Does Eating Potatoes Increase Risk of Type 2 Diabetes? A Surprising Answer


Who doesn’t adore potatoes? You might be surprised to know that the tasty potato is not always the food villain that it has been made out to be for people with Type 2 Diabetes. 

The potato is an incredibly versatile and tasty vegetable that you can make into many different dishes. The possibilities are endless, from French Fries to hash browns, mashed potatoes, or even boiled ones! 

Unfortunately, these potatoes are often linked with type 2 diabetes and other related health issues.

Researchers historically concluded that this starchy vegetable can cause an increase in blood sugar levels. When potatoes are consumed, the body breaks down the starch into glucose, which is then absorbed into the bloodstream. This can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, leading to insulin resistance over time which leads to type 2 diabetes.

A significant amount of research has been conducted on the relationship between potato consumption and blood sugar levels, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.

One study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2006 found that consuming high-glycemic-index carbohydrates like potatoes can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The study followed over 42,000 men for 12 years. It found that those who consumed the most carbohydrates had a 37% higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who consumed the least.1

Is it Really the Potatoes or Actually the Cooking Process?

Many experts are currently debating whether potatoes pose any diabetes risk or if it is the way they are processed that increases this risk. They are exploring a variety of different theories, trying to determine if there is a definitive answer to this pressing issue.

New research from Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Australia suggests that consuming a vegetable-rich diet can lower a person’s risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. The study was published in the journal Diabetes Care and conducted with data from Denmark. It found that the number of vegetables in a person’s diet could impact their risk of developing the disease.2

How do I test my blood sugar?

The study concluded that preparing potatoes in a certain way did not increase the disease’s risk. 

The research team did not indicate which approach was safe. But bad preparations like deep-frying or covering in high-calorie toppings can increase potato dishes’ calories and fat. This can contribute to obesity and other health issues.

While potatoes are often considered a staple in many diets, it’s important to consume them in moderation. You should also prepare them in a healthy way to avoid potential health risks. As always, you should consult with a healthcare professional for personalized dietary recommendations.

Pratik Pokharel, first author and Ph.D. candidate at ECU, explains, 

“In previous studies, potatoes have been positively linked to the incidence of diabetes, regardless of how they’re prepared — but we found that’s not true. In Denmark, people consume potatoes prepared in many different ways; in our study, we could distinguish between the different preparation methods.

“When we separated boiled potatoes from mashed potatoes, fries or crisps, boiled potatoes were no longer associated with a higher risk of diabetes: they had a null effect.”

He adds that persons who ate the most potatoes also consumed more butter, red meat, and soda. These foods are all known to be potential risk factors for type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, when potatoes are cooked in other methods such as baking, further unhealthy ingredients like butter, cream, and other fatty substances may be added to enhance taste. This may also amplify Type 2 Diabetes risk.

Preparing the Potatoes the Right Way – Boil Them! 

The team of researchers who conducted this study on the impact of vegetable consumption on type 2 diabetes risk also looked at the role of potatoes in this disease. Contrary to previous studies, they found that potatoes do not necessarily have any negative impact on people with diabetes as long as they are cooked and prepared in a health-conscious manner.

This means that individuals with diabetes can still enjoy potatoes as part of a balanced diet. But they need to make sure that they are not deep-fried or coated in high-calorie toppings. Healthier preparation methods, such as roasting or boiling, can help preserve the potatoes’ nutritional value while reducing added fats and calories.

However, it’s important to note that potatoes still have a high glycemic index. So, they can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, which can be problematic for individuals with diabetes. Therefore, individuals with diabetes should still consume potatoes in moderation and consultation with their healthcare provider.

Pokharel says,

“Regarding potatoes, we can’t say they have a benefit in terms of type 2 diabetes, but they also aren’t bad if prepared in a healthy way.

“We should separate potatoes and other vegetables in regard to messaging about disease prevention but replacing refined grains such as white rice and pasta with potatoes can improve your diet quality because of fibre and other nutrients found in potatoes.”3

Aside from consuming more vegetables and preparing potatoes in a health-conscious manner, there are other foods that people should avoid to lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends avoiding processed foods, sugary drinks, and alcohol.

By avoiding these foods and making healthier choices, individuals can lower their risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. It can also promote overall health and well-being. It’s important to focus on whole, nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.  A balanced diet and regular physical activity can go a long way in preventing and managing Type 2 Diabetes. 

In conclusion, eating boiled potatoes now and then may not be harmful to your blood sugar. Remember to always test against your blood sugar monitoring device though!

As a reminder, here is an article about how to test your blood sugar. 


More of what you love

Chia Seeds and Type 2 Diabetes: A Nutritious Combination?

Chia seeds have been gaining popularity as a superfood in recent years. They are packed with nutrients and offer numerous health benefits. One of the areas where chia seeds are believed to be beneficial is in managing type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic...

read more

1% better every day. Small changes over time lead to big results.

Ozermpic doesn’t have to make you nauseous!

Ozermpic doesn’t have to make you nauseous!

  Ozermpic doesn't have to make you nauseous all the time. Injecting Ozempic into the belly can cause nausea and vomiting due to stimulation of the digestive system. Injecting into other fatty parts of the body, such as the upper thigh or arm, can reduce the...