In some nutrition circles, the sweet potato is hailed as far superior to the villainized white potato. It was said that the sweet potato was healthy and white potatoes are starchy and will make you gain weight. So is one really better than the other? Let’s find out!
In their basic form, the nutritional values of white potatoes and sweet potatoes are very similar. Calories, carbs, protein, and fat, are the same for each type or within 5-10 points of each other. Sweet potatoes have slightly more fiber and Vitamin A, but white potatoes have slightly higher amounts of iron, magnesium, and potassium.
Another argument for sweet potatoes that gets thrown around is that it has a lower glycemic index (GI) than white potatoes, meaning it doesn’t spike your blood sugar as much. This is true, but the GI can be changed by how the potatoes are prepared. Baking increases the GI for foods since the high heat turns the starches into sugars. A baked sweet potato can have a higher GI than a boiled white potato. Fiber, fat, and protein all help to lower the GI too, so eating the skin of the potato or adding a little light sour cream or cheese can help head-off the spike.
So, what’s the verdict? It’s a draw! Each type has its pros and cons and you should alternate between eating both. When eaten with minimal additions like butter, bacon, or sugar, white and sweet potatoes can be part of a healthy diet.
Photo by Monika Grabkowska on Unsplash
Photo by Lars Blankers on Unsplash