Potato Fact Check
Carbohydrates in Potatoes
Are potatoes high in carbs?
Yes. Potatoes are a carbohydrate-rich vegetable.
- A medium, 5.2 ounce potato with the skin contains 26 grams of carbohydrate.
- The predominant carbohydrate in potatoes is starch, which is considered a complex carbohydrate.1
- Carbohydrate is the primary fuel for your brain and a key source of energy for muscles and is important for optimal physical and mental performance.2
- Because of their high carb content, potatoes are often categorized with grains like rice, pasta and bread, but they are officially vegetables, as classified by both the USDA’s MyPlate guidelines and the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which is jointly published by the USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.3
- Along with such vegetables as corn and green peas, potatoes are among the vegetables known as “starchy” vegetables.3
- Far from “just carbs”; potatoes contain a number of key nutrients including protein and a variety of vitamins and minerals.
- Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C (45% of the DV), a good source of vitamin B6 (10% of the DV) and a good source of potassium (18% of the DV). They are also fat, cholesterol and sodium free and contribute 7% of the daily value for fiber.
- Currently, consumption of all vegetables — including “starchy” vegetables — is about 80% below the intake levels recommended in the most recent (2015-2020) Dietary Guidelines for Americans.3
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1. Woolfe JA. The Potato in the Human Diet. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1987, pp10.
2. Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Position of the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics, American College of Sports Medicine and the Dieticians of Canada. Med Sci Sports Excerc. 2015; 48:543-568.
3. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/