Potato, Often Overlooked Diet Food, Comes in 100-Calorie Package

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One strategy for losing weight during the upcoming National Nutrition Month in March is to control portion sizes. Many food manufacturers are now offering 100-calorie packages of cookies, crackers and the like. But, did you know that America's favorite vegetable, the potato, has always coming a 100-calorie per serving package, and it's all natural. Experts in nutrition and food provide quotes about the importance of portion control and tips for losing weight the healthy way.

According to a January 2006 report by the research firm NPD Group, March is the peak dieting month, with 26 percent of adults saying they’re on a diet vs. 23 percent in January, the month most often associated with diets. The research showed that impending bathing suit season is a more powerful motivator than holiday guilt. One tried-and-true tool recommended by experts for weight loss is portion control. Seeing the need to offer reasonably-sized portions of popular foods, manufacturers have scrambled to shrink the calorie count of individually-wrapped items. But there’s one group of food producers who’s been doing this all along: potato growers. One serving of their product, potatoes, has always contained just 100 calories.

“I call it the perfect diet food in a peel,” says Robin Miller, nutritionist, cookbook author and host of “Quick Fix Meals” on the Food Network. “Potatoes can be prepared in literally thousands of delicious, low-calorie and low-fat ways. Gone are the days of “loaded” potatoes, stuffed, topped and brimming with sour cream, bacon, cheese, and butter. Incredible toppings, such as steamed and roasted vegetables, salsas, pestos, chutneys, herbs and spices now take this handy little package over the top.” Potatoes are not only low in calories, they are also fat-, cholesterol-, and sodium-free. Potatoes are an excellent source of potassium, and a good source of vitamin C and fiber.

If getting into a bathing suit doesn’t always go swimmingly, you’re not alone. It’s something that presents a daunting challenge for the 45 million Americans who diet each year. Adding to that challenge is deciphering the never-ending stream of fad diets that use complicated-sounding terms like glycemic index or volumetrics.

“The best advice I can give someone who wants to lose weight is to stay away from fad diets, as well as weight loss pills and potions that promise quick results,” explains Dr. Katherine Beals, registered dietitian, FACSM and nutrition consultant to the U.S. Potato Board. “If a weight loss plan sounds too good to be true, it usually is. I recommend to my clients that they focus on foods that are high in nutrient density and low in energy density. In other words, foods that contain a lot of important nutrients but relatively few calories, such as fruits and vegetables, including potatoes which are packed with potassium and vitamin C and contain just 100 calories and no fat. I also encourage my clients to be physically active every day and follow the recommendations set forth by the Dietary Guidelines and the new food guidance system – MyPyramid – both of which caution people to avoid diets that lack the support of scientific research, like those based on the glycemic index.”

Portion control is another tested weight management strategy recommended by leading weight-loss experts and the American Dietetic Association (ADA). The ADA’s total diet approach includes recommendations to practice moderation when selecting foods, consume right-sized portions, and be physically active regularly. Dr. Jackie Berning, registered dietitian and associate professor of nutrition at the University of Colorado agrees and adds, “It’s refreshing to see food manufacturers offer 100-calorie portion packs, but what’s even better and more satisfying is when those 100 calories are ‘spent’ on nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables.”

For flavorful, quick recipes based on the original, all-natural “100-calorie pack” potato, visit http://www.healthypotato.com.


Amy Kull

Fleishman-Hillard, Inc.


Linda McCashion

United States Potato Board


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