A frequently expressed concern in the ongoing public health debate is that fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly those that are nutrient dense, are not affordable to the average consumer.
Research presented yesterday at the American Dietetic Association's (ADA) Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE) demonstrates that potatoes are one of the best nutritional values in the produce department, providing significantly better nutritional value per dollar than most other raw vegetables.
Per serving, white potatoes were the largest and most affordable source of potassium 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. Potatoes were 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 potassium-rich white potatoes was half that of most other vegetables.