Can You Eat Potatoes on a Diet?

Spud lovers, slim down with this smart approach to carbs.

Medically reviewed in September 2021

Which starchy, satisfying food can you keep on the menu even when you're trying to lose weight? Potatoes.

Researchers tested this theory in a 2014 study of overweight people published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. They put everyone in the study on a weight-loss plan, cutting 500 calories from their daily diets, but let half of them eat a serving of potatoes almost every day. Twelve weeks later, the potato eaters had lost roughly the same amount of weight as the potato abstainers—about 3 pounds.

Slim-down secrets
Contrary to popular belief, carbs aren't off limits when you're trying to lose weight. In fact, your body needs carbs for energy and key nutrients.

Bottom line: When it comes to weight loss, the overall composition of your diet is more important than including or excluding any single food. A calorie-controlled diet that is balanced, focused on healthful fats, and high in fiber, protein, and other nutrients will get you further than nixing bread. Or potatoes. Or any one food group, like carbs.

Spuds for life
Whether you're trying to slim down or boost your diet’s nutritional profile, potatoes are a solid menu choice. One medium baked potato with the skin serves up 4 grams of fiber, 900 milligrams of potassium, and a healthy dose of vitamin C, all for just 160 calories. Top your tater with corn, black beans, and salsa to ratchet up the flavor and nutrition without adding tons of extra fat and calories.

Sources:

JM. Randolph, I Edirisinghe, et al. “Potatoes, Glycemic Index, and Weight Loss in Free-Living Individuals: Practical Implications.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2014; 1.

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