24 April 2013

White Potatoes Linked To High Levels Of Potassium And Low Fat, Cholesterol, and Sodium

A newly released study links high intakes of potassium with the consumption of white potatoes. The study also adds it offers less calories when compared to bananas (which are generally associated with potassium) with the same potassium content.

Potassium is an important nutrient for the body. It is in the top ten common element by mass at 0.2% of the body, it is usually ranked between the 8th and 9th most common element, tying with sulfur and chlorine.

Potassium cations (positive ions) are used by the body for brain and nerve functions, specifically in the neurons. It also helps in regulating the balance between cells and the interstitial fluid (a solution that bathes and surrounds the cells). Potassium also is associated with lowering blood pressure and can reduce the risk of hypertension, stroke, and heart disease.

Bananas are the most common associated food with potassium but compared to potatoes, potatoes offers more of the nutrient while having less calories, fat, and cholesterol levels than a banana. Other foods rich in potassium are tomatoes, oranges, beet greens, white beans and other fresh fruits and vegetables.

Potatoes and Potassium

Consumption of white potatoes is linked to increased intake of potassium, according to a new study released today at the Experimental Biology 2013 Annual Meeting. For each additional kilocalorie of white potatoes consumed, there was a 1.6 mg increase in potassium intake among adults 19-years-old and older, and a 1.7 mg increase among children and teens from 2 to 18 years of age. Gender, age, race/ethnicity and educational attainment, but not income or body mass index, were also highly predictive of potassium intake.

Potassium is considered a shortfall nutrient of public health concern because 97% of Americans do not have an adequate intake of potassium. Maureen Storey, PhD, co-author of the study and president and CEO of the Alliance for Potato Research and Education (APRE) noted, "Very few Americans get enough potassium, which is a key nutrient that helps control blood pressure. Our study shows that the white potato is a particularly nutrient-rich vegetable that significantly increases potassium intake among adults, teens and children."

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee concluded there is considerable evidence demonstrating that higher intake of potassium is associated with lower blood pressure in adults. Diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Potassium-rich white potatoes, with or without the skin, are naturally free of fat, saturated fat and cholesterol and have little sodium. For example, a small (138 g) skin-on, plain baked potato provides 738 mg potassium and only 128 calories. A large banana (136 g) provides about the same number of calories, but far less potassium (487 mg). Calorie for calorie, the white potato delivers more potassium than bananas.

Video: Potato Nutrition Facts - Calories & Potassium

Even without its skin, the flesh of the white potato is a potassium powerhouse. Just one cup (122 g) of baked potato without the skin provides 477 mg potassium. Storey noted, "The nutrient 'beauty' of the white potato is not just skin deep. The flesh alone is also a significant source of key vitamins and minerals, such as potassium."

Using the most recent data available from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2009-2010, APRE researchers analyzed the nutrient intakes of children and adults ages 2-4, 5-8, 9-13, 14-18, 19-30, 31-50, 51-70, and 71+ years old. The study authors found that intakes of potassium, dietary fiber, calcium and vitamin D among these groups were all below the recommended daily allowance (RDA) or adequate intake (AI) levels recommended by the Institute of Medicine. These results, said Storey, suggest that children, adolescents and adults do not meet dietary recommendations for key nutrients and that consumption of white potatoes increases intake of potassium.

The APRE data analysis, "White Potato Consumption is Positively Associated with Potassium Intake," co-authored by Storey and Patricia Anderson, MPP, an independent consultant, will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. A paper on vegetable and potato consumption by the same authors is slated to be published in a May 2013 supplement to the peer-reviewed journal, Advances in Nutrition.


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