‘There is a really big risk if nation shuns away from potatoes’

Aoife Hearne – a dietitian – stated that potatoes are a carbohydrate hero because they have so much to offer. Potatoes are a good source of potassium; vitamin C; B vitamins; folate; and iron.

Speaking at the National Potato Conference, the Operation Transformation “expert” stressed the importance of potatoes as a source of fibre in the diet. She stated that we need to move back to traditional ways of eating in Ireland. People were eating a lot healthier in the 1940’s in Ireland and obesity was far lower.

“When people talk about a Paleo diet – that is still quite popular – there is evidence to say that our ancestors ate carbohydrates. This myth that our ancestors didn’t live on carbohydrates at all is a complete fallacy.

Carbohydrates are absolutely essential for energy.

“We need a regular intake of carbohydrates throughout the day. Potatoes have so much good in them without any processing,” she explained.

Important for our gut health

Hearne also outlined that carbohydrates feed the good bacteria in our gut and that if we don’t eat enough fibre, healthy food, fruit and vegetables, there is a risk that the diversity of this bacteria in our gut is going to suffer.

“There is a risk to not eating healthy food. There is a risk if our nation does not eat fruit and vegetables and there is a really big risk if our nation is going to shun away from potato consumption,” she added.

Potatoes are high in fibre

The slow-release, high-fibre carbohydrate contributes much more to the diet than other fibre sources. Two medium potatoes – with the skin on – contain 14.3g of fibre. This can be compared to other sources of fibre such as white rice. It contains just 0.72g.

Interesting potato facts:
  • An averaged baked potato in its skin has more fibre than two slices of wholemeal bread;
  • A medium sized potato has three times more potassium than a bananna.