Sweet potato has earned a reputation as the healthier spud, but is that praise deserved? Here we look at the nutrition content of both sweet potatoes and white potatoes to determine which potato is healthiest.
Sweet potatoes are also a wholefood, fat-free concentrated source of complex carbohydrates. They contain a different set of nutrients to the white potato, including, it must be highlighted, almost double the fibre (both soluble and insoluble) than white potatoes (3.1g/100g) and plenty of Vitamin C (30mg/100g). Sweet potatoes also contain healthy levels of Vitamin E (0.81mg/100g), an antioxidant that fights free radicals and aids immunity, as well as Provitamin A (1239ug/100g) (in the form of carotenoids, the dietary precursors of retinol), which promotes normal vision, maintains the health of epithelial tissue and skin, supports reproduction and growth and acts as an antioxidant. They also contain healthy amounts of potassium (305mg/100g), zinc (0.61mg/100g), calcium (33mg/100g) and phosphorous (44mg/100g). Small amounts of iron (0.61mg/100g) and magnesium (17mg/100g) are also present in sweet potato, however, they do contain four times the sugar content of the white potato (6.8g/100g compared to 1.5g/100g).
Well, you may be surprised to hear that the humble potato is equally as nutritious as the hip cousin, the sweet potato, and also deserves a prominent position in healthy food guides! The humble wholefood, fat-free white potato is a concentrated source of complex carbohydrates and a comfort food because it delivers that satisfying feeling of fullness. White potatoes also contain healthy amounts of dietary fibre (1.7g/100g), including 0.6g/100g of resistant starch, which aids digestion and gut health. White potatoes also contain significant levels of potassium (576mg/100g), important for maintaining fluid balance, muscle contractions and blood pressure, phosphorus (82mg/100g), important for the health of bones, teeth and energy metabolism, as well as vitamin C (19mg/100g), important for cell renewal, skin health and immunity. They also contain small amounts of magnesium (29mg/100g), iron (0.68mg/100g), zinc (0.32mg/100g), Vitamin B1, B2, B3, calcium and folate.
Both types of potatoes deliver similar amounts of kilojoules (360kj/100g each) and carbohydrates (17g/100g). The average-sized potato has the same kilojoules as just two slices of bread! It is the toppings such as butter, sour cream and mayonnaise that add excess kilojoule intake! Instead of adding bacon, cheese, sour cream or butter, why not try a healthier alternative such as greek yoghurt, cottage cheese with steamed veggies, corn salsa, or even baked beans!
So which potato is the healthiest?
Each potato delivers a different set of equally important vitamins, minerals and beneficial fibres, which together contribute to digestive health and wellness. So in the sweet potato vs white potato debate, there are no winners, either option is a nutritious addition to your plate.