Potatoes May No Longer Be Considered “Vegetables” — Here’s What That Means

Potatoes May No Longer Be Considered “Vegetables” — Here’s What That Means

by Amanda Oliver
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Potatoes May No Longer Be Considered “Vegetables” — Here’s What That Means

It’s no secret that Americans love potatoes. Mashed, baked, fried — we eat them in any and every form. And we eat a lot of them.

According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the average person consumes about 120 pounds of the starchy spuds per year. But for as delicious as they are, you may soon no longer be able to count your baked potato or order of french fries as a serving of veggies (at least not officially).

The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is currently in the process of reorganizing the dietary guidelines for 2025. One of the big potential changes is recategorizing starchy veggies—including white potatoes along with sweet potatoes, winter squash, and plantains—as grains. The thought is that this would promote Americans to consume more nutrient-dense carbs on a regular basis.

The proposed amendment is controversial, to say the least

“The suggestion to reclassify potatoes as a non-vegetable is not grounded in any scientific metric,” Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council, testified during a recent hearing of the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.

He went on to describe potatoes as a “springboard vegetable” that’s “a versatile, affordable, and popular nutrient-dense choice” for both children and adults. “Americans do not eat enough vegetables and potatoes are key to addressing this gap,” he explained, urging the committee to reconsider declassifying potatoes as a vegetable.

But the change could have some positive impacts, too

We spoke to Brookell White, Registered Dietitian who works with MyFitnessPal, to find out how the new classification could affect how and what we eat.

To start with some good news, she reassured us that just because potatoes may not be classified as a vegetable by the USDA, they are in fact still a vegetable—and a good one.

“Eating potatoes regularly can be a part of a healthy and balanced diet,” she explains. “Potatoes are low in calories, high in potassium, calcium, and vitamin B6 and a good source of iron and fiber.”

Plus, they contain resistant starch, which she says can improve your gut microbiome and insulin sensitivity and also help you feel full for longer.

That said, considering a potato a grain could encourage people to start eating a wider variety of non-starchy vegetables.

“You could be missing out on essential nutrients if you always substitute potatoes for whole grains or decide to forgo other vegetables for potatoes,” White says. She recommends eating veggies in a rainbow of colors to ensure you’re getting the optimal micronutrients your body needs.

Also read >> How Eating the Rainbow Is Beneficial to Your Health

As for what the revised guideline could mean for Americans as a whole…

White is optimistic. “Most of the vegetables consumed in the US are potatoes and tomatoes, and french fries and pizza sauce are large contributors,” she says. “With potatoes removed, it may give a more accurate view of what our meaningful vegetable intake is.” She adds that the change could also benefit food assistance programs and national health objectives.

All in all, regardless of what they’re called, potatoes are still a healthy vegetable that deserve a spot on your plate. Just be aware of how you’re preparing them.

If you’re frying them, adding sugar, or using a ton of animal fat or salt, White cautions you to reconsider. You could be consuming too much sodium, calories, or saturated fat (which you can easily see if logging your food and recipes using MyFitnessPal!).

But if you’re enjoying a good old baked potato? You’re absolutely fine to check off another serving of vegetables for the day.

About the Author

Amanda Oliver
Amanda has more than a decade of experience in commerce and media, specifically in product testing and service journalism in the lifestyle, health and wellness, and outdoor space. Amanda is currently the Executive Editor of Commerce at Field & Stream. She is also an RYT-200 yoga teacher and NASM CPT personal trainer when she’s not at her desk. Both a foodie and fitness junkie, Amanda currently writes for a number of outlets like People, Real Simple, Taste of Home, Milk-Drunk, and Mind Body Green.


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