Things You Might Not Know About Potatoes

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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After the tour of the Meredith campus, it was time for a presentation from the United States Potato Board.

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Hooray, potatoes!

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The presentation was for about 20 people (editors, test kitchen culinary specialists, marketing folks) from various Meredith publications.

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Leading the presentation were Meredith Myers, Publication Relations Manager from the United States Potato Board, and Kris Caputo, Senior Vice President of Fleishman-Hillard.

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I’ve always been a fan of potatoes, but after hearing this presentation, I’m even more pro-potato. I know potatoes often get a bad rap (potatoes are high in calories, potatoes will make you fat, potatoes are nutritionally-void), but I’m hoping this post will change your mind about them. I know I definitely learned a few things!

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Things You Might Not Know About Potatoes

Potatoes are grown commercially in 36 states, but they can be grown just about anywhere. They’re a hearty crop!

The U.S. produces 39.7 billion pounds of potatoes each year””that’s 1,020,600 acres!

The average American consumes 110 pounds of potatoes each year.

There are 4,000 potato varieties worldwide– though only a small fraction is commercialization. In the U.S., about 100 varieties are sold. All of these varieties fit into five potato type categories: russet, red, white, yellow, and specialty (including blue/purple, fingerling, and petite). Russet is the most popular.

A medium 5.3-ounce potato (with skin):

  • Has 110 calories
  • Has nearly half your Daily Value of vitamin C (45%)
  • Is one of the best sources of potassium (614 mg) and fiber (2 g) in the produce section.
  • Is naturally fat-free and sodium-free

A potato has more potassium than a banana!

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Sweet potatoes are all the rage right now, but if you do a side-by-side comparison, white potatoes deliver a similar nutrient punch:

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Only about 20% of the nutrients are in the skin of the potato, so if you decide to peel it, you’re still getting quite a lot. The one nutrient that you will lose is fiber.

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Interesting stuff, right?

After the presentation, it was time for lunch. It was a good thing too because all of that potato talk made me hungry!

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On the menu: mixed green salad with dressing.

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Roasted Root Vegetables.

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Grilled Herb Rubbed Chicken Breast with Cranberry-Mandarin Orange Relish.

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Pan-Roasted Brussels Sprouts.

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And Ginger-Cinnamon Apple Crisp.

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We were told the lunch recipes were from Midwest Living, so I linked to them for you. I really loved the Roasted Root Vegetables and the Ginger-Cinnamon Apple Crisp.

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One more post to come: Ultimate Potato Recipe Contest!

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60 Comments

  1. I enjoy your blog – but I have to tell you that I think writing a post that’s just advertising for the Potato board is really beneath you! I appreciate that you need to earn a living, support the blog etc but this is not even thinly veiled advertising. It makes it look like you’re just up for sale. Please be careful that you don’t alienate readers. I wouldn’t want to see more of this kind of thing. We all know that the food industry is a mega million dollar advertising machine, but I think lots of people read personal blogs to get away from that.

    1. I really enjoyed the presentation and learned quite a few things that I wanted to share with my readers. Obviously, these trips are part of my job, but I honestly found it interesting and thought you guys might too. I’m sorry you weren’t a fan.

      1. I didn’t see this as an advertisement at all. I, too, found it to be very interesting and had no idea that potatoes were so healthy! Also – I am a fellow food lover (addict, really), and was waiting for DAYS to get a recap of the potato event. So I really enjoyed it! Great job!@Tina:

    2. @Carolyn:

      I disagree. She TOLD us the potato board paid her or paid for her to take the trip. Why wouldn’t she talk about it? Isn’t that kinda a bloggers job? A business/person/place whatever pays for them or provides them with a free-something (bar method class, yoga class, potato board trip etc) and then they blog about it? If not why would the potato board ask her to attend? Yes, it is advertising in a way, and its up to the blogger to then write a truthful blog about the experience she had. Which I think Tina does well, not all bloggers do! Some DO come across as a viral advertisment, but like I said I don’t get that vibe from CNC.

      1. @Katy: Katy, I completely agree with you. Carolyn is being overly harsh of this post. Tina, thanks for the information. I found it really interesting. I’ve been anti-potato for most of my life because of a kind of “family” diet I had when I was younger, so this was very intriguing! I didn’t realize white potatoes could be so nutritious. Maybe I’ll start working them into my diet again 🙂
        I’m glad you had a good trip and learned a lot. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

        1. @Melissa: I found it interesting as I’m from Iowa and live 40 minutes north of Des Moines… this was a great learning experience about a company who provides a lot of jobs for us midwesterners! Thanks for a peek inside!

  2. I’ve recently started eating more potatoes (sweet, in particular) as a way to get some healthy carbs. I also used to suffer from the “Potatoes are Bad” Mentality but I’m so glad I’m over that! The 110 calorie medium potato is SO much fun to dress up and keeps me full for such a long time.

  3. Oh my goodness the roasted root veggies bowl looks so good!

    I also agree with Erica. A medium sweet potato is so much more satisfying than the same calories in bread or cereal! Plus it’s obviously not processed 🙂

  4. I just did a presentation on the USPB for my Public Relations class! I learned a lot about their PR strategy and love how their goal is to inform people about the nutritional benefits of the potato and not sell it off as some kind of diet fad.
    Great Post! 🙂

  5. Thank you for posting this. I know this sounds weird, but I grew up next to the largest potato producing county in the US in Florida (who knew right?) and have a passion for all of the different varieties of potaoes.
    I get so fired up when I hear people bashing potatoes and trying to ban them from schools and such.
    Hopefully this post helps educate people!

  6. I did not know that about potassium in potatoes!!
    My father-in-law is a potato farmer and would support and enjoy this post, haha. Potatoes definitely don’t make you “fat” when eaten moderately; it would be great for people to move away from that mentality. Interesting info 🙂

  7. White potatoes are always getting a bad rap, now I don’t feel so bad for making them so often for my kids. My daughter loves all potatoes and most other veggies too so I’m lucky!

  8. I love potatoes and am happy to read this post! We always have some sort of potato on hand at our house (usually it’s blue potatoes or sweet potatoes). I have recently learned that potatoes are also a good source of lysine, which is good for skin and tissue health. I’ve been working on increasing lysine in my diet to help prevent cold sores (which, unfortunately, I’m prone to!). With the increase in lysine in my diet (which I’ve gotten from potatoes & many other foods), I’ve been cold sore free for over a year!
    Bottom line – yay potatoes! 🙂

    1. @Colleen @ What’s Baking in the Barbershop?!:
      Colleen,
      I have the EXACT same problem with cold sores! I have gotten them my entire life, and when I get one, I know many more are coming. I also heard about lysine as a prevention. A few years ago, I started taking a lysine supplement, and that really seemed to help prevent most outbreaks, and lessen the severity/number of cold sores I would get for the few outbreaks I would have. However, it doesn’t seem to be as effective lately, and I am thinking that it may make more sense to work on incorporating more lysine rich foods into my diet as opposed to relying on the supplement. Can you recommend some healthy, lysine-rich foods you’ve come across?

  9. Interesting facts Tina! I had no idea white potatoes contain more potassium than sweet. I actually love both and even though they may not be Paleo see nothing wrong with having white potatoes. I actually just roasted up a batch this week and have been eating them all week. So good!

  10. Spuds are all the Internet rage these days! I love them. So good and packed with nutrients. I think they unfairly get a bad rap. Do you subscribe to MDA? There’s a multi-page thread about an all potato diet for weight loss that many people are having great success with.

  11. Taters are totally getting a bad rap these days, so thank you for sharing some facts! I find they are versatile and very filling when incorporated into a balanced diet.
    PS, I could eat roasted brussel sprouts every day of my life.

  12. It must be a lot of fun to be asked to take part in events like this! I already knew a lot of those facts… but I still am more anti-potato. I think it’s probably because, when compared to other veggies, I tend to shy away or try and limit the starchy ones.

    Do you find you have to sift through the info at all? I’m curious because I would imagine an educational conference by corn growers would tout all the benefits of high fructose corn syrup. Not saying this is like that, just wondered if you felt you had to sort through some or any of what they were saying?

    1. Not at all. They actually have a TON of info (studies, research, etc.) on their website and kept referencing it, which was helpful and laid everything out for you. They were also really open and encouraging of questions.

  13. I enjoye this blog, there is so much skepticisim with potatoe and “dieting”. Thanks for your hard work. I just recently started my own blog (as in yesterday!) Tina, and others, I hope you will check it out. I know its not very exciting yet, Im still trying to figure out how to add gadgets, pictures etc, but please go on and if you have any suggestions for me I am open!I hope to make blogging part of my job someday. I love telling people about clean foods and fitness! Thanks for your inspiration! PS. I tried the french toast scramble this morning and Im glad I did. It does take like french toast!

  14. Thanks for the post, Tina.
    White potatoes get a bad rap because they are most commonly (mis)used as french fries or tater tots. While I love potatoes of all kinds, its worth noting that sweet potatoes have a significantly lower glycemic index than white potatoes. This is most important for people with insulin resistance, not necessarily the healthy blogger community.

  15. I was already a potato fan, and now those roasted root veggies might make it to Thanksgiving (instead of the cheesy, creamy potatoes). Thanks for all the nutrition information! I’m still surprised that the sweet potato fries have more calories than the regular french fries!

    P.S. Hi to Murphy!

  16. Kind of in the same vein as the previous question, but I’m just curious as to whether you get exhausted from hearing all the conflicting information? I’m thinking of the Paleo workshop thing you did a few months ago, where I think that they said potatoes of any kind were not allowed, even sweet potatoes, for some reason or another that I can’t think of right now.

    I feel like it’s one thing to know where to stand re: HFCS, processed foods, etc., and another when it’s an actual vegetable or any other relatively unprocessed food that seems to get a bad rap from time to time (oats, barley, nuts, meat, milk…wait, I think it’s just about everything!). I used to love learning about food and nutrition but now feel like it changes so much day to day that it’s impossible to keep up, and I find it more and more difficult to sift through the information. Blerg.

      1. @Tina:

        Not that I personally agree with the statement but in the paleo community potatoes are not general “allowed” because they are a nightshade (which they consider a result of modern agriculture) whereas, sweet potatoes and yams are not nightshades.

  17. I really enjoyed the post! I think potatoes get such a bad rap because they are either deep fried, covered in cheese or mixed with cream and butter but there are are healthy ways to eat potatoes. Thanks for posting about the event!

  18. I have always seen potatoes as a healthy starch as long as they aren’t loaded with junk. So thanks for this post and reminding some readers that they aren’t all bad 🙂

  19. I love all this info! It sounds like this was really informative and fun. 🙂 I’ve definitely fallen a bit prey to the “potatoes are bad” message, so I love hearing about the benefits. It really is all about balance. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Here’s another random potato fact: The 4,000 varieties you mentioned…that’s how many varieties Peru produces! I know this because I just got back from Peru. 🙂 Some potatoes are grown for one specific dish. Peru is the birthplace of the potato!

  21. I love this! For the longest time I was in “potatoes are bad” mode, but adding them into meals adds some good healthy carbs and they keep me full for a long time (and they’re just tasty)!
    I didn’t realize all the added benefits of eating them!

  22. My hubby is a potato fanatic and we always joke about the song “boil ’em, mash ’em, put ’em in a stew” 😛 TJ’s has a hugeee selection of frozen options that are super handy when in a hurry!

  23. In regards to your post on potatoes, I’m agreeing with Carolyn. However, to begin with it’s important to note that even the soil for commercially grown potatoes has been treated with a chemical fumigant. Sweet potatoes have less pesticides used on them compared to potatoes. Potatoes fall into the “Dirty Dozen” group in terms of the amount of pesticide use. And yes, you seem to push a whole lotta products on your site. Make sure the H in your last name doesn’t start standing for Huckster. Work on keeping the readers of your blog.

  24. So that means my heavy consumption of fries is ok?? I never knew potatoes contained so much nutrients will be eating more of the roasted and baked variety in the future!

  25. That’s so cool that a potato has more potassium than a banana! I’m always looking for reasons to eat them (mashed potatoes are my go-to comfort food). But recently I’ve just been cutting them up and roasting them so I can cut out all the butter and milk that would go into mashed potatoes. Really loved this post!

  26. I just never knew how people had the balls to call a potato nutritionally devoid. How could you call something that’s high in potassium, vitamin c, vitamin b6, and iron nutritionally devoid. Sure their high glycemic index might scare some people. But if you eat a potato with some meat or a fat (which many people do) it will slow the absorption of that starch.

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