Sweet Potatoes vs Regular Potatoes: Is One Better Than The Other?
Welcome to fall everyone! This is the time of year that Long Islanders love. The leaves will start to change soon, holidays are coming, and our favorite produce items are now in season!! As registered dietitians we know that potatoes are part of so many crockpot and holiday dishes, and we often get asked which of the potatoes are healthier; sweet potatoes or white potatoes. Today we will talk about the different nutrients in each and why they are both special in their own way.
We will start with our traditional white potatoes. These are a nutrient dense, complex carbohydrate that are not only an excellent source of Vitamin C, but a good source of Vitamin B6. They have about 26 grams of carbohydrates per serving (1 medium potato), which is 9% of the daily value. Carbohydrates are a key macronutrient that provide a source of energy for muscles to help fuel, perform, and recover from workouts. Secondly, white potatoes have 27 mg of Vitamin C per serving, which is about 30% of the daily value. Vitamin C assists with collagen production and supports iron absorption. Potatoes also have 620 mg of potassium per serving, which is about 15% of the daily value. They have about 2g of fiber per serving, which is about 7% of the daily value. Lastly, they are a source of iron and protein. As you can see they are packed full of nutrients!!
Sweet potatoes have their own health benefits as well. They contain a good amount of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and manganese into each serving. They can come in a variety of sizes and colors, including orange, white, and purple. One cup of sweet potatoes provides about 4 grams of fiber, 213% of the daily value of Vitamin A, and 44% of the daily value of Vitamin C. The orange and purple sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants that can help to protect the body from free radicals and inflammation. These potatoes are also very nutrient dense!
Overall, both provide similar amounts of carbohydrates, potassium, and vitamin B6. They both also contain two types of fiber; soluble and insoluble which are helpful for digestion. Higher fiber diets containing 20-33g of fiber is linked to lower risk of colon cancer. They can each be enjoyed in a multitude of different recipes. For breakfast, white potatoes can be served with eggs or made into sweet potato toast. Both can be served mashed, baked, or toasted. They can serve as sides or be the star of their own main dish.
The bottom line is that both types of potatoes are packed full of nutrients, and should be varied throughout your meals and even snacks!!
Until next time,
Katherine Ancona, MS RDN, CDN