Sweet Potatoes or White Potatoes, Which One is Better?

In Education

Potatoes are a global dietary staple, with the United States favoring them as the most consumed vegetable. While sweet potatoes are often deemed superior due to diet culture, white potatoes are unfairly criticized for their carb content. Frying potatoes in fast food raises their calorie and fat levels, altering their nutritional value, but this doesn’t make potatoes inherently unhealthy.

Potatoes are low-carbohydrate alternatives  

Sweet potatoes and white potatoes are both root vegetables, but they belong to different plant families. Sweet potatoes are from the Convolvulaceae family, while white potatoes belong to the Solanaceae family, making them “nightshade” vegetables along with tomatoes and eggplants.

It is important to note that sweet potatoes and white potatoes have similar nutritional value, with minor differences. A medium white potato has about 150 calories, while a medium sweet potato has around 100 calories. Therefore, both are low-calorie carb options.

Potatoes offer a small amount of protein, with both sweet and white potatoes providing about two grams in a medium size. They are low in fat, containing approximately 0.5 grams of fat for two potatoes, as long as they are not fried or heavily coated in oil. 

Sweet potatoes have around 23 grams of carbs, while white potatoes have about 26 grams. Despite some preference for sweet potatoes by the low-carb crowd, the difference in carb content is not substantial. 

Potatoes should be paired with starch and proteins 

However, glycemic index (GI) may be a concern for those monitoring blood sugar impact. Therefore it is advisable to pair potatoes with non-starchy vegetables and protein for better glycemic control, and people with diabetes should reduce high-GI foods.

In terms of fiber content, a medium white potato has about 2 grams of dietary fiber, while a medium sweet potato contains around 3.5 grams. The difference is small, approximately 1.5 grams, making both options equally beneficial for digestion and promoting a feeling of fullness. Sweet potatoes stand out due to their high beta carotene concentration, which converts to vitamin A in the body.

Notably, sweet potatoes are nutritionally superior, as one medium sweet potato can supply over 100% of your daily nutrient requirements.

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