TOTW Tuesday: Sweet Potatoes vs Regular Potatoes?

by Ashley on November 12, 2013

Sweet potatoes vs regular potatoes – the great debate.

People often ask me which is healthier – a sweet potato or a white potato? And there are also those that tell me that they wouldn’t dare touch a white potato because “white potatoes are bad.”

Today, I hope to put an end to the questions and give you the information that you need to make the best decision the next time your faced with, “sweet potato or baked potato?”

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First things first: to many of your contrary believe, both the sweet potato and the white potato are healthy.

Here’s the truth behind the potatoes:

Regarding Vitamins, Minerals, Antioxidants and Phytonutrients:

  • Both are full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and phytonutrients.
  • Both have a similar vitamin and mineral profile.
  • Sweet potatoes contain more vitamin A than regular potatoes.
  • White potatoes have slightly more folate than regular potatoes.
  • Sweet potatoes contain slightly more vitamin K than regular potatoes.
  • Sweet potatoes contain more calcium than regular potatoes.
  • When choosing regular potatoes, chose the red or purple-fleshed potatoes; they have higher amounts of antioxidants and phytochemicals than white potatoes.
Regarding Calories, Carbohydrates, Protein, Fat, Sugar and Starch:
  • Sweet potatoes are slightly lower in calories (emphasizing slightly) than regular potatoes.
  • Sweet potatoes are slightly lower in protein than regular potatoes.
  • Sweet potatoes are slightly lower in carbohydrates than regular potatoes.
  • Sweet potatoes have more natural sugar than regular potatoes (hence the name).
  • Regular potatoes have more undigestible resistant starch (a good thing!) than sweet potatoes.
  • Both are slow digesting.

For this weeks Tip of the Week Tuesday, I free you to choose whichever potato you enjoy most. As you can see, it’s not the kind of potato that is the problem; it’s the method of cooking (fried, pies, etc.) and the other ingredients used (oil, butter, sour cream, cheese, sugar, marshmallows, etc.). When choosing either a regular potato or a sweet potato, opt for the whole potato over fries, mashed potatoes, or sweet potato pie

If you just can’t stand a regular potato without a dollop of sour cream, try fat-free plain Greek yogurt instead. It taste nearly the exact same without the saturated fat! And when it comes to sweet potatoes… if you think you just can’t eat them without butter, cinnamon and sugar, try coconut oil and cinnamon instead. The coconut oil provides a healthier fat and tastes slightly sweet too!

Whatever one you choose, choose it in it’s whole, minimally processed form.

Which do you like better, sweet potatoes or regular potatoes? I’m a sweet potato girl myself!

Have a great day!

Good health!

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Heather @TheSoulfulSpoon November 12, 2013 at 12:53 pm

This was a fabulous post! I think so many people get confused with potatoes. Since I have a sweet tooth, I’m a HUGE sweet potato fan. The purple Japanese yams are my fave!:) Thanks for sharing these tips. Either way, potatoes are nature’s healthy starch, and much better for you than white bread, I say:) Great job!
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Ashley November 17, 2013 at 4:12 pm

Thank you!! Yum!! I love the Japanese yams too!! So glad you enjoyed this post!

Sean M November 12, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I was with you until this statement:

“If you just can’t stand a regular potato without a dollop of sour cream, try fat-free plain Greek yogurt instead. It taste nearly the exact same without the saturated fat! And when it comes to sweet potatoes… if you think you just can’t eat them without butter, cinnamon and sugar, try coconut oil and cinnamon instead. The coconut oil provides a healthier fat and tastes slightly sweet too!”

Saturated fat is NOT bad for you and has now been proven over and over again. This just recently came out, My Science Academy and Dietitian Cassie has been speaking about sat fat and butter for a long time.

Although, I know you were trying to give an alternative! 🙂

Honestly, I don’t eat regular potatoes any more because of the taste of the potato. I like the flavor of the sweet potato much better…and our dogs think it’s CRACK!
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Ashley November 17, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Awe, well, I am sorry to hear that, but I do appreciate you expressing your opinion as well! As a practicing and registered dietitian out of the Mayo Clinic, while doing my training there I learned the importance to practice strictly evidence based and to follow only well supported, non-conflicting, credible research thus leading to my decision to limit animal based saturated fat.

I’m with you on the sweet potato! To me, they are so much more tasty! Our pups LOVE them too!! In fact, I think I’ll pop some in the oven tonight!

Fifi November 12, 2013 at 7:56 pm

Hey Ash! Great info as always. <3

I learned something new about indigestable starch.

Ashley November 12, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Thank you Fifi!! So happy to hear that!! 🙂

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