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How to Get Enough Potassium?


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I am currently taking in between 1300-1500 calories per day and find it impossible to take in enough potassium.   While I try to eat lots of potassium rich foods daily, I'd have to eat the equivalent of 11 bananas, 5 medium potatoes or 5 cups of lima beans each day to equal the 4700 mg. RDA.  Supplements aren't the answer either - those I have found only supply 3% of the RDA per tablet.   Does anyone have a solution?

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I have the same problem, & potassium is supposed to be beneficial in weight loss. So let me know if you get a workable answer.

It's still hard to get all of that potassium being at a 2000 calorie diet!  I'm pregnant and trying to stay as healthy as possible in what I eat.  Not a single day so far has my potassium been high enough according to the analysis on here.    Almost all of my foods have potassium in them though!   It's frustrating! 

#3  
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I suspect that the analysis on here is not very accurate when it comes to potassium. It's as though many items have their potassium content missing from the nutritional data. For instance, the Greek yogurt I eat comes up as having 0 potassium. Meanwhile, yogurt is actually a really good source of potassium.

So, someone was asleep at the switch there.

I have read that potassium deficiency is not a widespread problem. If that's so, then why am I nowhere near my RDA for potassium on CalorieCount every day? I suspect it's because the information on this site is incomplete -- whoever is entering the data either doesn't have the potassium details or has been very lax about reporting it.

Thank you for looking into this! I was really struggling at getting my potassium level correct - it seemed impossible! And just like you said,  you would have to eat a ridiculous amount of foods high in potassium to reach the daily levels recommended on CC.I tried reaching it today, and I am so FULL! A person can only eat so many bananas and kiwis!

And thanks drmomentum for bringing it to our attention that there are foods listed that have left out the RDA for potassium.

#5  
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I also thought it was odd that potassium glucinate supplements are so low in their RDA of potassium. Something on the order of 3% of your RDA.

 

Before I go on I would like to specify that my nickname here of "drmomentum" is based on an old game character and that I am not a physician of any kind. Just so nobody places an undue value on my opinions.

 

#6  
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To continue: I ahve purchased potassium glucinate supplements, but do not take them every day for fear that they might irritate my stomach (I take medication for reflux.) The recommendation is that you take one a day and with plenty of water during mealtime to avoid irritation. It hardly seems worth it for 3%! It's baffling that the recommendations say to check with a doctor before taking any potassium supplements considering a couple of bites of banana seem to have more potassium than the supplement.

I believe that they want you to check with a physician because certain people should not get the RDA of potassium if they have a condition that prevents their body from processing it.

I have made other changes in my diet to try to make sure that cutting calories doesn't cut potassium too low. My interest is in weight loss and in controlling blood pressure.

I've added "light salt" to my diet, which contains potassium and has reduced sodium. Some salt substitutes are all potassium salt and no sodium (if you don't mind the taste of them).

I eat yogurt every day (531 mg or potassium).

I eat more fish. (3 oz. of canned tuna has around 350 mg of potassium)

I snack on carrots (250 mg for one raw carrot)

 

Is Calorie Count accurate with potassium? Clearly not. Here are things I may eat in a typical day that contain potassium but show up as having NO potassium (at least, in the entries of my daily analysis):

yogurt

stewed beef

popcorn

Bumble Bee tuna

pulled pork

chicken salad sandwich

crackers

bread sticks

... we're not getting an accurate count.

So, you and I may still not be getting enough potassium, but Calorie Count is not going to be much help in calculating where we are, or telling us what to eat to increase our intake. Salt substitute is not in the database, either (AFAIK).

 

Good luck!

 

 

 

I use Salt Substitute and it is in the database but hard to tell what a serving is and hard to weigh 1.2 g for me.

I've started using generic items that do list potassium for my dairy with calculated weight to give proper calories.

This new analysis program is great for comparing items in that I logged 5-6 different yogurts then could see the nutrient difference in the Food Table to decide which to log on a permanent basis. Did the same for peanut butter to find one that lists potassium.

If I have an item that has potassium stated on the label but is not included in the database description for the item, I enter it as an added item for my own use.  Problem with those is that they can't be used in recipes which is a bummer.

Thank you (non)drmomentum. I was struggling with the potassium thing as well, wondering if I was actually getting enough, yet not wanting to go with a supplement. I was going to wait for my annual bloodwork and ask my dr. that the potassium level be included in the check, which I will do anyway, just so I know.

#9  
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mischiefdm: Thanks! Looks like salt substitute is half potassium, which makes sense since it's potassium chloride, so you get a bit of both.

1.2 grams is tiny. Amazingly, it looks like you don't have to use much salt substitute to get a whole lot of potassium. A lot more than you get in the supplement.

Also: Checking with a doctor is always a good idea before using any supplement.

Salt substitute doesn't have any sodium which is the culprit in regular salt of sodium chloride. It's not the chloride that is the problem.

Yes, I know to check with doc about supplements as potassium/sodium balance is delicate.

#11  
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Thank you drmomentum.   After reading your replies, I have looked into some of the foods that I thought had a good amount of potassium yet CC showed little or none.   I will not be so worried about my intake as I eat lots of potassium rich foods already.  Thanks again!

Adding my thanks here as well. I thought I was going crazy! Smile

I think the main problem is that many foods don't show potassium levels on their labels. Milk has it, but my milk container doesn't show it listed at all. This is probably why the calorie counter listings are a bit off. I would use this more as a guide than as the final word.

I would not worry about not getting enough potassium if you are eating a balanced diet. There are tons of lists out there to help you make good potassium-rich choices.

FYI: The potassium reporting problem was discussed previously in Announcement 2: Revamped Analysis and in Are you getting enough potassium? threads.

If you hoover your mouse over potassium in the food table, a pop-up-menu gives a food source link which gives a long list of foods with links to CC database items to use in logging.

Yukon potatoes! They're 100 calories and have TONS of potassium!

I was really concerned about this as well so I'm happy to see other people are having the same issue and attributing it to the site.  Low or hight potassium levels can cause some serious and life threatening health problems, so, I was assuming I was okay with it as I'm not having those problems.  Maybe they should just leave it out of the analysis if it isn't very accurate.

#16  
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Thanks to this group.  I'm just 2 wks into using this tool and was pretty surprised that the K levels in my analysis are so low! Y'all were very helpful in pointing out that some K-rich foods don't show the values in the CC analysis.  Merci beaucoup!

I think they stopped referring to potassium as K, atomic symbol, in the food department so it wouldn't be confused with Vitamin-K.

Potassium is NOT one of the elements/ingredients that food labels have to include. So most often they don't have that information available, and the database can't tell the difference between 'this food has had the potassium magically removed from it' and 'no information available'. It can only add up the numbers that it's given. So I'd take the potassium reading with a BIG grain of salt... it's nowhere near accurate, and if you try to supplement it to bring it up to the RDA you'll probably be overdosing.

Unless they can improve the database somehow, I'd think that the potassium count is so inaccurate as to be useless at best, and dangerous at worst because it's encouraging everyone to go out and take unneccessary supplements - too much potassium is dangerous.

it was the "dangerous at worst" part I was worried about. I purchased supplements, but soon stopped taking them because I realized that the limitations placed on them because of danger concerns meant that they were nigh useless.

I have read that too much potassium is dangerous, but I must conclude that it is difficult to get too much in your diet. Otherwise it would be more important for potassium to be listed on labels.

 

As for taking it with a big grain of salt, many people are concerned about potassium because of its assistance in blood pressure regulation. So, we are probably disinclined to add extra sodium to our diet. But perhaps you were referring to potassium salt!

I was happy to see this thread on CC as I've had the same questions. The common thought seems to be that potassium is a wonderful nutrient that is difficult to get in the quantities that are recommended and that the CC analysis feature doesn't do its job in terms of monitoring intake.

I'm wondering if CC is aware and, further, if they can be made aware of this bug in their program. I hesitate to make too much of this because I absolutely love this site and have recommended it to anyone that is interested in nutrition and/or weight management. And the price is right, too! I don't want to seem ungrateful for this amazing tool but one of the reasons it's so amazing is because of the detail, care and accuracy that CC provides.

I'm sure this forum isn't monitored by about.com but it would be great if they addressed this potassium question.

 

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