Many people, including myself, hold the sweet potato in higher health esteem than the white potato. I thought that the sweet potato was much healthier than the white potato as far as nutritional content and glycemic index (the effect the food has on blood glucose) goes, but upon closer inspection there are few differences.
As far as nutrition goes, the sweet potato does contain more and greater quantities of certain vitamins and minerals when compared to the white potato (and vice versa). Both are rich in Vitamin C, B6, and potassium. However, sweet potatoes are a great source of Vitamin A and beta carotene whereas the white potato is rich in folate. It also has more dietary fiber, which is great for the digestive system. There have been studies from Africa have shown that some sweet potatoes meet 35% of all vitamin A needs and others meet over 90% of vitamin A. Here is an interesting tidbit without a little bit of fat (about 3-5 grams) there isn’t as much beta-carotene absorption. I am bummed to say that both the white and sweet potato have similar calorie, fat, carbohydrate, and protein contents.
As far as glycemic index (GI) goes, it all depends on how you cook them. When boiled, both have just about the same GI. The GI increases for both when baked. If I were to pick one over the other, I’d choose the sweet potato purely for taste. But the best thing to do (probably) is to eat a variety of potatoes.
Both sweet and white potatoes can decimate your waistline if you add marshmallows, sugar, butter, sour cream, and over-salt to them. So here are couple ideas for cutting the high calorie additives in your holiday sweet potatoes. In fact, one serving adds up to about 300-450 calories (ccoked the traditional way).
Making the Sweet Potato Candied, Yet Healthy:
Add olive oil, agave nectar and cinnamon
- Pat the potato dry before lightly spreading the olive oil.
- Poke some holes in them with a fork. Cook at about 400 degrees. It will take about 80 minutes for 4-5 potatoes.
- Once they have cooled cut length-wise and drizzle the agave and sprinkle with cinnamon. I like to salt them with a little Himalayan pink sea salt.
Simple and Clean Sweet Potatoes
Olive oil, Parsley, Pink Sea Salt, Ground Pepper, Red Pepper Flake
- Keep the skins on for this recipe. Just rub and clean them real good. The oven should be at 425 degrees.
- Rub the skin with olive oil and slice across the potatoes every 1/8 to 1.4 inch, without cutting all the way through. It will look like sweet potatoes fries that have not been separated.
- Place eat potato in an individual piece of tin f oil. Sprinkle with salt, parsley and red pepper. Once you have seasoned each one, wrap is in the tin foil so they do not fall apart.
- Once they have cooked after 50-70 minutes depending on size of potato, open each one up and make sure the top has browned.
1 cup of sweet potato (200g)
0 g fat, 41 g carbs, 4 g protein
7 g dietary fiber
Glycemic Index for 150 gram serving (boiled): 46
Rich in Vitamin A, C, & B6, manganese, and potassium.
1 cup of white potato (200g)
0 g fat, 42 g carbs, 6 g protein
4 g dietary fiber
Glycemic Index for 150 gram serving (boiled): 50
Rich in Vitamin C, B6, folate, and potassium.
co-written with Piotr Lewkows