New Whole30® Program Rules

We have one big announcement today, in preparation for our site-wide Whole30 program starting August 1st (and pertinent to every Whole30 thereafter). We could give you the whole backstory, or we could just cut to the chase and tell you what’s what.

White potatoes are now allowed on the Whole30 program.

You should know by now we’re big fans of getting right to the point. (But for those of you who want some backstory, keep reading.)

The New Whole30 Program Rules

We are always thinking about the Whole30 program—how to make it better, more effective, easier to follow, and more logical in its framework. The discussion of white potatoes began about a year ago amongst our team and valued advisors, and the debate raged hard and long. White potatoes are a whole, real, nutrient-dense food! It doesn’t make logical sense to leave them out while other carb-dense foods like taro, yuca, or sweet potato are allowed. On the other hand, do people really need more white potatoes in their lives? Many people come to the Whole30 metabolically challenged, overweight, and stuck in poor food habits. They don’t need more energy, and less incentive to try new vegetables or change their habits.

Plus, how do we handle the potato chip/french fry thing?

Eventually, we arrived at a consensus. Potatoes of all varieties are in, but fries and chips are not. (This should not be a surprise. Fries and chips are about as Whole30 as Paleo Pop-Tarts.) We’ve updated all of our Whole30 program rules on the site, and our official Can I Have…? guide with the new rules, and some guidelines about “fries” and “chips.”

Chips or Fries: Not if they’re commercially prepared or deep-fried

While we recognize that potatoes are a real food, we also know that eating them in the form of fries and chips has turned them from “produce” into an adulterated commercial “product.” It’s easy to find sweet potato, beet, or vegetable chips or restaurant fries that meet the Whole30 ingredient standards. It is not easy, however, to consume those fries or chips in a way that’s true to the spirit of the Whole30. It’s hard to find a suitable place for them in our meal planning template (no, half a bag of “Sweets and Beets” is not an appropriate way to fill your plate with vegetables), and even harder to stop yourself from eating them when the designated serving comes to an end. For most of us, chips and fries are a bonafide food-with-no-brakes, and fall into that deep, dark area of less-healthy foods with technically compliant ingredients. For that reason we do not allow commercially-prepared fries or chips, or deep-frying starchy veggies and turning them into fries or chips during your Whole30. (However, if you want to roast some kale until it’s crispy, or thinly slice jicama into a scoop for your guacamole, be our guest.)

We also made one small change that you’re probably already doing, respecting salt. We realized that all iodized table salt contains a form of sugar (dextrose). You smart Whole30’ers were asking, “Does this mean we have to avoid table salt?” That’s conscientious of you, but that would also be nearly impossible. Avoiding table salt means you’d never be able to dine out, eat pre-made food from a deli counter, or buy packaged food from the grocery store! So we’ve added salt as an exception to to the official rules—probably not an actual change for you, but we wanted to spell that out for the Type A overachievers.

Salt: Yes

First, salt makes your food delicious. Second, when you cut out processed and packaged foods, you remove the vast majority of sodium from your diet. Adding salt to your Whole30 plate won’t push you over reasonable sodium limits, and if you avoid salt altogether, you run the risk of an electrolyte imbalance (not to mention serious food boredom). We encourage a mix of iodized table salt and sea salt.

Tip: Did you know that all iodized table salt contains sugar? Sugar (often in the form of dextrose) is chemically essential to keep the potassium iodide from oxidizing and being lost. But remember, salt is an exception to the Whole30 “no added sugar” rules. Without this exception, you’d never be able to eat outside of your own home, because iodized table salt is added to all restaurant and pre-packaged foods.

Get Ready for Your Whole30

So there you have it—two official changes to our Whole30 program. The next site-wide Whole30 program starts August 1st! We’ll have even more resources available for you between now and then (look for new Whole30 recipes using potatoes from your favorite Paleo recipe bloggers and cookbook authors!), and plenty of reminders about the new Whole30 rules across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

So get ready, get set, Whole30! We can’t wait to see the changes you’re about to experience during the month of August.

What do you think about the new Whole30 rules?  Sound off in comments!

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    • Kyle says

      “Lack of healthy carbs” depends on your definitions of “lack” and “healthy” I guess.

      Carbs aren’t absent from the Whole30 meal template, but grains are.

    • Ybus says

      We weren’t sweet potatoes when we started paleo 2 years ago but we are now. Have you tried hash or patties? There are so many ways to have them. For lunch I just had some sautéed and mixed in w my taco meat. Paleomg has a breakfast meatball the has sweet potatoes in them. Soooo many options!

    • Darren says

      White rice has removed most or all the inflammatory “grain” parts. All that is left is the starch. If you read “the perfect health diet”, they kind of go into that. If your husband reintroduces white rice after a whole 30 and doesn’t seem to have a problem with it, I don’t see the harm.

    • Cathy says

      Have you tried other forms of yams and sweet potatoes — like purple yams ( often obtainable at asian stores) or red skinned yams with light colored flesh? They are more dense and less fibrous than the bright orange sweet potatoes and taste nicer in my opinion.

    • Cathy says

      With regard to white rice — if you read up about resistant starch — cooked white rice that is eaten cold or gently rewarmed is an excellent source of resistant starch — it might not be Whole 30 Compliant but hey if it means your DH is about to throw in the towel — I say go for it and include it in your cooking. Better that than to abandon the whole program.

      I’ve been including lots of resistant starch in my diet lately — if it feeds my gut bacteria I’m all for it..

    • says

      Recommended consumption depends entirely on your individual psychological and physical context. If you are active, healthy, and lean, you may include potatoes every day in some form or another, to ensure you are getting adequate carbohydrates to support your activity level. If you’re sedentary, overweight, and otherwise metabolically challenge, you’ll probably eat none during your program (or very few, in very limited amounts).


  1. Sheri N. says

    I am excited but a little afraid :) I am doing great with the old way…now I am afraid I might go berserk and eat a ton of potatoes!
    Thanks for adding these. I have come to love cauliflower “potatoes” and sweet potato fries, this is one more reason to love Whole 30!

    • Lari says

      I’m not afraid. And I won’t eat them. I know what works for me and just because some group of people have decided that they want potatoes to be “paleo” doesn’t mean that I have to eat them as part of a paleo regimen. I don’t use resistant starch, I don’t practice IF. I know potatoes, sweet or otherwise, as well as rice, will make me gain weight and crave sweets so, Whole30 or not, they won’t be back in my house.

    • Brittany says

      Then just don’t eat them. I won’t be eating potatoes when I do another W30 because I need to stay away from them. I could eat 6 cups of mashed potatoes and keep going if you let me. I could eat two large french fries orders and keep going if you let me. One of the best parts of my first W30 was that I broke my reliance on potatoes and corn as ‘vegetables’. So stick with the ‘old’ rules if you have a potato problem. :)

    • Marcus says

      I’m with Lari and Brittany. Just because they’re allowed, doesn’t mean you have to eat them. Sunflower seed butter is allowed, but if I have it in the house I’ll demolish the whole jar, and it’s 3,000+ calories, in less than a week.

  2. Jen says

    I have not missed white potatoes at all and I’m sad that you’re allowing them now. Leaving them out has forced me to try so many new veggies. I would rather eat some real veggies than have a pile of mashed potatoes any day anyway.

  3. Sara says

    I think this is a fantastic step in the right direction! I’ve had to explain to clients, multiple times, why potatoes were not allowed while feeling like I was lying since I always viewed them as real whole food.

    Welcome back white tators!

  4. Jennifer says

    I love that you guys are willing to research and adapt as necessary, rather than get stuck in a Paleolithic rut! Thanks for showing us that we all adapt as we learn and grow.

    As whole 30 is ridiculously personal, I believe white potatoes will fall into my own personal “don’t list”, where nut butters and coffee also reside. I have a hard time practicing moderation with these items and so they are a personal no go. But that’s the beauty of this program!! What’s a psychological ” no ” for me might just civics someone else that a whole30 is actually a doable program.

    Again, thanks for your commitment to personal health!!!

  5. Clare says

    my Irish eyes want to smile- BIG time- but I am not sure I can have a healthy relationship with the potato….

  6. says

    Great addition for endurance athletes doing Whole30. In the summer, when winter squash is unobtainable, sweet potatoes every day get really old. I seem to recall reading something on your site about potato skins being bad? Is that still a thing?

  7. Peppylemew says

    I think this is a mistake. After finishing my whole 30, I tried some potatoes and that night and went from sleeping like a log (as I had for the last for 6 weeks) to spending the restlessly tossing and turningvall night long. Had I not been forced by the plan to eliminate white potatoes I would have never discovered how they negatively effect me!
    I also think this allowance will contribute to riding the blood sugar roller coaster as well as cheating with fries. Bad decision folks.

    • Anonymous says

      Maybe you are sensitive to the nightshade family. It is hard to overeat on baked potatoes with no butter or sour cream in my experience. Prepared simply they are a filling food with lots of nutrients that are good for people with higher carbohydrate needs or just as an occasional addition for variety.

  8. says

    Typos corrected. Wrote too fast. You people are good at sniffing out secrets, and I had to get this up sooner than planned.

    Just because something is allowed doesn’t mean you have to indulge, overeat, or even eat it at all. Kohlrabi is allowed, but do you eat it? Bacon-Sunbutter-banana-dried cranberry “sandwiches” are allowed, but would that be a psychologically healthy choice for most people? Or anyone, for that matter?

    Potatoes are in because if you need the extra energy (as an athlete or active individual) they are a good option with none of the potential downsides of grains. If you are in a healthy place metabolically and psychologically (like me) and can afford to include some mashed potatoes or roasted fingerlings now and again, feel free! But just because you CAN doesn’t mean you SHOULD. Use your own judgment based on your own context. And if white potatoes just aren’t in your future, this new rule change has literally no effect on your healthy eating plan.


    • says

      I think this is great. And clearly, it’s meant to be tempered with good sense. Metabolically-challenged individuals (like me) have to treat it like we did all easy carb-dense sources: with restraint. Don’t eat ALL the mashed potatoes.

    • Heidi says

      Melissa I did whole 30
      And now as a family we are trying it. I love that I can add potatoes in moderation for my kiddos :)

    • says

      Is there a good way to assess how best to moderate this (or any) carb source? I am on day 7, and I’m using sweet potatoes, fruit, starchy veggies to battle constant hunger and cravings, on the advice of the site (“Eat carbs!”) and within the confines (mostly) of the basic meal plan. Is there somewhere I should be looking to assess correct quantities? I would consider myself to be sedentary, and metabolically challenged.


    • Julie says

      Just make sure to PEEL them — the majority of the toxins are in the peels — and avoid green parts. A little serving of garlic mashed taters with my grilled filet mignon will not wreck a year’s worth of hard work — it’s giving me more choice and variety in my healthy diet.

    • Laura says

      To “A” – If you are constantly hungry and having cravings, I would say you should eat fewer high-carb foods, and choose lower-carb veggies and a LOT more protein. I’m 2 weeks into my first whole 30, and at the beginning the biggest adjustment for me was eating so much protein – I went from eating meat once a day at most, and some days not at all, to eating meat or eggs at all 3 meals almost every day. It felt really strange at first, but once I adjusted, I feel great, am hardly ever hungry (unless I haven’t eaten in 6+ hours), and my energy level is consistent and high. In my experience, eating LOTS of protein is what is going to make you feel full. And when you are full and satisfied, cravings are much less frequent and much easier to resist – and the longer you resist cravings, the rarer they become! Good luck!

    • Elizabeth says

      YES!!! This was VERY exciting for me to hear – mostly because of my husband. As we are on our 2nd Whole30 we have to treat our plates very differently, and I knew he was needing a little more. My husband, a military man, very active, and whose body composition is a LOT healthier than mine needs to eat a little differently than me. I’m a stay at home mom – with some activity but not much, and I’m overweight. So when I roasted potatoes for dinner the other night did I have any?! Nope. That super energy was for him and our son – not me. That’s a hard issue to come to terms with when you’re allowed to have something, but it doesn’t mean that you should. The Whole30 had taught me a lot about that. Thanks!

    • Mariah says

      This is really helpful. As a distance runner training for a marathon, it’s hard to get the dense starches I need for a long run. Being able to eat a potato before and maybe carry some sweet potato slices with me or something will make this program a lot easier to stick with. The basic rule for marathon is 100 calories or so of starch every 45 minutes, so it can get bulky!

    • says

      Hi Melissa, Its been 2 years on since my last reboot just before my wedding, started day 1 today. See the change to include potatoes, yay. I like this comment you created, but unfortunately only read the comments after i ate 2 baby potatoes. I know its not a train smash, and while I do gym quite a bit, I am still on the heavier side. So i think it may be on my no list for a while, until I get to where you are. Think it would be a good idea for you to include this comment in the body of the article itself. Just a thought. Thanks again for an amazing site!

    • says

      The whole distinction “psychologically healthy” has been, bar none, the most valuable piece I have learned from you guys. Thanks for being the first protocol- of dozens!-that addresses this aspect of healing head on.

      I always thought I was attending to my overall health in previous approaches, but without this aspect being addressed I feel like I was destined to always have the focus be on the rules and on the scale, ultimately avoiding accountability, avoiding being present in my own skin as it is, avoiding moving through difficult emotional spaces, avoiding the arduous task of building my own inner strength and being the only one in control of my health. Day 14 of my 1st Whole30 and you’ve made me- or rather, empowered me to make myself- a stronger person. I can’t thank you enough.

  9. Jennifer says

    I LOVE the change. I’ve never been able to get my husband to try the whole 30 because he’s a “meat, bread, and potatoes” kind of guy. Although he will eat the occasional sweet potato, it has to be drenched in butter and cinnamon and usually only in a pie form.

    This is a game changer for my household. I saw the announcement on Instagram and HAD to come read the blog right away. Thanks so much for continually thinking of the people behind the program!

  10. Nikki says

    It just says white potatoes are allowed but since this site can be very detailed about what is acceptable and not.. Does this mean that Yellow, Purple, and other varieties of potato are still off limits? I just don’t want to question this or explain it wrong if someone asks.

    • Liz says

      It says in the announcement “Potatoes of all varieties are in, but fries and chips are not.” So to me that says yes to all colors & types of spuds. :)

    • Cathy says

      I think they are using the term “white potatoes” to distinguish them from sweet potatoes. Purple, yellow, red and white potatoes are all different varieties of potato, which are nightshades and not related to sweet potatoes. I think, from what they have said, that you are okay with any of the varieties of potato.

  11. KarraLynn says

    I think this is great. Potatoes get such a bad rap, but when prepared correctly – and relied upon as a base for every single meal – they are a healthy choice.

    I’m doing my research now in preparation to start my first Whole30. I almost never eat potatoes, and chips/fries/etc are not a problem for me. However, I’ve come across so many Whole30 recipes that look amazing – but use sweet potatoes. I can’t stand sweet potatoes. This takes so much pressure off me in regards to the planning (and sustainability) aspect.

    I wish I could start at the beginning of August with the site, but I won’t get rolling until August 18. I can’t wait!

  12. Nan says

    I am thrilled. I successfully completed 2 whole30’s without them, and while I understood the reasoning, I didn’t agree with it. And I gag on sweet potatoes. I tried them, I really did. But vomit. Cooked, sweet vegetables just don’t agree with me (though I love some raw carrots and beets in my salad). I never saw potatoes as being significantly different than fruit (especially dried fruit). Something you need to view with honesty and assess where your food weaknesses lie. I’ll be honest – I’m already strictly regulate dried fruit (next to none unless in a pinch) and limit fresh fruits. I will do the same with potatoes. Baked and mashed offer too many SWYPO opportunities – they are off the table for me. Roasted potatoes once or twice during the whole, with lots of other veg options? Great variety and comfort food! The ability to improve my breakfast – where I’ve frequently struggled to feel full and avoid sugar – with a small portion of gold and purple potato hash? Excellent. Most excellent. This definitely makes me more excited for my next whole!

  13. georgia says

    This is great news for my Mum who’s a veggie and doesn’t particularly like eggs! She loves potatoes and this will mean she has no excuses now :)

  14. says

    I personally think this is great news for this program. It makes eating out a little more doable because often restaurants don’t offer many vegetables sides with a salmon or chicken dish….but a baked or roasted potatoes (cooked in oil hopefully) are!

    I think that people need to venture out and try new veggies – celery root, jicama, squashes, bok choy, cauliflower…etc. but a potato is still a great side to be allowed from time to time… the issue with it is certainly the product it has become (just the same as sweet potato is becoming).

  15. says

    I also think that if people are concerned with not trying new veggies they should really get a CSA box from a local farm. We try all sorts of new things because we have to whatever they give us each week!

  16. Linda says

    This makes a HUGE difference to me. I can give up many carbs and processed foods, but potatoes are a staple for me and help keep me satisfied.

  17. Jenn says

    So, should they be cooked and cooled then reheated? Trying to remember what Rob Wolf has posted about whites lately. I think they will be a sometimes for me. I like sweet potatoes better, but therecareca few times I miss them.

  18. says

    Glad to see the potatoes added to the plan. Although I came to that conclusion awhile back on my own because sometimes it just makes me feel better. But I’m puzzled at why no butter? Seems the fat/protein of butter would balance the metabolic breakdown of the carb.

    Secondly, the salt issue is disturbing! Suddenly processed salt with sugar is ok? For me at least this screams of capitulating!! I understand there isn’t a lot of control when eating out but all other times sea salt is a much better option. It is better balanced from a mineral standpoint and does NOT contain sugar! As an alternative practitioner I use the Whole 30 for nutritional counseling and always advise my patients to use sea salt … preferably Himalayan pink rock salt they can grind onto foods. Processed salt is a processed ‘food’ and has no place in Whole30. Do some research on this and please reconsider. Get your iodine from sea veggie sources if that’s a concern.

    • says

      Margaret, using ONLY sea salt would make the program nearly impossible for people to complete. Not being able to eat table salt means people could never, ever dine out (all restaurants use table salt), or purchase a pre-packaged food like chicken broth (which uses table salt to season).

      The tiny amount of dextrose in table salt is only used to stablize the iodine, not to sweeten the salt. Let’s not fearmonger–are we really trying to scare people out of eating plain old salt? That’s taking “healthy eating” way too far for us.


    • says

      I did acknowledge in my initial post that eating away from home is a challenge when trying to avoid processed salt. However it does not enter my home cooking ever! Even my chicken stock is made with sea salt … see Costco Organic Chicken stock made with sea salt. In modern day life it is impossible to avoid all processed salt but with a little effort it can be severely reduced just like sugar. After 30 years of nutritional counseling I see this as no different than the fear mongering over sugar. I’d be happy to support that with research and literature if you’d like. Iodized processed salt is white powder with no nutritional value albeit the iodine that is added and totally out of balance for the human body physiologically. Fear mongering? Seriously YOU said that? After telling people not to eat grains that they’ve eaten their entire lives? While I support your program and advocate it to my patients with wonderful results I will stick with no processed salt in my version of your program. Not that I think you can avoid it altogether but once you give someone permission to use something less than optimum they will not strive to make that change because you said it was okay.

    • Dileho says

      I concur with Margaret. No to iodized processed table salt! It’s certainly not plain old salt. I choose to say ‘hold the bread’ when dining out and easily say hold the salt too.

      Neither will I eat canola oil in my W30, bc it’s another poor choice considering the damage it can do.

      Just because restaurants use iodized salt doesn’t mean you should allow it in your body or on this w30 plan. Seriously a weak argument to condone its consumption as well as for canola.

      Do your own research and decide for yourself

  19. says

    Wait, I’m confused. I thought food either makes you healthier or less healthy. Those are the options, right? No food neutral. No food Switzerland.

    So how did potatoes switch teams? Same potato, right?

    • KarraLynn says

      They have said repeatedly that the potato is not an unhealthy food – but it was banned because many people are addicted to the many unhealthy preparations (chips, fries, tator tots, etc). Because of a lot of people can’t control themselves, they felt is was best to ban the potato. However, a lot of people eat potatoes in a healthy way, and therefor shouldn’t be limited to sweet potatoes.

    • says

      We eliminate grains and pseudo-cereals, for the reason that the pseudo-cereals (like quinoa) may have some of the same protein downsides. However, most people find they can reintroduce quinoa after their Whole30 with no issue.


  20. shieldmaiden1196 says

    Since grocery store potatoes are kinda dirty dozeny, I’ll probably limit my enjoyment to the wee Swedish peanut variety available at my growers market this time of year. They are like tiny Yukon golds, best roasted in the cast iron skillet with rosemary, sea salt and quality olive oil. I don’t miss potatoes. Mashed cauliflower reheats nicer!

  21. Kim says

    Because I eat no wheat or grains due to diabetes I will not be adding white potatoes back into my regular diet. They are a cheat food for me that I plan for because I know they will raise my blood sugar.

  22. James Bates says

    The fact that you people let this site dictate what you eat and “welcome back” potatoes for you is ******* hilarious.

    • Anon says

      I agree, James. This is disordered eating at its finest. The fact that this was debated for so long only makes it more hilarious and screwed up.

  23. Haley says

    Yay Taters (okay so i was cooking them anyway we Have 5 kids and the only way to get the sweet potatoes in was hide them in with white potatoes, yellow potatoes etc) anyway I am happy that I can continue to do so Guilt Free and we no longer have go without during our whole 30’s making them easier to do. And I notices someone mentioned rice again not my husband being the issue but the Horde of children we omit rice for the 30 days of whole 30 and then we reintroduce it once a week. the whole 30 is only 30 days its not that hard.

  24. says

    Too much of anything is not necessarily a good thing. Moderation is the way to go. If you don’t want to add or continue eating potatoes, you’re still good. We’re adults making adult decisions about how we wish our bodies to be treated. I’m a ‘can’t eat wheat’ and ‘can’t eat legumes’ kind of person. But that’s me. It’s not all of us. I can and do eat new potatoes in small amounts with minimal increase in blood sugar. If I add wheat or legumes to my diet, up it goes.

    Just like Larabars and other foods we eat that are technically W30 compliant, potatoes can be part of our plate, but not in an every meal, every day kind of way. At least not for me.

    Personally, I’ve done my best to like sweet potatoes and it’s just not happening :)

    • Terri says

      Larabars aren’t W30 compliant because they are made with dried fruit – dates

      EDITED BY MELISSA: Actually, most varieties of Larabars are compliant. Dried fruit is not off-limits during the program, we just caution you not to treat it like candy.

    • Nick Kirkes says

      All varieties of potatoes (white, red, purple, sweet, yams, fingerling, baby, etc.) are permitted now.

      Melissa (logged in as Nick, because we’re having trouble with my log-in)

  25. A! says

    Potato salad with eggs, lots of fresh veggies and homemade mayo!! Yum!! What a great addition just in time for summer!

    • karen says

      i don’t care about eating the potatoes with a meal so much, but will enjoy to have potato salad with homemade mayo once in a while….yea

  26. LM says

    “Just because something is permissible, doesn’t mean it’s beneficial.” :)

    I don’t miss potatoes at all. Now if this was about ice cream… LOL!

  27. Deanna says

    Love this new addition! While I personally will still be staying away from potatoes, my husband, who is very active and has high metabolism, will richly benefit from them!

  28. says

    Woot, I can make Whole30 potato salad! I’m glad they’re on the “approved” list. I understand why they weren’t approved before (there ARE other vegetables for starch/carbs), and the limitation did help me branch out and discover the joys of spaghetti squash and beets. Now that they’re game I doubt I’ll use them as my go-to carb, but it’s good to know in case I’m at an event with limited food choices (i.e. a restaurant that serves baked potatoes, or something).

  29. Kara says

    Sooo, just thinking, if you need to redo the shopping list to add potatoes, maybe the vegetables could be split into starchy veges and non starchy veges. There often seems to be a lot of confusion by people over which higher carb veges they can include in their diets :)

  30. says

    You guys, all varieties of potatoes are good to go. Red, purple, white, Yukon gold, fingerling, baby… And probably a bunch of varieties I don’t even know exist. We lump them all under the header of “white potatoes” to distinguish them from the botanical category of sweet potatoes or yams.

  31. Abby says

    Ok so it’s probably a bad sign that I even need clarification on this but what about oven roasted fries, sweet potato or otherwise?! I LOVE the addition of the “no commercial chip” rule because I had a plantain chip problem (I didn’t even buy them for my second round!). But I don’t deep fry fries when I make them at home, I roast them with olive oil, which I did with sweet potatoes during my first two rounds, not really realizing that would be SWYPO.
    What about gluten-free gnocchi? I may have trouble recognizing SWYPO gray areas.
    Honestly the thing I’m most excited about is being able to add white potatoes to veggie frittatas for breakfast, this new addition makes me think I can start my 3rd round soon!

    • Nick Kirkes says


      Read the “can I have” guide with respect to chips and fries. Basically any preparation method (baking, boiling, microwaving, steaming, roasting, pan-frying, grilling, sauteeing, etc.) are A-OK. Deep-frying, however, is not.

      Making pasta with alternative flours is never okay on the program.


  32. Kirsten says

    I avoid table salt because it’s nutritionally void. All the research that shows salt is bad for you is based on table salt consumption. Natural salts, like sea salts, and pink himalayan salt has tons of trace minerals and has actually been shown to improve heart health. I liberally salt all my food with himalayan salt. If you eat plenty of fish and sea salt, and maybe a little kelp (nori or sea snacks?) you will get plenty of iodine, plus it’s in a more readily available form than the potassium iodide they add to table salt.

  33. Andi says

    I’m not a potato girl (hell no to mashed, baked, salads, etc) but if I had to choose a final meal, I would choose french fries. No hesitation. Load me up. Having said that, commercially fried or deep fried white potatoes are a no-no but what about sweet potato or white potato fries done in an Acti-Fry with coconut oil? I don’t own an Acti-Fry but it states it only uses a tablespoon of oil per batch, which is approximately 2.2lb of potatoes. The concept sounds legit – Yes? No?

    • Nick Kirkes says

      Andi, you are working way too hard to keep your beloved fries in the program. It’s only 30 days. Find another way to eat your vegetables.


  34. Molly says

    I actually really doubt that IODIZED salt is added to processed foods. I bet it’s just normal salt. Hoping you really looked into that!

    Quick google with the first company I thought of…Lays, for example, does NOT used iodized salt.

    • Nick Kirkes says

      Molly, do you really want to ask your waiter what kind of salt is added to all of your dishes, or call/Google the headquarters of every single product you buy at the grocery store to discern whether they use iodized salt or not? This rule was a no-brainer–let’s just not worry ourselves with this level of detail.


  35. kim says

    Aren’t “white” potatoes inflammatory therefore not good for arthritis sufferers or those with systemic inflammation? I personally find that my hips & other joints don’t ache/creak or groan without them in my diet.

  36. k says

    finally! I never understood why normal potatoes were not allowed. now, I find this official change reassuring me that I truly understood the basis of Whole30 :)

  37. scott says

    I don’t quite understand your thinking in relation to frying the potato? If I fry them in coconut oil, how is that any less valuable to me than if I eat them baked?

    • Nick Kirkes says

      Read the “can I have” guide with respect to chips and fries. Basically any preparation method (baking, boiling, microwaving, steaming, roasting, pan-frying, grilling, sauteeing, etc.) are A-OK. Deep-frying, however, is not, because of the psychological impact. (Eating french fries and potato chips is about as un-Whole30 as you can get.)


  38. Barb says

    After almost 2 yearsI feel it is ok to have potato but they seem not agree with me. I have put them in stew last winter 1 potato and everything went off. Next time I made the stew I used white sweet potato and all was right. My 18 year old grandson does not like sweet pots and he loved the stew. So I think I will not add it back in our lifestyle.
    But thank you for giving us more. Choices

  39. James says

    I think you are hypocritical in a way. You write that your goal is to appeal to as many people as possible, to help them change their relationship with food. But you assume that people have a sugar issue, have been eating baked goods, and that they do NOT have a fried foods issue. So you say that frying chicken with almond flour is “fine”. But making a flax, egg and spices kind of mini omelet, is NOT, as you would call this “swypo”.

    You note how unhealthy canola oil and vegetable oils are, but you allow people to eat them, out in restaurants, so that people will be able to dine out while on whole 30. I feel it would be much more beneficial if you would just take a strong stand on what you deem healthy: and not make a concession simply to make it easier for people to eat in restaurants!

    You assume people don’t have a white potato issue, by allowing white potatoes. And many people do.

    I feel that IF whole 30 is truly context dependent, it’s really up to the individual to take responsibility, and to acknowledge their own eating imbalancs and eating issues. Some people have issues with using too much salt, causing high blood pressure, just as others have issues using too much sugar or sweeteners. Yet you assume that every person came from a SAD diet, eating lots of processed foods, and that their “thing” is eating lots of baked goods, sweet stuff, you project perhaps whatever your experience was, and imagine this is how it was for others.

    If Health and Changing Peoples Relationships with Food, is your goal, first and foremost as you state, then perhaps the best way to address it is to have sections: that is, The “In Context” guide to whole 30. ie: perhaps a quiz people can take to find out or acknowledge what their “thing” is: or things. ie: Is Over spicing and Salt their thing? Is baking their thing? Have they lived a life of imbalance (example) with pastries, pies cakes cookies? Or perhaps they have not. Is munching and lack of awareness in eating snacks, ie nuts & seeds, their issue? I feel your absolute strong and inflexible stand on what you call “swypo” over generalizes and makes erroneous assumptions about people doing whole 30. And that for those who do not and did not have sugar issues, or sweet tooths, to prohibit baking with almonds and eggs, as example, (but not to prevent almond meal fried chicken) is hypocritical. And does not get to the core issue of helping people really to change their relationship with food.

    • Nick Kirkes says


      I hear you–I do. We’ve done the best we can to build a program that works as well as possible for as many people as possible. It’s not perfect. No nutrition plan ever could be. It makes assumptions, because we have to assume (and because we have tens of thousands of data points–participants–to build those assumptions on). It’s not 100% black and white because little in life is. But it’s the best we can do, and for most people who complete the program, it works really damn well.

      Remember, this program was created by two human beings, just doing the best they can to share what they’ve learned in the way that will translate to as many people as possible. I’m proud of what we’ve done, even if its not perfect, and we’ll continue to look for ways to try to make it better while still keeping it as simple as possible for people to actually accomplish. Because what good is the “perfect” program if it’s unattainable for most?


  40. Alexa says

    Great! Beans next? I still don’t get why beans are out. They appear to meet the above criteria. They are “whole, real, nutrient-dense foods.” And yes, I know about the anti-nutrients, but don’t eggs and nightshades contain them as well? And, they’re allowed. #imissbeans :)

  41. Elizabeth says

    I am disappointed in the change. I have SIBO, and have thus had to severely restrict my consumption of starchy carbohydrates- no sweet potato, white potato, taro, arrowroot, etc. Using the term “paleo” when searching for recipes/cookbooks used to be very helpful in keeping with my diet. However, as more “paleo” cooks add white potatoes and rice back into their diets, the term “paleo” is becoming useless and obsolete. Before I found “paleo”, I formerly used “low carb” – but much of that food philosophy includes fake sugars and other dubious substitutions. “Gluten-free” isn’t much help, as it typically emphasizes grain flours or starch substitutes. SCD is closest- but it officially includes beans (too carb-y for me!)!

    • Nick Kirkes says


      I THINK THIS IS A GOOD THING. You are now forced to rely on your own research and your own knowledge to make the decisions that are right for you. You’ll make much healthier choices if they come from your own experience, hard work, and knowledge-gathering than if you rely blindly on what some website tells you is okay for you to eat. I know it’s more work, but it will pay off in the long run!


  42. Donna says

    I appreciate the fact that you are interested in making the program adaptable. Question though: I often make sweet potato or parsnips chips (fries) by boiling and then baking them. Would this same reparation technique be allowable for white potatoes?

    • Nick Kirkes says

      Read the “can I have” guide with respect to chips and fries. Basically any preparation method (baking, boiling, microwaving, steaming, roasting, pan-frying, grilling, sauteeing, etc.) are A-OK. Deep-frying, however, is not.


  43. istara says

    If Whole30 was a “plan for life” rather than just 30 days, this would be ok. But the reality is that it’s a a reset. It’s about giving yourself a break from carb-heavy foods and basing your meals around vegetables. This will simply reverse that positive change.

    The problem is that many people lack self-discipline but your rules gave it to them. Although they could of course still cheat, they clearly wanted to follow the instructions give. To feel that they had “succeeded” at Whole30, perhaps, similarly to other short-term challenges (where one could also cheat) such as the Nanowrimo novel-in-a-month contest. It has rules, and people choose to obey them.

    Now, green-lit, they will mounds of mashed potato drenched in oil and salt. Instead of trying sweet potato or yuca, they’ll simply stuff up on spuds. Because potatoes are cheap, easy, tasty and familiar. The motive to challenge yourself has gone.

    Given the longer term interest in your plan, perhaps it would instead make sense to create second phase, a “Whole365″ where certain rules are relaxed? For example, you might allow weekly paleo treats, or occasional soy sauce for those who don’t have a sensitivity. White potatoes would fit perfectly with this.

    They may technically “fit” with Whole30 as you define it. But the reality is that they are going to wreck most people’s good intentions.

    • Teresa says

      I love this idea. I’m thinking of staying on Whole 30 for more than 30 days, so I like this option. I have a lot of weight to lose and other health issues to repair, so 30 days is a great start, but I need a plan to follow for a longer period of time.

    • Nick Kirkes says

      Istara, we can only direct and monitor participants so much. Could you eat a bacon/sunbutter/dried cranberry “sandwich” on top of mashed potatoes three meals a day, 30 days in a row? Yep, and you’d still be perfectly compliant with the Whole30.

      People have to take responsibility for their own program.

      Just because someone MIGHT abuse the rules or the spirit/intention of the program doesn’t mean the fault is in the rules. We’ve created the best logical framework we can. What people choose to do with that is their business, and they are the only ones who deal with the consequences, too.


  44. Teresa says

    I think this is great. I probably won’t eat them on a regular basis, but nice to know I can have them occasionally – like when eating out or for holidays where potatoes are a traditional food in our family.

  45. Corbie Mitleid says

    OKay, I’m in. Mind you, I will be doing this when I am on the road literally half of August (15 days out of 31) but will do my damnedest to work it.

  46. Patti says

    I’ll leave white potatoes out too when I am on the Whole30. No reason to go looking for trouble. I haven’t even eaten them while not strictly doing the Whole30. Instead, I’ve learned to appreciate a lot of wonderful food that used to go missing from my diet.

    As to the husband who wants to quit over rice – he may never have been in it to begin with and is looking for a reason to quit. Remind him that it is just 30 days. Then he can re-introduce rice.

    And, is it me, or do people seem to be continually confused over the Whole30?? 1. It is not forever; and 2. if you eat non-compliant foods (i.e., “Let him eat rice”), then you are not doing the Whole30. The best thing for me about the Whole30 is that it truly fits into KISS mode.

  47. says

    I actually do prefer sweet potatoes over regular nightshade potatoes (although I have a certain fondness for the Yukon golds). It’s good to leave potatoes out on the table as an option — even if I will limit them, as I do the sweet potatoes.

    We’re not all the same, and I’m glad to see this plan reflect this.

  48. jolamik says

    Honestly, I did the whole30 with white potatoes, it wasn’t my basic food of course, but it was really hard to me find sweet potatoes, so I have replaced them with white one :) and it was clear to me that fries or chips are some kind of excess… I think that the most important thing in whole30 is to eat the real food and pay your attention to whole (sorry for that) shitty food around us :)
    and greetings from Poland :)

  49. Cindy says

    Frankly, I don’t understand why so many are upset about being “allowed” to eat potatoes again! It’s not that potatoes have suddenly become ok, it’s that the Paleo/real food philosophy is still in its infancy! As time goes by, we are learning more, and hopefully adapting.
    Probably the most important thing I’ve learned through Paleo is that we all need to LISTEN TO OUR OWN BODY. After 6-7 months of 100% compliance on low-carb Paleo, my chronic health conditions got worse to the point I couldn’t stand up or leave the house. Where was this wonderful promised transformation? My Paleo hopes were shattered. I tried sweet potato, no improvement. In desperation, I had some basmati rice and within 2 days I felt better than I had in 6 MONTHS. But rice is not ideal for my gut at the moment, so I tried white potatoes and found they give me the same energy boost – I realise now it’s because both are simple starches, complex starches being too, well, complex for me to process and effectively convert the energy. Potatoes have actually (yippee!) become part of my overall treatment.

    So for me, I say hello potatoes! And goodbye Paleo police! If you don’t want spuds, don’t eat em!
    And a big well done to whole30 for having the courage and openmindedness to adapt and apply new findings. Respect.

    • says

      @Cindy – We are all different, and the best approach to life after Whole30 is find what works for YOU! I’m happy to hear that you did. Good luck!

  50. Jael says

    What potatoes are classified as “white” (other than sweet potatoes? I get russet & red skinned but what about Yukon gold or yellow potatoes?

  51. Tina says

    I am waiting for your book to ship also well fed 1 and 2. August sounds doable and I have read every post and blog and article online (my ass is sore from sitting for hours) I just want to commend you and your hubby for the vast amount of patience you must have to deal with all of these repeat posts, negative posts or plain useless comments that I have spent the last 3 days wading through. You don’t want potatoes added, don’t eat them. Done. Lord that was easy wasn’t it?
    Can’t wait for book to deliver,

  52. Rayca says

    Ya (that’s right, Ya !!) gotta love these folks that constantly have to critique spelling. And then they get the grammar wrong?? HAHAHAHA. What a joke. Enough already. Nobody cares you can spell. I know how to brush my teeth. Big whoop.

  53. AGS says

    I have to stop following- I can’t be part of this ridiculousness any longer. Potatoes are real food and always have been. Thanks for allowing people to eat them. How much money will you make on your next cookbook w the headline “including all potatoes!!!!
    Oprah blesses you

  54. CFB says

    Instead of “If sweet potato, why not white potato?” the question should have been “why sweet potato?”. Honestly these are low nutrient density foods compared to their caloric intake, which is heavy carb. While paleo, whole 30 and other plans haven’t (to my knowledge) stated high nutrient density and reduced carbohydrate load to the calorie as a primary objective, it really is the central key to how these diets work to stabilize blood sugar and help lose weight.

    And I know, its not a diet promoted for weight loss. However, in the absence of thousands of instagram photos showing thinner people after 30 days, I doubt many would have ever heard of whole30. If you’re shooting for or liking your weight loss on this plan, try skipping all root vegetables you can’t eat raw.

  55. Alice says

    The USDA Food and Nutrition service have banned white potatoes for a long time as not a nutritionally acceptable food for their Women Infants and Children program. It is also not recommended for the school lunch program. I’m inclined to go with the nurtitionists.

  56. Liliane says

    I bought organic baby reds at my local farmers market and cut them small. I added double the amount of Brussels sprouts and sautéed it all in coconut oil with French grey salt and pepper. Delicious and so glad to eat them in occasion:) I am overweight and definitely metabolically challenged. Moderation is the key. My family was stoked:)

  57. says

    Having potatoes compliant has not changed my overall eating. I still use sweet potatoes to make rice, cauliflower in a mash, and rutabagas as an option. I have had some new potatoes and probably always will. The other three I added to my life due to W30. They did change the way I look at food!

  58. Dawn Parrish says

    Can we assume that this includes red skinned potatoes? The texture is a bit different, so I thought it best to not assume.

  59. BluePony says

    Where on earth did you all come up with the thought that a Potato {white, yellow, blue etc.} is a nutrient dense whole food????
    They are 92% carbs and 7% protein with tiny amounts of other vitamins. Hello?

  60. Anita says

    The problem with white (Irish) potatoes is that they are nightshade vegetables which contain solanine, a close relative of nicotine and is highly addictive. This is why people overindulge in potatoes. The fact that they are fried as chips or french fries doesn’t make them any more evil. Bluepony is also correct in that they are mostly a filler full of carbs. If you are Solanine sensitive they can cause extreme swelling in the joints and digestive system, sleep disturbances, and depression. I have heard it said that if the nightshade vegetables were just discovered they would not be approved for human consumption due to the problems they can cause.

    • says


      There is absolutely no evidence that nightshade plants are addictive–you’ve extrapolated out some conclusions here that just aren’t supported in the literature. Yes, some people (particularly those with autoimmune diseases or joint issues) react negatively to nightshades, but that doesn’t mean nightshade vegetables can’t be a healthy choices for the rest of us, in the right context.


  61. Parker Beck says

    So they have no inflammatory properties but were they originally banned?

    You mentioned overweight people with an unhealthy relationship to chips/french fries should avoid potatoes, but I’m slightly underweight trying to make big gains at the gym. It seems that potatoes would be an easy way to get those extra needed calories, but I’ve been avoiding them because I thought they were “unhealthy.” And the term “nightshade” does sound a little sinister, doesn’t it?

    Just trying to make sense of it all. Carry on.

    • says


      Nightshades (as a group) may be inflammatory in certain populations, but they don’t negatively impact enough people for us to rule them out of the program for that reason. (Some people are allergic to oranges, too, but in general, oranges are a healthy choice for most.) We explained why we originally left them out (first, because they “weren’t Paleo,” and later because we were afraid people would abuse their inclusion). But if you’re lean, healthy, and active, white potatoes are probably a good choice as part of your varied vegetable intake.


  62. says

    I’ve read through and I’m thinking of introducing the WHOLE30 to my blog, and sharing the idea to all my blog readers. I’ll refer them to your site of course so that they can read through for themselves. It’ll cost me a lot to start up, cos I’ll buy a fridge for myself… Lol. Anyway I love the program and I’m looking forward to getting started

  63. says

    THANK YOU!!!! This is MUSIC to my ears! I have tried, MULTIPLE ways with sweet potatoes/yam and I just strongly dislike that “sweet” taste. I have read some of the above comments and will go in search of the Japanese sweet potatoes, but in the mean time, this is awesome!

    I don’t have a “potatoe problem” so it’s nice to be able to add them to lunches or supper.

    Thank you so so so much for this!

  64. RapmasterD says

    This is good. Now my wife, on Day 3, is not killing me after I fall asleep. BTW, if you compare the nutritional profile of white potatoes and sweet potatoes, they’re not wholly dissimilar. Erego, I’ve always wondered why the Paleo folks embraced yams but not white taters.

  65. Sam says

    When I did Whole30 a while back, I thought I remembered seeing something that said that completely compliant broth, olives, and pasta sauces can be hard to find, so the others were allowed. I can’t seem to find where it was now.
    Is that true?
    Is pasta sauce with some sugar or additives ok as long as it’s not much?

  66. Kristlynn says

    Are white potatoes now an acceptable card dense veggie to have post workout, or is sweet potato still the best option?

  67. Toni says

    It’d be nice to include potatoes on the shopping list…Until I randomly found this post, I didn’t know they were allowed, looking at the official rules and shopping list..

  68. Hayley says

    This is such a relief right now!! two days before my pay day and I have 2 potatoes and cabbage left in my fridge…. Thank goodness.

  69. Mandy Aliano says

    I apologize if this question has already been asked and answered, however, how do you feel about gnocchi? is there a compliant way to make it? Maybe just no added flour or maybe using almond flour?

    Thank you!

  70. Tom says

    I started the Whole30 on January 1. I had been dabbling with the Paleo diet for almost a year but decided I would go all in for the new year. Since one of my goals was to lose some weight, I followed it pretty religiously for 30 days. I did not know about potatoes now being compliant so I eliminated them. I was also reluctant to even eat Sweet Potatoes. At the end of 30 days I had lost 8 lbs. While this was not dramatic, I also noticed all sorts of small, positive health changes, the cumulative effect of which was to make me ‘feel’ a lot better. As others have stated, I would not add potatoes in unless you are very active. I used to run Marathons, and I would need the carbs for that, but otherwise I think carb elimination is a great way to start.

  71. says

    Dang, dang, dang. I just noticed ‘dextrose’ on the label of these uncured, no other bad stuff in them frankfurters.

    Back to the drawing board on quick and dirty microwaveable or George Forman-able lunch meats for work.

    (Or just stick w/ my grilled chicken tenders).

  72. MojaveRat says

    This makes no sense to me. A baked russet potato is about as high on the Glycemic Index as you can get. With glucose scoring 100 on the index, a russet is 111! It is LOADED with starch, which as soon as it hits your mouth, your body turns into…you guessed it…sugar. I know it’s not about the glycemic index and that Whole30 is more about eating non-processed foods, but GI should certainly be taken into account, especially for those with metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance. I’m sure the folks at Whole30 took everything into consideration, but there are plenty other non-processed foods available with the vitamins and minerals of a potato without causing the insulin spike similar to that of two candy bars.

  73. Scott says

    “For that reason we do not allow commercially-prepared fries or chips, or deep-frying starchy veggies and turning them into fries or chips during your Whole30. ”

    How about thinly sliced and baked/roasted. Id want to make a mix: Turnips, Jicima, Potatos of several kinds, Carrots, etc.

    Really I just want the VESSEL to scoop the guacamole and salsa. I don’t really care ~what~ that vessel is. Its the salsa/guac I want!!!

  74. Wes in Seattle says

    Quick observation –
    I am a little over half my Whole30. Now I know French Fries are explicitly not allowed, because they are not philosophically compliant. Fair enough, but I thought, what would I think of them now?? I have no eating compulsions, and never have more than a single small order, so I thought, “what is the harm in a small order of fries in compliant oil?” So I tried three, and was so disappointed in the taste and consistency That I tossed the rest away! My tastes have changed that much – so I am very interested to see whatever changes have occurred when I finish!

    BTW, that is my only break from rigid adherence to the rules, and it will remain the only one during my Whole 30. Has anyone else has a strong change in likes and dislikes? I am very interested in what to expect!


  75. Tina says

    This thread is pretty amusing, I was just thinking that you have the patience of Job when I noticed another Tina said much the same thing. So my take away from this is that we can eat potatoes in moderation, just not deep fried and there needs to be more Tinas in the world.

  76. says

    I eat potatoes or some other starchy foods every day. I am overweight and sedentary and my job involves sitting at a desk and typing all day. But it keeps me on the program. I found on other low carb diets in the past that If I don’t have carbs every day, I get the shakes. I am also eating a snack in the afternoon (it’s a long time between lunch and getting home and cooking supper). But the thing is, I’m not eating snack after snack after snack after snack like I used to. I also feel better. Much better. Day 24 here. After the Whole30 is over, I have been thinking about white rice, and items with miniscule amounts of added sugar – less than 1 gram per serving, such as the Bob Evans natural sausage patties which are waiting until the end of Whole30). But grains will remain very limited, especially since most of them have industrial seed oil as an ingredient. I’ll switch to organic full fat dairy, but I really didn’t eat much dairy before.

  77. dan says

    Glycemic load is more important than some imaginary “protein” “lectin” issue with whole grains. I can see there being sensitivity to high FODMAPS beans and grains or celiac dx with gluten. But non gluten whole grains are better than very high glycemic white potatoes. Brown rice is not the devil, this whole anti-nutrient histerea has no legitamacy in real life practice. Mycotoxins or mold contamination in susceptible grains and non grains is a real issue. Lectin/antinutrients is mostly hogwash, phytic acid actually has shown positive effect in clinical studies. Millet, buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, low glycemic starches should round out a whole food diet and replace any added fats or high fat animal products.
    Oils?? What “whole” is there about oils or ghee? Even cold pressed organic OILS are not how nature intended to be diet staples. No sunflower butter, eat some whole seeds. Get fats from what naturally come in all whole foods. And moderation with whole nuts/seeds. There are no nut/seed based long lived civilizations.
    Vegetables, Seafood or lean meat, whole grains or low GI starchy vegetables, some fruit, some nuts/seeds, water, salt

  78. Jessica says

    I am on day 22 of my first whole 30!! Yay!! So I don’t know what it was like without potatoes but I eat them every day. I am feeling really great and have all the signs that this is really doing great things as far as resetting me!! I have not weighed but everyone has noticed I’m losing weight and feeling super great. 😊

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