 and 400 calories per serving to be moderate-calorie foods.

Fat

A serving of raw cassava contains 0.5 g fat. When prepared as chips, a 1-oz. serving provides 7.4 g fat. The difference in fat content is primarily due to the oils used to fry the cassava when making chips. The chips contain about 2.5 g saturated fat, making up 12.5 percent of your daily recommended saturated fat intake. Keep your saturated fat intake to fewer than 20 g per day to help reduce the risks of heart disease.

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Carbohydrates

Cassava are made primarily of carbohydrates. A serving of raw cassava contains 78 g carbohydrates. One ounce of cassava chips provide about 20 g carbohydrate. Consume about 45 to 60 g carbohydrates per meal to help manage blood sugar levels. If you are diabetic, monitor your intake of other carbohydrate-containing foods when eating cassava to help avoid high blood sugar levels.

Protein

A 1-cup serving of cassava provides 2.8 g protein. Cassava chips contain even less protein at 0.38 g per serving. A study by Kevin Stephenson, et al., and published in the February 2010 issue of "Nutrition Journal," found inadequate protein intake in children who consumed cassava as a dietary staple. Dietary protein interventions were recommended to help promote healthy growth and development. The body needs protein to function properly. Include other protein containing foods at meals when consuming cassava.

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