It’s a common belief that sweet potatoes are healthier than white potatoes. Within the paleo community, many dismiss white potatoes completely while adoring its sweet friend.
Here’s the truth: Both foods have their own unique health benefits.
One is not more superior than the other.
Not everyone eats potatoes and some do best avoiding them for a certain time period. However, if you do eat potatoes then consider eating both white and sweet along with other varieties.
Below you will find the important nutrition information for sweet potatoes and white potatoes. All numbers are based on 200 calories. The vitamin and mineral numbers are DV% except for Choline which is in milligrams as noted. I bolded the “winner” in blue.
All data is taken from NutritionData.com.
Vitamins (Sweet Potatoes vs White Potatoes)
- Vitamin A: 658 vs 0
- Vitamin C: 9 vs 95
- Vitamin D: 0 vs 0
- Vitamin E: 3 vs 0
- Vitamin K: 5 vs 6
- Thiamin: 12 vs 14
- Riboflavin: 8 vs 6
- Niacin: 6 vs 15
- Vitamin B6: 24 vs 29
- Folate: 6 vs 13
- Vitamin B12: 0 vs 0
- Pantothenic Acid: 19 vs 8
- Choline: 28.5 mg vs 31.9 mg
Minerals (Sweet Potatoes vs White Potatoes)
- Calcium: 7 vs 3
- Iron: 8 vs 8
- Magnesium: 14 vs 15
- Phosphorus: 11 vs 18
- Potassium: 22 vs 34
- Sodium: 5 vs 1
- Zinc: 5 vs 6
- Copper: 18 vs 17
- Manganese: 30 vs 21
- Selenium: 2 vs 1
Macronutrients (Sweet Potatoes vs White Potatoes)
- Carbohydrate: 47 vs 49
- Fiber: 7 vs 7
- Sugar: 10 vs 3
- Fat: 0 vs 0
- Protein: 4 vs 5
The glycemic load is also indifferent: 19 for sweet potatoes and 20 for white potatoes for 200 calories each.
The inflammation factor is a different story with sweet potatoes coming in at 286 (strongly anti-inflammatory) and white potatoes scoring at -112 (moderately inflammatory). However, if you peel the skin then I bet that inflammatory potato all of a sudden becomes anti-inflammatory.
As you can see, white potatoes win in 6 out of 11 nutrients compared (excluding ties). If the %DV was within 2 percentage points I left it alone. That’s too close to call. The data is never exact. If you did include these ‘too close to call’ nutrients then white potatoes would win 10 to 8.
Sweet potatoes have loads of Vitamin A but it’s the pre cursor form. Your body will not use much of that Vitamin A unless you add lots of fat like butter (do it!). White potatoes are full of potassium and Vitamin C. Based on the vitamin and mineral content, I’d say it’s a tossup. Anti-nutrients, lectins, etc. are present in both foods. Heat destroys most of them and they become not so problematic.
I remember a poll that was taken a while back within the primal/paleo community. About 50% said they believe white rice is an ok food. It’s good to consume after an intense workout. Why not eat baked white or sweet potatoes instead? They seem to be fairly benign yet provide a lot more nutrition compared to white rice.
I want to know what YOU think about white potatoes and sweet potatoes. Do you avoid white potatoes? If so, why? Do you eat sweet potatoes instead? Does this post change your mind perhaps? Sound off in the comment section below.