DENVER (November 2, 2011)—A frequently expressed concern in the ongoing public health debate is how fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly those which are nutrient dense, are not affordable to the average consumer. United States Potato Board (USPB) Research presented on September 27, 2011, at the American Dietetic Association’s (ADA) Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) demonstrated how potatoes are one of the best nutritional values in the produce department. They provide significantly better nutritional value per dollar than most other raw vegetables. White potatoes offer the largest and most affordable source of potassium per serving of any vegetable or fruit.
Dr. Adam Drewnowski and colleagues from the University of Washington merged nutrient composition data from the USDA Food and Nutrition Database for Dietary Studies (FNDDS 2.0) with the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) national food prices database. Frequency of consumption data was obtained from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2003-4). The Affordable Nutrition Index (ANI) was the metric used to assess nutritional value per dollar for potatoes and for other vegetables.
The research indicates potatoes are the lowest cost source of dietary potassium, a nutrient identified by the 2010 Dietary Guidelines as lacking in the American diet. The high cost of meeting federal dietary guidelines for potassium, 4,700 mg per person per day, presents a challenge for consumers and health professionals, alike. However, the cost of white potatoes, which are a good source of potassium, was half that of most other vegetables.
“Potatoes deserve credit for contributing to higher diet quality and increasing vegetable consumption,” said lead researcher Adam Drewnowski, PhD. “Potatoes also play an important role in providing affordable nutrition to Americans. You CAN afford to meet key dietary guidelines IF you include potatoes in your diet.”
Further analyses of NHANES dietary intake showed putting potatoes on the plate actually improved overall diet quality. Individuals who consumed potatoes (baked, boiled and roasted) had higher intakes of potassium and vitamin C and consumed more total vegetables in a day compared to those who did not consume potatoes.
The release of this research has drawn a flurry of media attention. To-date, the NHANES research has been covered by 231 media outlets for a total of 20 million impressions to-date. The USPB kicked-off the announcement with a media blitz at the ADA’s annual Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo, held September 24-27 in San Diego, CA, where the research was presented at a poster session. The annual conference represents the world’s largest gathering of food and nutrition experts—9,000+ registered dietitians, policy makers, health-care providers, researchers and industry leaders.
For more information, and to see the complete USPB Domestic Marketing Public Relations Long Range Plan for Fiscal Years 2012-2016, please visit http://www.uspotatoes.com/downloads/Public%20Relations_NEW.pdf.
For more information on the USPB as the nation’s potato marketing organization, positioned as the “catalyst for positive change,” and the central organizing force in implementing programs that will increase demand for potatoes, please visit www.uspotatoes.com.