Harvard says potatoes make you fat, cause diabetes?!

Andrew Taylor - Spud Fit | April 21, 2021

Jen asks:

How can you be so sure about what’s healthy, when even the scientists and experts can’t agree on anything? You say potatoes are great for weight loss and health but Harvard School Of Public Health has this article about how potatoes make you fat! Why should I believe you instead of Harvard?

My answer:


I agree that sorting through the plethora of mixed messages out there can be very confusing and even overwhelming. So I hope I can break it down and help you understand why this Harvard article is problematic.

Harvard’s healthy eating plate doesn’t even classify potatoes as vegetables, a decision that is based on flawed reasoning. Harvard’s position is based on studies that examined the health of individuals according to how much french fries, baked potatoes and mashed potatoes they ate. This is problematic because most of the calories in french fries actually come from the oil that they’re deep fried in. Most people who eat baked potatoes also tend to bake them in oil and then load them up with sour cream, cheese and bacon bits. Most people make mashed potatoes with butter, cream and cows’ milk.

The title of Harvard’s article is “The problem with potatoes”. The article itself would be more accurate if they went on to describe how potatoes have become a delivery vehicle for junk food. We deep fry them and then load them up with all sorts of processed foods and fatty, salty junk and then prestigious universities blame potatoes rather than the crap we eat with them. 

With this in mind, we can take this opportunity to correct Harvard’s claims about potatoes contributing to weight gain and diabetes. Based on the evidence cited in their article, they should in fact say “potatoes loaded with junk food contribute to weight gain and diabetes.” Better still, they could leave potatoes out of this article and change the title to “the problem with junk food”

Articles like this certainly do serve to muddy the waters and confuse those of us who are less inclined to have to sort through the real science behind a misleading headline.

Potatoes have been a mainstay of human nutrition for millenia and they continue to be, despite what some “experts” will tell you. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Spud up!

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