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White potato vs. Sweet potato

White potato vs. Sweet potato

Thanks to the craze of low carbohydrate diets over the past few years, the white potato has been unfortunately been placed on the “not-so-good” list in many people’s minds.  However, the white potato can still be part of balanced meal and is a good source of many nutrients.  Often times when discussing potatoes with people I will hear some where in the conversation that sweet potatoes are better- and maybe they are.  It all comes down to how you would define “good” or “better.”

Well, I would like to present you with a few nutritional facts so you can make a more informed decision.

Here are a few nutrition facts based on 100 grams of white potato and sweet potato, both including the skin.  (According to Bowes & Church’s Food Values, 17th edition)

  • Both potatoes have less than 1 gram of fat (of course until we add all our toppings!)
  • Both potatoes have ~24 grams of carbohydrate
  • Both are very low in sodium (<10 mg)
  • The sweet potato is slightly higher in fiber with 3 grams vs. 2.4 grams from the white potato
  • The white potato was slightly higher in potassium with 418 mg vs. 348 mg from the sweet potato
  • The sweet potato was slightly higher in vitamin C with 33% vs. 17% from the white potato
  • The white potato was slightly higher in vitamin B6 with 27% vs. 18% from the sweet potato
  • The sweet potato was much higher in vitamin A with ~70% vs. none from the white potato

So, as you can see both potatoes are good sources of several nutrients, are very low in fat and sodium, and are very comparable in carbohydrate content. 

Another argument with potatoes is that they are high on the glycemic index or that they will raise your blood sugar.  This is true; potatoes do raise blood sugars and are high on the glycemic index.  However, when potatoes are eaten as part of a well-balanced meal and portion size is kept in control, you can still achieve good blood sugar levels.  So this holiday season, enjoy your potatoes without guilt, but remember portions sizes do count!

What are some of your favorite healthful ways to eat potatoes?

Until next time….Greta Hopke, RD, LD

Posted: 2007-12-10


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