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.