Potatoes tend to get a bad rap since this vegetable is processed in so many different ways (think French fries and potato chips). However, there are some redeeming nutritional values provided by potatoes. Let’s do a little comparison.
Serving Size: 1 medium potato with skin
Calories: 128 white potato; 103 sweet potato
Fat: 0.2 g white potato; 0.2 g sweet potato
Low fat as long as you don’t “drown” a potato in high fat toppings, such as butter, sour cream, marshmallows, etc.
Fiber: 3 g white potato; 4 g sweet potato
Fiber promotes stable blood sugar levels and reduced cholesterol.
Soluble Fiber: 1 g white potato; 2 g sweet potato
Soluble fiber is estimated to lower LDL cholesterol 1% for every 1-2 grams consumed daily.
Glycemic Index: 85 (high) white potato; 54 (low) sweet potato
The glycemic index is simply a measure of how quickly a food (particularly carbohydrates) raises blood sugar levels.
Potassium: 738.3 mg white potato; 541.5 mg sweet potato
A high potassium intake is needed to balance out sodium in the diet in order to lower blood pressure levels.
Vitamin C: 13.25 mg white potato; 22.34 mg sweet potato
An antioxidant that promotes cellular health and is also used to form collagen.
Vitamin B6: 0.43 mg white potato; 0.33 mg sweet potato
Essential to many bodily processes, including amino acid and lipid (fat) metabolism.
Beta-carotene: 8.28 mcg white potato; 13120 mcg sweet potato
Beta-carotene is a precursor for Vitamin A.
Lutein + zeaxathin: 41.4 mcg white potato; 0 mcg sweet potato
This nutrient is linked to eye health and prevention of macular degeneration.
I must tell you this is the first time I’ve actually lined up the nutritional difference between a white potato and a sweet potato. I really expected the sweet potato to far “out shine” a white potato nutritionally, but the difference isn’t as great as I expected. However, there is still a benefit to selecting a sweet potato over a white potato. There is a significant difference in the glycemic index, soluble fiber, and beta-carotene content that make a sweet potato a better option.
Remember, sweet potatoes do have a place in your diet outside of Thanksgiving. If you have a favorite (and healthy!) sweet potato recipe, please share it below!
All the best,
Lisa Nelson RD