Research Library

Nutrient Profiling Tools Confirm Starchy Vegetables Deliver Comparable Nutritional Value as Non-starchy Vegetables & Whole Fruit

Adam Drewnowski, Matthieu Maillot and Florent Vieux


Background: Starchy vegetables, including white potatoes, are often categorized as “lower-quality” carbohydrate foods, along with refined grains, 100% fruit juices, sweetened beverages, and sugars, snacks and sweets. Among “higher-quality” carbohydrates are whole grains, non-starchy vegetables, legumes, and whole fruits.

Objective: To apply multiple nutrient profiling (NP) models of carbohydrate quality to foods containing >40% carbohydrate by dry weight in the USDA Food and Nutrient Database for Dietary Studies (FNDDS 2017-18).

Methods: Carbohydrate foods in the FNDDS (n = 2423) were screened using four recent Carbohydrate Quality Indices (CQI) and a new Carbohydrate Food Quality Score (CFQS-4). Cereal products containing >25% whole grains by dry weight were classified as whole grain foods.

Results: Based on percent items meeting the criteria for 4 CQI scores, legumes, non-starchy and starchy vegetables, whole fruit, and whole grain foods qualified as “high quality” carbohydrate foods. Distribution of mean CFQS-4 values showed that starchy vegetables, including white potatoes placed closer to non-starchy vegetables and fruit than to candy and soda.

Conclusion: Published a priori determinations of carbohydrate quality do not always correspond to published carbohydrate quality metrics. Based on CQI metrics, specifically designed to assess carbohydrate quality, starchy vegetables, including white potatoes, merit a category reassignment and a more prominent place in dietary guidance.

View Publication


  1. Drewnowski A, Maillot M and Vieux F (2022) Multiple Metrics of Carbohydrate Quality Place Starchy Vegetables Alongside Non-starchy Vegetables, Legumes, and Whole Fruit. Front. Nutr. 9:867378. doi: 10.3389/fnut.2022.867378
Looking to contribute to potato science?
APRE's research program was created to extend the understanding of the nutritional value of potatoes, while adhering to guidelines that support sound and credible research through industry funding. To receive email announcements on our annual grant and fellowship programs, sign up below.
Keep Updated