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Ag advocates, take heart

Dr. Oz changes his message on potatoes and counters the “tater haters.”

Ag advocates, take heart. You can make a difference!

Here’s the proof: Dr. Oz has changed his position on potatoes. According a report in the Northern Plains Potato Grower Association’s e-newsletter, in the March 23 episode of "Dr.Oz," the doctor gave Americans "permission to eat potatoes again," noting that potatoes are "nutrient powerhouses" that pack about 100 calories per spud and have zero grams of fat. Dr. Oz had been critical of potatoes in previous episodes, according to NPPGA.

Dr. Oz opened his March 23 show by handing potatoes out to the audience. He said he was correcting the misconceptions of "tater haters" with nutritional facts on America's favorite side dish. The low-carb diet craze damaged the reputation of the potato by creating the misconception that potatoes were fattening and unhealthy, he said.

As potato farmers and medical and scientific experts have long argued, potatoes have a number of nutritional benefits that may surprise consumers. In addition to being fat-free, gluten-free, sodium-free and low in calories, potatoes are rich in vitamin C, have more potassium than a banana or broccoli, and are vegan and non-GMO.

"We are excited that consumers are finally hearing the great news about potatoes that those of us in the industry have known for a long time," said Kathleen Triou, president and chief executive officer of Fresh Solutions Network. "Fresh potatoes are a natural, healthy, family-favorite side dish, and we expect to see an increase in purchasing habits as the medical community and consumer media help restore the reputation of the potato."

Dr. Oz even got me — a type 1 diabetic who has to be careful about foods with a high glycemic index — interested in how to better prepare and enjoy potatoes again.

What a win!

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