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Healthy Diets Include Potatoes

A familiar favorite across cultures and life stages

Potatoes: A Nutritious Addition to Healthy Dietary Patterns

Potatoes are a nutrient-dense vegetable that delivers health and wellness benefits across every stage of life. In addition to its nutrient contributions, potatoes’ popularity, accessibility, versatility, and cost makes them a whole food solution to help people from a wide variety of cultures and backgrounds meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Potatoes in Nutrition Guidance

Potatoes provide significant amounts of essential nutrients, including potassium and vitamin C. The 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recognize potatoes as part of the starchy vegetables category and recommend Americans aged 2 and older consume 5 cup-equivalents per week. Moreover, this versatile vegetable can be included in all three healthy eating patterns outlined in the Guidelines, including the Healthy U.S.-Style Pattern, Healthy Mediterranean-Style Pattern and Healthy Vegetarian Pattern.

Potatoes In Your Diet

A Versatile, Satisfying Vegetable for All People

Spud Stats: Supporting Nutrition Guidance

Potatoes are an affordable and accessible vegetable, helping people of all ages to meet their nutrient and lifestyle goals.

Potatoes can enhance nutrient intake, especially among kids – a win-win for parents and caregivers. A study using NHANES data from 2001-2018 on 16,633 adolescents ages 9 to 18 years found that those who consumed any and all forms of potatoes had better diet quality, nutrient intake, and adequacy compared to those who did not eat any potatoes.

Potatoes make a portable, nourishing snack. A study showed that there were no short-term differences in weight gain or type 2 diabetes risk factors after 180 men and women in a free-living environment consumed a 300-calorie potato snack for 30 days compared to those consuming an isocaloric almond snack for the same time period.

Potatoes can be part of healthy eating patterns intended for people with diabetes. A study on 24 men and women with type 2 diabetes showed overnight glycemic response was blunted following an evening mixed meal that contained skinless potatoes compared to a similar meal that substituted low glycemic index basmati rice for potatoes.

Potatoes and Resistant Starch

Resistant starch is found naturally in potatoes and is a type of carbohydrate that is “resistant” to digestion by human digestive enzymes, similar to dietary fiber. Emerging research in both animal models and human studies suggest that resistant starch may enhance satiety, favorably impact blood lipid and blood glucose levels and increase the amount of good bacteria in the colon – additional research is needed to corroborate these findings. When it comes to emerging research on potatoes and resistant starch:

  • A study showed that the amount of resistant starch in potatoes varies depending partly on the potato variety, but mostly on the type of processing. For example, cooked and cooled potatoes contain the highest levels of resistant starch (4.3 grams per 100 grams of potato), followed by chilled and reheated potatoes (3.5 grams per 100 grams of potato) and potatoes served hot (3.1 grams per 100 grams of potato).