Tater Talk

IMAGE It is true that potatoes are high in carbohydrates. If you are concerned about carbs, you can still include potatoes in your healthy diet.

A Starch or a Vegetable?

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the potato is a starchy vegetable. This distinction comes from its status as a tuber, which is the name given to an enlarged underground stem of a plant. A tuber is a plant's storage site for starch—the complex form of carbohydrate. This makes the potato higher in carbohydrate, and therefore calories, than the average vegetable.

The Benefits of a Vegetable

The potato is a good source of fiber (with the skin on), vitamin C, potassium, vitamin B6, and niacin (vitamin B3). Like most vegetables, this tuber contains no fat. However, when it's fried or smothered in butter, sour cream, or similar toppings, the calories and fat really add up. For example, note the nutrient profile of French fries:
Baked potato
with skin
(1 medium)
Mashed potatoes,
homemade
(1 cup)
French fries
(Burger King's
medium)
Calories 220 222 360
Fat (g) 0.2 8.8 20
Carbohydrate (g) 51 35 41
Protein (g) 4.6 4 4
Vitamin C (mg) 26 12 4
Potassium (mg) 844 606 unknown
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.70 0.48 unknown
Niacin (mg) 3.3 2.2 2.6
Sodium (mg) 16 620 590
Fiber (g) 4.8 4.2 3
Source: Bowes & Church's Food Values of Portions Commonly Used

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