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Why Carbohydrates Are An Important Part Of A Balanced Diet

An interview with a McCain dietitian – Jayne Macdonald

When it comes to exploring the nutritional power of potatoes, McCain leans on the experience and expertise of Jayne MacDonald. Jayne is our very own registered dietitian. She’s spent over a decade educating Canadians about the role potatoes play in a healthy diet and the importance of white vegetables in a colourful plate. We sat down with Jayne to talk about her potato passion.


Q: Did you wander into the world of potato nutrition, or was there a prior passion that drew you in?

JM: There was a prior passion. Potatoes are a white vegetable. Frequently, as we promote eating vegetables we talk about having a “colourful plate” and there is a tendency to forget about white vegetables like potatoes, mushrooms, cauliflower and onions which offer valuable nutrients as well. Potatoes are cost-efficient for families, and they are versatile – they can be baked, boiled, steamed, fried, barbequed, so they can adapt to different occasions and anybody’s taste buds. Knowing people are unaware of the abundance of nutrition in the potato, has stimulated my interest in this humble, yet powerful vegetable.


Q: Why do you consider the potato a power vegetable?

JM: Potatoes are low in fat and nutrient-dense. They are rich in carbohydrates, a nutrient which your body needs for energy. Potatoes contain fibre, which most Canadian’s don’t get enough of. Many people are surprised that potatoes actually contain more potassium than bananas on a per 100g basis​​.

Q: Potatoes are full of Carbohydrates, is that ok?

JM: When people think potatoes, they think carbohydrates and many think carbohydrates are bad, but the bottom line is that your body needs carbohydrates for energy. Potatoes provide complex carbohydrates that are an essential part of a balanced diet. Complex carbohydrates are digested more slowly and provide lasting energy.

Q: What are consumers most surprised about when you talk to them about potatoes?

The fact that they are low in fat! The fact that they contain so much potassium – that it isn’t the banana you should grab for potassium, that potatoes should be at the top of your list. The fact that they contain micronutrients, nutrients your body needs in very small amounts but that are essential for good health. Potatoes have phosphorus for example, which is fundamental for bones and teeth. They contain copper, which helps iron absorption, meaning healthier red blood cells. They contain zinc, important for overall health.

Q: And, what surprises them about French fries?

JM: Consumers are surprised about the simplicity of the process that takes a potato to a French fry. We wash, peel, cut and cook the potatoes. Many of the nutrients discussed, like fibre and potassium are still found in frozen potato products. Also, they are surprised that many of our products are low in fat and salt.

Want to learn more about McCain Food’s potato products? Check out the full range of products here.