Carbohydrate: A deeper look at an essential nutrient
(Sponsored) Carbohydrates are one of three main nutrients, along with protein and fats, found in food, and it is the main source of energy for your body. Yet, people are often confused about identifying and choosing high-quality carbohydrate-containing foods. This confusion often stems from misinterpretations and miscommunications of nutrition research on carbohydrates. Potatoes, unfortunately, are often caught in the center of the confusion.
Science shows potatoes are a nutrient-dense vegetable and provide key nutrients that are beneficial across every stage of life. Potato farmers work hard to grow this nutrient-dense vegetable; in fact, a 5.3 oz skin-on potato is only 110 calories and provides 30% of the Daily Value (DV) of vitamin C, which is more than a tomato at 20%, and 18% of the DV of potassium, which is more than a banana at 13%. Despite this, people often don’t understand the role potatoes play in helping them build healthy and enjoyable dietary patterns.
Potatoes USA is leading an initiative to help people choose high-quality carbohydrate-containing foods more easily. This work is supported by other commodity boards representing carbohydrate-containing foods and will result in a carbohydrate scoring system. The actual science behind this scoring approach is being conducted by an independent expert panel of world-renowned nutrition scientists. This endeavor is still in progress, but the expert panel has agreed that the final scoring system must not include Glycemic Index values as a marker of carbohydrate quality. Rather it must focus on the nutrient contributions of carbohydrate foods and how they can help people meet the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations. Those guidelines recommend adults consume nearly two-thirds of their calories from carbohydrate-containing foods; however, the advice doesn’t tell people how to choose quality sources of carbohydrates, like potatoes. This important work will help empower people to make informed decisions about their carbohydrate food selections that fit their personal nutrition goals and lifestyle preferences.
Sharing this science with decision-makers, academics, nutrition professionals, and consumers is important. Communicating with these gatekeepers starts with the research and focuses on evidence-based messages about the role of potatoes in healthy lifestyles. These nutrition facts give people a reason to feel good about including potatoes as part of their healthy diet and their kid’s vegetable consumption.
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