Are Sweet Potatoes Really Healthier Than White Potatoes?

Nutrition facts suggest sweet potatoes and white potatoes might not be so different after all.

May 14, 2021

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Photo by: LauraSanFrancisco/Getty Images

LauraSanFrancisco/Getty Images

Sweet potatoes seem to have a "health halo" around them, and anyone who is carb-phobic will tell you to choose sweet potatoes over white ones, but is that sound nutrition advice? Not exactly. Potatoes are packed with nutrients, no matter their color, and both white potatoes and sweet potatoes have nutritional value worth talking about. Here's what you need to know about which potatoes are better for you: sweet potatoes or white potatoes.

Sweet Potato Nutrition Facts

A medium-sized baked sweet potato has 100 calories, 23 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of protein, and no fat or cholesterol. It's also rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene and vitamin C. Sweet potatoes are also loaded with potassium and vitamin B6.

Many Paleo advocates allow sweet potatoes on the plan where carbs and sugar are forbidden. Due to their lower glycemic index and plethora of nutrients many Paleo followers will enjoy sweet potatoes. However, this does not mean that sweet potatoes are healthier, in general, for the average consumer.

Baked, roasted, mashed, added to chili or pureed into soup – adding sweet potatoes to your meals can help you stay satisfied and provide you with a hefty dose of nutrients.

White Potato Nutrition Facts

A white potato can be one of the seven common potato varieties including russet, yellow, white, red, purple/blue, fingerling, and petite.

One medium-sized white potato has about 110 calories, 26 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of both fiber and 3 grams of protein, and is also free of fat and cholesterol. As for vitamins and minerals, white potatoes are stuffed with vitamins C, B6, niacin, folate, potassium, manganese, magnesium and phosphorus.

Just like sweet potatoes, white potatoes make an easy and delicious side dish all by themselves. They're also wonderful in classic comfort foods like Shepherd's pie and potato pancakes. To get more fiber in your diet, keep the skin on your potato when mashing or making other dishes.

Which Potato Is Healthier? Both!

If you glance at the nutrition info of both sweet and white potatoes, they’re not that different. Both provide similar amounts of protein, potassium, and vitamin B6. Both sweet potatoes and white potatoes are included on the FDA’s Top 20 Raw Vegetable list. As such, this food fight is a tie because both of these root vegetables have so much to offer.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. She is the author of four cookbooks First Bites: Superfoods for Babies and Toddlers, The Healthy Air Fryer Cookbook, The Healthy Instant Pot Cookbook and Healthy Quick and Easy Smoothies.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, is a registered dietitian and consultant who specializes in food safety and culinary nutrition. She is the author of The Greek Yogurt Kitchen: More Than 130 Delicious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Day.

*This article was written and/or reviewed by an independent registered dietitian nutritionist.

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