Add potatoes and kids eat more veggies

Published: April 12, 2011 at 2:12 AM

SEATTLE, April 12 (UPI) -- Meals that contain potatoes contain more servings of other vegetables and contain significantly more potassium than a banana, U.S. researchers say.

Lead researcher Adam Drewnowski of the University of Washington in Seattle says white potatoes -- served any way except fried -- do not displace other vegetables from children's meals.

"Potatoes belong in the diet. Children who consume white potatoes have more nutrient-dense diets, overall, and they actually eat more of other vegetables," Drewnowski says in a statement "There were no differences in the prevalence of overweight or obesity between children who did and did not consume potatoes."

The researchers studied more than 11,500 children ages 5-18 using data from four cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2001-2008.

The data set included information on more than 57,000 individual meals in which white potatoes could be baked, boiled, mashed or roasted, but not fried. Separate analyses were conducted for lunch-time and dinner-time meals and at-home and away-from home, including school lunches.

The study showed that children's weekday lunches that included white potatoes generally had more other vegetables than did weekday lunches without white potatoes.

One medium-size skin-on potato has 110 calories per serving, boasts more potassium -- 620 grams -- than a banana, provides almost half the daily value of vitamin C -- 45 percent -- and contains no fat, sodium or cholesterol, Drewnowski says.

The findings were presented at The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Conference in Washington.

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