When you think of white potatoes, unhealthy junk food such as the sinful and addictive potato chips and deep-fried french fries might come to mind. It makes you wonder if swapping the ol’ white potato with sweet potato for good would make a lot more nutritional sense. Surely, a potato by any other name would still be a potato. But is it really as simple as that? There’s also the need to really make our carb intake count, given just how easy it is for modern diets to enable us to consume way too much carbohydrates. With health benefits by the dozens, sweet potatoes do indeed have plenty to offer consumers — but do they truly outweigh the humble white potato? Read on to find out.
Comparing Their Nutritional Values
First, let’s objectively understand their benefits by measuring their average nutritional values. Are white potatoes that unworthy on the nutritional front, compared to sweet potatoes?
Which Is Better For Gut Health?
Both potatoes contain plenty of fibre, putting you at an overall lower risk of colon cancer. In this regard, the average white potato does contain much more fibre than sweet potatoes, giving it a slight edge over the latter. However, sweet potatoes are also rich in antioxidants that can strengthen your gut. It would be quite fair to declare a draw between the two in this category.
Sweet potatoes are lauded for their high potassium content, so much so that you may be quite surprised to learn that white potatoes actually contain more potassium. Given our high-sodium diets of today, the need to consume enough potassium has now become much more important than ever, since this mineral often works together with sodium in numerous bodily functions. Moreover, white potatoes also contain more iron and magnesium than sweet potatoes. Women in particular, need all the iron that we can get. However, sweet potatoes do contain more calcium and manganese than white potatoes. It’s clear that there’s no way to measure which is better here, either, since both potatoes have their own fair share of minerals to offer.
Calories, Sugars, And Weight Loss
When it comes to caloric content, white potatoes do tend to pile on more calories than sweet potatoes. However, it’s most definitely worth noting that sweet potatoes contain more sugar than white potatoes and any unused sugar will ultimately be stored as fat. White potatoes also contain more fibre than sweet potatoes, which can make you feel fuller quicker. This can help you better exercise portion control. This, of course, doesn’t mean that sweet potatoes are more likely to lead to weight gain. In fact, sweet potatoes are lower on the glycaemic index than white potatoes, which means that they digest slower and release sugar into your bloodstream less quickly. In other words, you will not feel the loss of energy as quickly when you consume sweet potatoes. Evidently, both potatoes are, more or less, on even ground once again.
Sweet potatoes are the spuds you’re looking for if you’re particularly concerned with premature ageing. They’re rightly famous for its significantly high vitamin A content, thus, both of which are known for their ability to combat cellular damage in your skin. There’s hardly any competition for white potatoes here; the percentage of vitamin A in sweet potatoes vastly outweighs that of white potatoes. Sweet potatoes also contain more vitamin C than white potatoes, but since few people would ever consume either potato raw, this vitamin is often lost through cooking anyway. This gives sweet potatoes an edge. So, does this mean that sweet potatoes are better?
It’s In Their Prep
In spite of the sweet potatoes’ slight edge in terms of vitamin A content, overall, neither potato is truly that much healthier than the other. White potatoes receive so much undeserved flak from anti-carb camps when it is quite apparent that they’re also just as beneficial to our health in different ways. Both spuds have much to offer us.
In fact, white potatoes have long been wrongly accused of being the least-favoured sibling as compared to sweet potatoes through no fault of theirs: they’re usually cooked in incredibly unhealthy ways. More people, for instance, are consuming white potatoes after they’ve been deep-fried, or worse. Think highly processed foods such as french fries or potato chips. If you wish to include more white potatoes in your diet, consider cooking them in a soup with minimal use of cooking oil. You should also control how much salt you add to your pot of soup.
The one true advantage that sweet potatoes have over white potatoes is its natural sweetness. One could easily wrap an entire root with a bit of aluminium foil, pop it into the oven for a while, peel the outer layer and enjoy it on its own. This makes sweet potatoes a great healthy snack. However, rather than prioritise one over the other, our ability to exercise portion control is far more important. You absolutely can have your potato and eat it too. All you have to do is to bear in mind how much you’re actually eating within a day.