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The Truth About America’s Favorite Vegetable and the Top Tier Macronutrient

by Jim White, RD on May 16, 2019

Jim White, RD, is a sports nutrition expert who has been working with athletes to transform their bodies and minds for over 15 years. Jim believes that proper nutrition is the key foundational element for all athletes, no matter what their sport or workout. We sat down with Jim to get his advice on counseling clients about optimal nutrition for training, the importance of carbohydrates for athletes and how potatoes can be a power performance vegetable.

Nutrition expert advice: potatoes fuel performance.

How do you make sure the athletes you work with are conscious of what they’re eating, but still have the energy to put in long training hours?

Athletes can eat clean but still have ample energy by having a balance of high-quality carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats in their diet. Athletes should focus on small, frequent meals throughout the day to fuel the body and produce energy. Consuming enough carbohydrate before and after a workout is integral to help fuel and replenish glycogen stores.

What makes potatoes different from other carbohydrates?

Besides being delicious and versatile, a medium sized, 5.3-ounce potato provides 30% of the Vitamin C we need every day, more potassium than a banana, 3 grams of protein, and is a good source of B6. Potatoes also contain no fat, cholesterol or sodium.

What is the difference between sweet potatoes and white potatoes?

Both sweet and white potatoes provide similar amounts of key nutrients including protein (2g and 3g respectively), potassium and vitamin B6, all of which contribute to a well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet. However, white potatoes can be more versatile than sweet potatoes and come in a wider variety of forms and colors. For example, did you know that petite, red, purple, golds and fingerling potatoes all fall under the category of “white potatoes?” It’s a lot more than just russets! And forms such as dehydrated and frozen potatoes can have just as many nutrients as the fresh form.

Why do you recommend potatoes to your athletes?

I recommend potatoes because they’re a vegetable and a nutrient-dense complex carbohydrate. If one of my athletes is training for a marathon and constantly doing long, intense runs, they need to make sure they’re consuming enough carbohydrate to stay energized. On average, athletes need 1 gram of carbohydrate per 1 minute of endurance exercise.1, 2 One medium, 5.3-ounce potato contains 26 grams of carbohydrate which can help provide this fuel. If you’re choosing the best carb for athletic performance, the bottom line is that potatoes are a vegetable that can provide the body with the adequate amount of carbs, plus a lot more (did I mention the 3g of protein?).

What are your favorite ways to prepare potatoes for performance?

My recommendation for preparing potatoes is to boil, steam, roast or bake them. Try topping your potatoes with cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, turkey chili or low-fat cheese to add additional protein. For a filling and nutrient-packed potato meal, try a Power Baked Potato or a Sheet Pan Buddha Bowl!

Potatoes. Real food. Real performance. What are you eating?

Visit PotatoesFuelPerformance.com to learn more about why you should recommend fueling with potatoes to your clients and access nutritional resources, recipes for performance, and more.

Finally, join Potatoes USA and Jim White at IDEA World (booth #363) to learn more about how potatoes can be an ideal performance fuel for your clients. See you there!



Potatoes USA

Potatoes USA, established in 1971, is the nation’s potato marketing and research organization. Based in Denver, Colorado, Potatoes USA represents more than 2,500 potato growers and handlers across the country. As the largest vegetable commodity board, Potatoes USA is proud to be recognized as an innovator in the produce industry and dedicated to positioning potatoes as a nutrition powerhouse.

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About the Author

Jim White, RD

Jim White, RD IDEA Author/Presenter

Jim White, RD, is a sports nutrition expert who has been working with athletes to transform their bodies and minds for over 15 years. Jim believes that proper nutrition is the key foundational element for all athletes, no matter what their sport or workout.