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Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Removing potatoes from children's diets may compromise potassium intake

item NICKLAS, THERESA - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item LIU, YAN - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item ISLAM, NOEMI - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)
item O'NEIL, CAROL - Louisiana State University Agcenter

Submitted to: Advances in Nutrition
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/1/2015
Publication Date: 1/1/2016
Citation: Nicklas, T.A., Liu, Y., Islam, N., O'Neil, C.E. 2016. Removing potatoes from children's diets may compromise potassium intake. Advances in Nutrition. 7(Suppl):247S-253S.

Interpretive Summary: Vegetables are defined by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans as nutrient-dense foods and are also a part of a healthy eating pattern. Plain white potatoes are low in fat and high in potassium, dietary fiber, and vitamin C. Despite their nutritional benefits in the diet, they continue to be under continuous attack. The goal of this study was to identify the nutritional effect of replacing white potato dishes with dishes of other vegetables commonly consumed in the diets of children. Data show that potatoes provide nutrients within energy requirements and, when consumed in moderate amounts, with adjustments in how potatoes are prepared they can be part of a healthful diet.

Technical Abstract: White potatoes are a forgotten source of nutrients. The goal of this study was to identify the nutritional implications of replacing a composite of white potatoes with a composite of vegetables commonly consumed by children aged 2–18 y (n = 3460) in a nationally representative sample. The NHANES 2005–2012 24-h dietary recall data were used to determine nutrient intake. Two replacement models were developed: one for potato consumers and another for those consuming vegetables other than potatoes. Analyses focused on 1) mean nutrient contributions per 1 cup equivalent vegetable composite (VC)/potato composite (PC) consumed by participants, and 2) mean daily nutrient intake when the nutrients per 1 cup equivalent PC replaced the nutrients per 1 cup equivalent VC. Covariate adjusted analysis was tested for statistical significance (P < 0.002). When 1 cup equivalent VC replaced 1 cup equivalent PC, significantly lower mean intakes were found for 20 of the 23 nutrients studied and higher mean intakes of total sugars, folate, and calcium. Differences were found including higher total intakes of monounsaturated fatty acids and potassium and lower total intakes of vitamins A and K. The percentage contribution of the PC to total daily nutrient intake was 6% for total energy, 8% for total fat, 5% for saturated fatty acids, 13% for dietary fiber, 4% for sodium, and 11% for potassium. Both composites contributed a variety of nutrients to the total diet; the consumption of white potatoes may be an important strategy to help meet the potassium recommendation.