Sue's Blog

What's wrong with potatoes? NOTHING!!! ... except that it is so hard to buy white ones ...


Most people think that potatoes contribute to obesity but it is not true unless they are deep fried as chips/fries or served with fats such as butter, cheese or sour cream.

Potatoes are actually the single most nutritious food in the world. If you had to live on one food only, potatoes would be it.

UPDATE 14th September 2016

Good news!!! How to buy white potatoes from the Jones family farm online BUT "we are seasonal and can only supply from mid- December to late August or September. As such, we have run out until Mid- December."!!

"There's a local farmer - Gordon Jones - who sells a potato called Wilwash. He said it's the whitest potato you'll ever find. It's a cross between a Sebago and a Coliban" - thanks to Fi

If you're having trouble finding white potatoes in your local store, Wilwash variety potatoes grown in Warragul, Victoria have white skin and flesh. Other suitable varieties are Maris Piper, King Edward, and Kestrel. Some varieties are grown organically. They are sold online and can be shipped interstate. Potatoes store very well as long as you can keep them in a cool, dark, well-ventilated cupboard or your fridge crisper.

The potato only diet

In 2010, American Chris Voigt from the Washington Potato Commission ate nothing but 20 potatoes (3 kg per day) for 2 months to prove that potatoes are healthy, nutritious and slimming.

“The potato is one of the most near complete foods on earth” Chris said in a promotional video:  “One potato provides 45% of the daily requirement of Vitamin C, the protein of half a glass of milk, more potassium than a banana, fibre, and other B vitamins and minerals.” 

Over 60 days, Chris lost 17 lbs (7.7 kg) and his cholesterol and other health indicators improved impressively. The thing is, he was not actually trying to lose weight, just to show the world how healthy potatoes are. Chris was surprised by how filling the potatoes were. He included 2 tablespoons of oil per day plus flavourings to help the potatoes go down, yet despite that, he  lost weight, complaining that he would run out of time to eat his daily ration and had to really work at eating more.

The satiety index

Chris was absolutely correct about how filling potatoes are. Researchers from Sydney University have found that they are actually the most filling food you can eat, right at the top of the Satiety Index, 50% more filling than oatmeal and six times more filling than croissants that were at the bottom of the list.

Potatoes, boiled
Baked beans
Wholemeal bread
White rice
White pasta
French fries
White bread


      Source: Holt S et al, A Satiety Index of Common Foods, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1995

White potatoes now recommended by the Institute of Medicine

In the United States, the prestigious IOM (Institute of Medicine) recommended against white potatoes for several years, because potatoes are so often eaten in unhealthy forms such as french fries and potato chips. That decision was reversed in 2015, because people weren't getting enough starchy vegetables, as well as potassium and fibre, nutrients that are plentiful in potatoes.
White potatoes are ZERO in salicylates

Obviously, for anyone wanting to lower their salicylate intake, white potatoes are extremely important.
In the 1985 Salicylates in Foods study, potatoes were tested as :

   potato, white (with peel) fresh        0.12
   potato, white (no peel) fresh          0

More recently, potatoes are described in the RPAH Elimination Diet Handbook (p 36):

   LOW             Potato  brushed white, peeled
   MODERATE   Potato blue, new, pink, purple, yellow

Why are white potatoes so hard to buy?

"what brand white potatoes are failsafe?... finding it hard to find the right ones. Dutch cream? kestrel are purple aren't they? any help appreciated"  -  Angela

We hear constantly from failsafers like Angela that it is extremely difficult to buy white potatoes, so I went looking and found my answer in a recent article by Mark Llewellyn in the Guardian.

"Why is Australia getting a raw deal on potatoes?" wrote Mark.

His conclusion: that our national market for potatoes has decreased by up to 30% over the past decade. That decrease appears to be due to popular diet books that are negative about carbs, as well as competition from rice and pasta. Robbie Davis, the chief executive of Potatoes South Australia says we need a national education campaign to show that potatoes are fun, sexy and incredibly good for you. For example, in Britain, the British Potato Council has spent the equivalent of around $20m on marketing over the past 10 years.

So there it is: white potatoes are no longer seen as fun and sexy.

A WARNING for all failsafers

Do your best to find WHITE potatoes. It is very frustrating, because sometimes they will be labelled "white potatoes" (like the Coles brand, see photo above)  and when you get them home and peeled they turn out to be cream. Even the cream coloured potatoes are moderate in salicylates. They have to be regarded like carrots or butternut pumpkin, therefore not suitable for your strict elimination diet. We tried growing Kipfler potatoes in our vegie garden one year. If we ever needed a demonstration that too many salicylates make you irritable, that was it. After a lot of arguments that season we agreed to go back to 100% white potatoes.

We are hearing from salicylate-sensitive adults and children that they cannot tolerate a steady diet of cream potatoes or worse still, that the diet didn't work for them - and then it turns out that they included cream coloured potatoes in their 3-week trial of the strict RPAH Eliminination diet. If you fail your salicylate challenge, the next step is try systematic diet liberalisation. You may want to test cream potatoes to see how much you can tolerate. Ask your dietitian (see our list of recommended dietitians)  OR request our Diet Liberalisation sheet if your dietitian hasn't given you one: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

What can you do: ask & complain - often!!!

The very best thing is for ALL failsafers to complain frequently. Supermarkets like to accommodate their customers. Every time you shop you are voting with your dollars. So ask an assistant "where are the white potatoes?", fill in those feedback forms, tell everyone you can see you want white potatoes (and why) - and your family, and all us other failsafers will be extremely grateful :-)


Potatoes have a high GI

Some people think potatoes are bad because they have a high Glycemic Index (GI) but opinions vary about the usefulness of the GI of foods, as you can see from the following table. Snicker bars and potato chips are not a healthier choice than potatoes just because they have a lower GI. The fact is that people don't eat just one food at a time, they combine foods, and as soon as you do that, the GI changes. If you eat potatoes and other high GI foods in a meal with other vegetables, the GI of that meal goes down. Add some oil, as do food manufacturers, and the GI goes down - it is really easy to game the GI so it is not really a useful guide for eating by itself.


100    glucose
82      boiled white potato
70      white bread
68      white rice
55      snickers bar
55      brown rice


54      potato chips
48      green peas
42      oat porridge
38      pears, apples
35      carrots
31      butter beans
28      lentils
22      cashews
15      green beans, lettuce
10      cabbage
 6       hummus


More information

Chris Voigt's entertaining promotional video on potatoes (4 minutes)

A satiety index of common foods. Holt SH et al, Eur J Clin Nutr. 1995 Sep;49(9):675-90.
  The study:
  The Satiety Index List: 

IOM reverses decision on white potatoes

Salicylates in potatoes. Swain, AR and others, Salicylates in Foods, J American Dietetic Ass, 1985;85(8): 950-960.

Half-baked? Why Australia is getting a raw deal on potatoes. Mark Llewellyn, The Guardian 30 September 2015.

Here is a link showing Australian varieties

updated July 2021