Potato Fact Check
Potatoes and Athletic Performance
Are potato beneficial in the diet of an athlete?
Yes. One medium (5.3 ounce) skin-on potato provides 26 grams of carbohydrate, 620 milligrams of potassium, and 110 calories for energy – key nutrients in the diets of athletes and active individuals.
- Potatoes are nutrient-dense complex carbs. A medium (5.3 ounce) skin-on potato contains 26 grams of carbohydrates.1
- Carbohydrate is the primary fuel for your brain and a key source of energy for muscles.
- Carbohydrate is important for optimal physical and mental performance.2
- Because your body’s own stores of carbohydrate are limited and may be depleted – even in a single session of intense and/or prolonged exercise – it’s important to replenish them.2
- Potatoes have even more potassium than a medium-size banana.3 A medium (5.3 ounce) skin-on potato contains 620 milligrams of potassium.
- Potassium is an important electrolyte that aids in muscle, cardiovascular and nervous system function.
- The 2015 Dietary Guidelines mention potassium as an under-consumed nutrient of concern, and recommends consuming foods with the highest level of potassium such as white potatoes.4
- Potatoes are more energy-packed than any other popular vegetable.3 A medium (5.3 ounce) skin-on potato contains 110 calories.
- Adequate energy intake supports optimal body functions.
- It’s critical to take in the appropriate number of calories to match the demands of your day.
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- 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.
- Burke LM, Hawley JA, Wong SH, Jeukendrup AE. Carbohydrates for training and competition. J Sports Sci. 2011; 29(Suppl 1): S17-27.
- US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28 (Slightly revised). Version Current: May 2016.
- Internet: http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl
- Potassium: Food Sources Ranked by Amounts of Potassium and Energy per Standard Food Portions and per 100 Grams of Foods. Available at: http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/appendix-10/.