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Authors

  1. Marr, Elizabeth T. MS, RDN, FAND
  2. King, Janet C. PhD
  3. Weaver, Connie M. PhD

Abstract

Across many cultures in the United States, potatoes are an almost-universally popular vegetable and are good sources of several shortfall nutrients, such as potassium, magnesium, fiber, and vitamin C. In current US dietary guidance and nutrition policy, white potatoes are, at best, taken for granted, or at worst, excluded. Potatoes may contribute to diet quality and are inexpensive. Just as with any other food, healthier ways to prepare and consume potatoes should be encouraged, especially given that some of the most popular forms contain added salt and fat. Potatoes appear to serve as a marker for other vegetable consumption and may be a gateway vegetable leading to increased consumption of other vegetables. Potatoes should not displace vegetables of any color any more than the reverse, as individual vegetables make differing contributions to healthful dietary patterns. This article examines white potatoes in US food grouping systems, as well as nutrition policy, and presents a rationale for repositioning potatoes within US dietary guidance frameworks (governmental and nongovernmental). From a public health perspective, overall low vegetable consumption can and should be addressed by promoting all vegetables.