Nutrition

Potato_Nutrition_Fact_Updated_FinalThe FDA-approved Nutrition Facts Label says it all. Potatoes are:
– An excellent source of vitamin C
– A good source of potassium (more than a banana!)
– A good source of vitamin B6
– Fat-, sodium- and cholesterol-free
– Only 110 calories per serving

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Potato Nutrition Facts

Vitamin C

Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C (45% of the DV), which is more vitamin C than one medium tomato (40% DV) or sweet potato (30% DV).

Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin that acts as an antioxidant stabilizing free radicals, thus helping prevent cellular damage. It aids in collagen production; assists with iron absorption; and helps heal wounds and keep your gums healthy. Vitamin C may help support the body’s immune system.

Fiber

One medium potato with the skin contributes 2 grams of fiber or 8% of the daily value per serving.

Dietary fiber is a complex carbohydrate and is the part of the plant material that cannot be digested and absorbed in the bloodstream. Soluble fiber may help with weight loss as it makes you feel full longer, and research has shown it also may help lower blood cholesterol.

Vitamin B6

Potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6 with one medium potato providing 10% of the recommended daily value.

Vitamin B6 is a water-soluble vitamin that plays important roles in carbohydrate and protein metabolism. It helps the body make nonessential amino acids needed to make various body proteins; it is a cofactor for several co-enzymes involved in energy metabolism; and is required for the synthesis of hemoglobin – an essential component of red blood cells.

Iron

One medium potato provides 6% of the recommended daily value of iron.

 

Potassium

One medium potato with skin provides 620 milligrams or 18% of the recommended daily value (DV) of potassium per serving and is considered one of the best foods with potassium. Potatoes rank highest for foods with potassium and are among the top 20 most frequently consumed raw vegetables and fruits. Potassium is a mineral that is part of every body cell. It helps regulate fluids and mineral balance in and out of cells and in doing so, helps maintain normal blood pressure. Potassium is also vital for transmitting nerve impulses or signals, and in helping muscles contract.

Potassium is a powerful dietary factor that may help lower blood pressure. Unfortunately, few Americans are getting the recommended 4700 milligrams per day of potassium they need. (Potatoes make it easier!)

You Say Potatoes, We Say Potassium

One medium potato with skin provides 620 milligrams or 18% of the recommended daily value (DV) of potassium per serving and is considered one of the best foods with potassium. Skin- on potatoes rank highest for foods with potassium and are among the top 20 most frequently consumed raw vegetables and fruits. Potassium is a mineral that is part of every body cell. It helps regulate fluids and mineral balance in and out of cells and in doing so, helps maintain normal blood pressure. Potassium is also vital for transmitting nerve impulses or signals, and in helping muscles contract.

Potassium is a powerful dietary factor that may help lower blood pressure. Unfortunately, few Americans are getting the recommended 4700 milligrams per day of potassium they need. (Potatoes make it easier!)

Nutrition FAQ

Are potatoes good for you?

Yes, potatoes are naturally fat free, cholesterol free, and low in sodium. In addition, potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, and those eaten with the skin are a good source of potassium. Foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium, such as potatoes, may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.

Are all varieties of potatoes equally nutritious?

All varieties of potatoes are nutritious and, while both the type and amounts of nutrients may vary slightly depending on the variety, the differences are minimal. So minimal in fact, the FDA nutrition label for potatoes represents a composite of varietals (“market-basket approach”) based on typical US consumption patterns (i.e., 70% Russet, 18% white and 12% reds). Based on the FDA label the following claims can be made for the potato:

  • An excellent source (> 20% of the DV) of vitamin C and potassium with skin
  • A source (> 8% of the DV) of fiber with skin
  • A good source (> 10% of the DV) of vitamin B6
  • Low in sodium (< 140 mg/serving) and cholesterol
  • Fat free (< .5 g fat/serving)
Are potatoes fattening?

No. A 5.3-ounce potato has only 100 calories and no fat. Experts agree weight gain occurs when an individual consumes more calories than he or she expends.

Are all carbs bad for you?

No, carbohydrate-rich foods provide significant amounts of essential vitamins, minerals and water. Vitamin C and the mineral potassium are particularly plentiful in fruits and vegetables. Moreover, fiber, which is found in abundance in fruits, vegetables and whole grains is associated with a number of potential health benefits including:

  • Creating a feeling of fullness which may aid in weight loss
  • Lowering blood cholesterol levels and may decrease the risk of heart disease
  • Maintaining bowel regularity
Are French fries and potato chips healthy?

Staple foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains should be eaten every day, while fried foods and high fat snacks should be viewed as occasional treats. One food, even one meal, does not make or break a healthful diet. Understanding the impact that fried foods, like fries and chips, or high-fat foods like ice cream and cookies, have on your overall eating pattern makes it possible for you to “make room” for them as occasional indulgences.

What about potatoes and the Glycemic Index?

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a rating system that assigns a numerical value to carbohydrate-rich foods, based on their impact on blood glucose. Russet potatoes have been historically classified as high on the GI; however, this classification may not be valid because GI values were estimated either from studies using non-United States Russet potato varieties or incorrect methods for measuring GI. The first study to examine the GI of the US Russet Potato using valid methodology was published in April 2005 and showed that the GI of the US Russet Potato was considerably less than has been frequently reported in the literature. The study also demonstrated that the GI values of potatoes can vary greatly depending on the variety and method of preparation. The GI also lacks support from the scientific community and the recently revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans discredits the GI as a method for determining what foods to eat. Americans are encouraged to consume a balanced diet that contains a wide variety of foods while staying within their energy requirements.

Should people with diabetes avoid foods like potatoes? What about people trying to lose weight?

After an extensive review of the scientific research regarding carbohydrate intake and diabetes, the American Diabetes Association concluded that, for people with diabetes, the total amount of carbohydrate in meals and snacks, rather than the type, is more important in determining the blood sugar (Glycemic) response. Similarly, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) concluded that, when it comes to weight management, it is calories that count, not the proportion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

If you peel potatoes, do they lose all nutrients?

No. The notion that all of the nutrients are found in the skin is a myth.  While the skin does contain approximately half of the total dietary fiber, the majority (> 50%) of the nutrients are found within the potato itself.

Nutrient Russet (Baked w/skin) Potato Skin (raw)
Calories 134 22
Total carbohydrate (g) 30 5
Fiber (g) 3 1
Fat (g) 0 0
Protein (g) 4 1
Vitamin C (mg) 18 4
Potassium (mg) 759 157

Gluten-Free Goodness

Potatoes are naturally gluten-free and they’re packed with nutritional benefits needed for a healthy lifestyle. Potatoes are one of the world’s most versatile vegetables. Foundational in a wide range of international and all-American cuisine, potatoes are the perfect blank canvas for a variety of flavors. This is welcome news when your good health depends on eating a gluten-free diet.

An ideal substitution for some of your favorite bread, grain and pasta-based dishes, potatoes add a boost of nutritional benefits. Important to a healthy diet, one medium-sized (5.3oz) skin-on potato has:

Tips and Tricks for Substituting Potatoes for Gluten Products

Pizza

Potatoes make a surprising and tasty substitution for pizza crust and bread. Top grilled or roasted potato planks with your favorite pizza topping.

Nachos

Potatoes as a base for nachos instead of tortilla chips make a great substitute whether you’re choosing to eat gluten-free or not. You can also save time by using frozen potato wedges. It’s a convenient and delicious alternative.

Croutons

Dice a potato into 1/2 inch squares, toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil and your favorite seasonings. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Let cool and toss in your salad. No time to dice? Try frozen potatoes instead.

Gravies, soups and stews

The starch in potatoes is a natural thickening agent. Try using instant mashed potatoes or even pureed leftover mashed potatoes for hearty gravies, soups and stews (mix in the potatoes a little at a time so as not to over-thicken).

Bruschetta

Instead of the traditional crostini or sliced sourdough bread, slice potatoes 1/4-inch thick, toss in olive oil and bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes. When the slices are finished cooking, top with your favorite tomato bruschetta and enjoy!

Pasta

Try using naturally gluten-free potatoes instead of pasta. Thin “noodles” of potatoes can be used to recreate your favorite pasta dish or thin slices of potatoes can be used to in place of noodles in your family-favorite lasagna recipe.