AF Q+A: Is there an association between eating potatoes and gaining weight?

New findings on weight gain, concurrent training and muscle cramps.

by Matt Brzycki

For years, potatoes have been one of the carbohydrates that have been fingered as suspects in the obesity epidemic. Recently, researchers conducted a systematic review of the relevant literature and found five studies that examined the relationship between potatoes and the risk of overweight/obesity in healthy adults. Two studies showed no relationship and, in two others, the connection was trivial. In one of those studies, increasing potato intake by 1 serving per day resulted in a gain of only about 1.28 pounds in 4 years. (The fifth study focused on french fries.) Potatoes that were boiled, baked or mashed were associated with the least weight gain, while french fries were associated with the most.

In short, potatoes can be part of a balanced diet. That's encouraging, since they are a good source of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium.


Borch, D., et al. 2016. Potatoes and risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in apparently healthy adults: A systematic review of clinical intervention and observational studies. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 104 (2), 489-98.

Meet our experts

AFM-Author-Brzycki Matt Brzycki , is the Assistant Director of Campus Recreation, Fitness at Princeton University. He has more than 30 years of experience at the collegiate level and has authored, co-authored and edited 17 books.

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