Diabetes Forecast

Hold the Fries: Potatoes and Type 2 Diabetes

What to Know

Potatoes are popular in the U.S. and in European countries, but could over-indulging up your odds of developing type 2 diabetes? Spuds boast a high glycemic index and glycemic load. That means they can cause your blood glucose levels to spike. Because eating such foods has been linked to a higher likelihood of diabetes, researchers set out to determine the risk posed by potatoes.

The Study

The researchers examined dietary and disease data collected in previous studies from more than 150,000 women and 40,000 men. Specifically, they tallied how many potatoes each person had eaten over a four-year period. They then compared those figures with the number of people who had developed type 2 diabetes.

The Results

Sure enough, the more potatoes the participants ate, the more likely they were to have diabetes. French fries, it appears, are a particularly nasty culprit. Meanwhile, people who consumed more whole grains, which include brown rice, quinoa, popcorn, and whole wheat bread, had a lower chance of being diagnosed with diabetes.


Potatoes, though considered a vegetable, appear to be less healthy than you might think. To protect yourself from diabetes, choose whole grains over potatoes, especially French fries, whenever possible.

Potatoes consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective cohort studies. Diabetes Care 39:376-384, 2016;

The information on this screen does not take the place of care from your doctor or other health care provider. If you have general questions about diabetes or diabetes-related research, e-mail askada@diabetes.org or call 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2382).



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