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Cheapest, Most-Nutritious Vegetable?

Cheapest, Most-Nutritious Vegetable?

One of the problems with the American diet seems to be that fresh, nutritious produce is unaffordable or not easily accessible to many segments of the population. However, research presented recently at the American Dietetic Association’s Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo demonstrates that one of the best nutritional values in the produce department, providing significantly better nutritional value per dollar than most other raw vegetables–is one that is easily accesible, practical, and loved by most: The white potato. Per serving, white potatoes were the largest and most affordable source of potassium of any vegetable or fruit.

Dr. Adam Drewnowski and colleagues from the University of Washington complied nutrient data from the USDA Food and Nutrition Database for Dietary Studies with the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion national food prices database. They found that potatoes were the least expensive source of dietary potassium, a nutrient identified by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines as lacking in the American diet. The cost of potassium-rich white potatoes was half that of most other vegetables.

“Potatoes deserve credit for contributing to higher diet quality and increasing vegetable consumption,” said lead researcher Adam Drewnowski, PhD. “Potatoes also play an important role in providing affordable nutrition to Americans. You can afford to meet key dietary guidelines if you include potatoes in your diet.”

Further analyses of NHANES dietary intake demonstrated that eating potatoes improved overall diet quality. Those who consumed potatoes (baked, boiled and roasted) had higher intakes of potassium and vitamin C and consumed more total vegetables in a day compared to those who did not consume potatoes.

One medium-size (5.3 ounce) skin-on potato contains just 110 calories per serving, boasts more potassium (620g) than a banana, provides almost half the daily value of vitamin C (45 percent), and contains no fat, sodium or cholesterol.


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Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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12:25PM PDT on Apr 12, 2013


12:21PM PDT on Apr 12, 2013

Good to know!!

2:35PM PST on Mar 1, 2013

I am happy to hear this good news. My favorit way to make potatoes are simply boiled with the skin on. While hot, peel skin off, slice up in a bowl with a small amount of finely minced onion, a tad of butter(real), salt and pepper to taste. Mash all together. Enjoy! Warm tasty, filling and delicious.

8:11AM PST on Jan 22, 2013

good ol' baked potato - with skins ! delicious!
(even the cost of white potatoes have gone way up, though,... )
thanks for the good information though, and let's all support the 'eat for good health' movement, as our health will be dependent more and more upon our personal health habits, - and it's like the saying goes:
you are what you eat~

7:56AM PST on Jan 22, 2013

Wow! And we are always told potatoes are nothing but fattening...

10:28PM PST on Jan 13, 2013

Thank you.

5:30AM PST on Jan 13, 2013


4:02PM PST on Jan 12, 2013

Thanks. I had trouble giving up potato I make my own version from organic potatoes fried in organic olive oil....but I also like potatoes cooked in all ways.

1:43AM PST on Jan 12, 2013

Thanks for posting this article!

6:34PM PST on Jan 11, 2013

Sadly the article neglected to mentioned that many with diabetes, my mother included, are told to stay away from potatoes as much as possible because they have too much starches which causes ones blood sugar to go through the roof. For cheapest, most nutritious vegetable(s) is to grow your own, no matter what type, and to remember to rotate them, and do companion planting.

With that out of the way, I, myself, LOVE potatoes. Love to find new ways to cook/serve them and will even eat them raw!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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