Why that ‘healthy’ baked potato is actually a sugar timebomb!

11th June 2018

I HAVE to admit that sometimes the research papers I read really surprise me. Recently I discovered that it’s now been proved that type 2 diabetes can be reversed in as little as three weeks. Not by some new wonderdrug but by something much, much more simple: healthy eating and a little bit of exercise.

For those people who are on the verge of diabetes, the findings are even more exciting. Professor James Barnard at UCLA, who has written more than 200 studies on the relationship between lifestyle habits and chronic disease, recently wrote: “There is much we can do with a healthy lifestyle alone, no medications needed, to prevent diabetes.”

In fact, a healthy lifestyle where you consistently eat good food has proven more effective than medication in staving off diabetes.

So at the start of Diabetes Week, I delved into the research into what kinds of foods are healthiest for us. You won’t be surprised to know the answer is whole foods that are naturally rich in fibre and low in fats and sugars and haven’t been refined in a factory.

That means vegetables, whole fruits (not juices), whole grains, legumes such as peas and beans, non-fat dairy products, and lean meat such as fish and skinless chicken breast.

What will surprise you though is research I discovered that shows the amazing way common carbohydrate foods that we think are healthy contain a lot of glucose which seriously affects our blood sugar levels.

For example, how many people trying to lose weight eat a white baked potato? In fact, a baked potato is converted by the body into the equivalent of eight teaspoons of sugar!

The biggest offender is boiled basmati rice – a 150 gram serving converts into 10 teaspoons of sugar. So keep servings to an absolute minimum. Boiled sweetcorn converts to seven teaspoons, spaghetti converts to just under seven and a banana converts to almost six.

So what foods convert to the smallest amounts of sugar? According to Dr Aseem Malhotra in his ground-breaking book The Pioppi Diet, a raw apple converts to just over two teaspoons, a helping of frozen peas to just over one teaspoon and boiled broccoli to 0.2 teaspoons. Best of all are eggs – which don’t convert to sugar at all.

The conclusion, backed by worldwide medical research, is that eating hardly any processed carbs produces important health benefits – and also helps you to lose weight very effectively. Remember, the key to positive wellbeing is consistent healthy eating.

By the way, if you’re wondering what Pioppi means, it’s a village in Italy where the healthy lifestyle of natural, unprocessed food means people live active, disease-free lives well into their nineties. The oldest inhabitant is 107 and the community is called The Village Where People Forget To Die!

What do you think? Please leave a comment

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Pauline Dalley

Interesting though I think people process baked potatoes differently. And if there is a significant protein filling and the eat the skin its possibly observed more slowly.

Cindy Sharpe-Faal

It makes choosing the best foods more difficult when non processed vegetables contain so much hidden sugar .

Maureen Robertson

Wow this is so unexpected thought these foods were good for you. Thanks for information.


Baked potato is great – just make sure you eat the skin as well! Great article, thank you Sandra.

Wendy Brady

Aways thought a baked spud was a healthy option?! I knew starchy foods converted to sugar, which you lay down as fat in your body if you don’t use up the energy, but had no idea there was so much! Glad I don’t like rice or spaghetti much ???LOL

Freda Lewis

Sandra Roycroft Davis : are sweet potatoes different?

Sandra Roycroft-Davis

Sweet potatoes have more fibre and are slightly lower on the glycemic index than white potatoes. So blood glucose will rise a little more gradually with sweet potatoes than with white potatoes. Sweet potatoes are also a rich source of vitamin A and beta-carotene.

Sylvia Ritchie

Sorry but it is getting to the point were it would be better not to eat anything just drink water. We should just abide by Slimpod motto Eat less, Move more ? Don’t stress, Be happy with your choices x Sylvia


Thank you this information is very informative who would have thought baked jacket potato was that high in sugar ?

Lynne Brown

Interesting, I’ve looked at this diet. It isn’t something I could do, some days there is no breakfast just coffee with coconut cream. There are very mixed reviews for it, some saying it’s just a pick and mix of the Mediterranean diet with a few tweaks

Sandra Roycroft-Davis

I’m not recommending it as a diet, of course. With a Slimpod programme you don’t need to follow eating instructions. I just find it interesting that food we think is good for us turns out not to be!


Will now be swapping my basmati rice to plain boiled. I thought I was being good eating a vegetable Chili with this type of rice! 🙁

Joanne Milnes

That’s really good info thank you Sandra

Liz Riley

Devastating I have been eating baked potatoes and bananas every day thinking I was being healthy!!!! I knew that carbohydrates convert to sugar but not this much. Always eat the skin on baked potatoes but guess being hypothyroid doesn’t help metabolise these foods so quickly before it is laid down as fat

Carol Clark

This article was very informative. It really made you think.


I think it’s important to remember that unless you’re diabetic or prediabetic, then these foods are not unhealthy. We need carbohydrates as part of a balanced diet and a potato contains nutrients unlike biscuits and donuts for example. If you need to watch your blood sugar levels then this is really helpful information but if you don’t, then eat them but just keep an eye on your portion sizes.

Tina Purcell

I always thought baked potatoes were very healthy also one or two of the other foods you mentioned. Thank you for sharing this

h ramsay

Is it true that lentils and pulses are better than potato. How do I use Quinoa?

Sandra Roycroft-Davis

Beans of all kinds such as peas, chickpeas and lentils add texture and flavour to meals and are just as nutritious as meat and fish, giving us iron, fibre and vitamins and minerals.
Here’s some good quinoa recipes courtesy of Readers Digest: https://www.rd.com/health/healthy-eating/what-is-quinoa/

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