A Nutritional comparison of the Potato and the Sweet Potato.

Potato or Sweet Potato

Over time, we have all heard the arguments about eating potatoes. Everyone has an opinion about whether the Potato is actually bad for you, or is it a healthy food for you and your family to consume safely and on a regular basis?

And right along with this conversation, people will often chime in about Sweet Potatoes and how much better they are for you.

Then the argument will drift through other areas such as; how each is prepared and what are the best condiments to use on them, .

I often walk away from such conversations more confused than I had been before, shaking my head and determined to look the real facts up, myself, one day.

Potatoes

Fresh or Green Potatoes
Fresh or Green Potatoes | Source

What are Potatoes, Sweet or Otherwise

The Potato is a starchy tuber that originated in the Andes regions of South America.

Today, it is cultivated and grown as a major food staple around the world and is presently the worlds fourth largest crop grown for food.

There are many variants of the potato but the most prevalent is referred to as the White Potato, or the Irish Potato.

The Sweet Potato is also a popular Starchy Tuber, thought to have originated in Central America. It has a pleasant and sweet flavor, and actually, it is really only a very distant cousin to the common Potato.

YAMS:

And, by the way, Sweet Potatoes are not Yams, regardless of what your grand-mother called them. The Yam is actually an edible tuber that is not related to the Sweet Potato at all.

The Yam is more starchy and much dryer than a Sweet Potato and is an important food staple in parts of the world.

In the US, even though it is popular to also call Sweet Potatoes, Yams, the FDA requires that canned YAMS must contain the words Sweet Potato on the label if they are also labeled as Yams to clarify this fact for consumers.

Sweet Potato

Typical Sweet Potato
Typical Sweet Potato | Source

The Comparison Data and its Source

After spending a little time roaming the web for Unbiased sources of information about Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes, I ended back at one of my favorite sites called SelfNutritionData. Their data has proven reliable for me and is easily understood.

The data listed in this article is for the two types of Potato, under the following conditions;

Serving Size:

The serving size I selected for each Potato is 100-Grams.

For your reference, 1-CUP of Sugar equals around 220-Grams (or 7.75 ounces) and also 1-CUP of Honey or Molasses equals around 340-Grams (or 12-ounces).

Preparation Method:

Both the Sweet Potato and the Common Potato were Baked with the Flesh and Skin included and with NO SALT added.

All other conditions were the same for during the preparation of both types of Potato..

FRIED POTATOES:

OK, I have to mention it somewhere. We love to eat fried potatoes. Whether they are the common "French Fries" or some exotic chef's recipe for breading, spicing and frying potatoes, they are not healthy.

And the Nutritional plus' of either the Potato or the Sweet Potato are offset by the added Fat and Calories you get when you deep fry them.

What are the nutritional differences

Well, after you scan the data in the table, you will see that there are very few radical differences in the Nutritional Content of these two families of Tubers.

Surprisingly, to me anyway, the Calories, Carbohydrates, Cholesterol and Fats are the same for both foods.

Fiber:

The actual fiber content of the typical Sweet Potato is higher than that of the regular Potato.

Beta-Carotene:

The Sweet Potato is high in Beta-Carotene, and the darker the skin color, the higher the Beta-Carotene level in the Sweet Potato will be.

Diabetics:

The Glycemic Index for baked Potatoes (90) and Sweet Potatoes (96) is higher than that of Glucose (59) itself. These numbers are specifically for when they are baked, in their skin, for at least 45 minutes to one hour.

But by boiling either the Potato or the Sweet Potato, also in their skin, their Glycemic Index will drop to half that of their baked numbers.

The reason for this is the fact that by baking such a high starch food as a high temperature will convert their starches into a substance that is digested faster, thus converting a Moderate-GI food to a High-GI food.

A good rule of thumb for a Diabetic is to consume foods with a Glycemic Index lower than 60 (or essentially lower than Sugar).

Vitamin A:

The Vitamin A level of a regular Potato is essentially non-existant, while the Sweet Potato comes in with a hefty 384% of the MDR.

Vitamin C:

The Vitamin C levels of each are not so impressive, coming in at 16%-MDR for the Potato and 33%-MDR for the Sweet Potato, but the Sweet Potato does come in at twice that of the common potato.

POTATO versus SWEET POTATO

Description
POTATO - 100 Grams
SWEET POTATO - 100 Grams
Preperation - Baked, with Skin, No Salt Added
Yes
Yes
Calories
93
90
Calotries from Fat
1
1
Total Fat
0g
0g
Saturated Fat
0g
0g
Cholesterol
0g
0g
Sodium
10mg
36mg
Total Carbs
21g - 7%-MDR
21g - 7%-MDR
Dietary Fiber
2g- 9%-MDR
3g - 13%-MDR
Sugars
1g
6g
Protein
3g
2g
Vitamin A
0% MDR
384% MDR
Vitamin C
16% MDR
33% MDR
Calcium
1% MDR
4%
Iron
6% MDR
4%
Glycemic Load - Target=less than 100/day
10
9
Inflammation Factor - Target-greater than 50/day
-60
189
Glycemic Index
90
96
A Comparison of Nutritional Data on a POTATO and a SWEET POTATO Source; Nutritiondata.self.com

For more details on Nutritional Content

The wide and varied range or recipes for the preparation of the common Potato is in itself a sign of the popularity of this food. And, with such popularity, the nutritional information should be looked at for each dish that you make.

But, if you need more detailed data on the Nutritional content of Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes themselves, as well as other foods, click here: Nutritiondata.self

There are other good sites, but I have found this one to be more informative.

The Amazing Sweet Potato

© 2013 Don Bobbitt

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Comments 25 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Interesting stuff here Don! We just recently started buying sweet potato fries instead of the regular kind, and I gotta say I love the taste. I might have to try more of these sweet potatoes.....see, you can teach an old dog new tricks. :)


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 3 years ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Billybuc, old son! Thanks for the comment.

I love them myself, and they are a fantastic change from regular potatoes in any form.

And, BTW, the way I see it, if it wasn't for us old dogs and our old tricks, where would be the challenge to them to find a new trick?

Keep on Keepin' On, Billybuc!

DON


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

This was a well-chosen topic to write about, and produced an interesting and beautiful hub. As a southern girl, and of Irish heritage , I love them both.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 3 years ago from United States

Great information. I love sweet potatoes and I am glad to know they are healthier. Voted up and useful.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 3 years ago from Ruskin Florida Author

rebeccamealey- Thank You for the nice comment on my article. And, you are so right, we do love our potatoes in the South don't we.

Growing up, if there wasn't at least a bowl of mashed potatoes on the table, we kids would start whining immediately. LOL!

Have a good day,

DON


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 3 years ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Pamela99- Thanks for the comment and I am glad that you liked my Hub enough to give it a Vote UP.

Have a great day,DON


Sue Bailey profile image

Sue Bailey 3 years ago from South Yorkshire, UK

Great information here. I accidentally discovered a way to make any potatoes sweet. Store them in the fridge for a couple of weeks. For some reason they turn sweet. Not sure what it does to the nutritional content though! Voted up and interesting.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 3 years ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Sue Bailey- Interesting that a cold stored potato will turn sweet. I wonder if it has something to do with the starch converting itself similar to the way it does when heated and then converts early in your stomach.

Being sweeter, up front, the Glycemic Index would be higher.

Thanks for the comment as well as the Vote UP.

DON


janetwrites profile image

janetwrites 3 years ago from Germany

Very interesting and informative hub about regular potatoes and sweet potatoes. I do love both of them as they are easy to prepare and you can make a lot from them. Voted up, useful and interesting.


Careermommy profile image

Careermommy 3 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

Don, this was great info. I'm always making my kids sweet potatoes over regular potatoes, but didn't realize all of the nutritional benefits with the sweet. Thank you for the valuable information.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 3 years ago from Ruskin Florida Author

janetwrites- I am glad that you found my Hub informative. ANd, I hop it clears up some of the mysteries about these two great food staples.

Thanks for the Vote UP and flags.

Have a great day,

DON


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 3 years ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Careermommy- I appreciate that my article had some useful information for you. I hope it helped others also, and thanks again, foe the read.

DON


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

I had no idea a yam and a sweet potato were different. Your chart confirms why I like sweet potatoes better. Now if I could get my husband and daughter to like them, we'd be good. Useful hub.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 3 years ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Glimmer Twin Fan- Yes, the great Yam is now exposed to the world. LOL! Actually, it has a number of traits that make the true Yam popular in poor areas around the world, and I really did not research how the South ended up confusing the two.But, it could make an interesting Hub?

Thanks for the vote and read.

DON


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Thanks, Don, for clarifying the difference between Sweet Potatoes and yams. I knew that they were not one and the same veggie (tuber)...but I never took the time to find out WHY..

Growing up, I had sweet potatoes, once a year...at Thanksgiving dinner. They were never a favorite of mine. However, as an adult I realized what I didn't especially like about them was actually the "added" brown sugar and butter (sometimes mini-marshmallows were added!) YUK..........I simply BAKED a sweet potato once and ate it, served the same way as a white baked potato.....and now I PREFER them to white! How simple.......UP+++


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 3 years ago from Ruskin Florida Author

fpherj48- Good point about eating a Sweet Potato. It is a good food, with a taste of its own, by itself. And once eaten and appreciated, many others would enjoy them in my opinion.

Thanks for the comment and support,

DON


Express10 profile image

Express10 3 years ago from East Coast

Thanks for providing all these useful details about sweet potatoes such as including the glycemic index information. I love potatoes but take care to eat them along with lean protein. I love baked potatoes, never eat them fried, but your hub inspired me to try them boiled again. I haven't done that in several years.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 3 years ago from Ruskin Florida Author

Express10- Thanks so much for reading my Hub. And, I am glad that the information was useful to you.

Another note you might try. When I was in Kidney failure, I found that by just peeling, washing and cutting a potato into 1-inch cubes, and then soaking for 10-minutes, Microwave for 10-minutes, and repeating this again, I was able to remove a great deal of the Starch content of the potato. I forget my source of this information for the moment, but I did this often at that time.


Express10 profile image

Express10 3 years ago from East Coast

I'm glad that you are doing better now. I recently had high protein levels in a urine test for life insurance for which they gleefully rose the price but I've scheduled a trip to the Dr. to ensure that the protein levels are high because I get plenty of exercise and not due to any kidney damage or failure. Thanks for the tip, that is very useful to many, just like your hub.


DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

A wholesome meal and I enjoy both kinds of potatoes, you have written a well researched Hub on both kinds of potatoes. I learned more acts about two different kinds of potatoes.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 3 years ago from Ruskin Florida Author

DDE- Thanks for the comment on my Hub. I hope some of the information has proved to be useful to you.

DON


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York

Well you sure picked a popular subject Don! Definitely a favorite food in America!

I think the sweet potato has started coming into its own, as Effer pointed out, even without the marshmallows and brown sugar casseroles.

Very useful information that will settle many an ongoing discussion I'm sure.

Voted up, useful, and interesting.


Don Bobbitt profile image

Don Bobbitt 3 years ago from Ruskin Florida Author

tillsontitan- So Good to hear from you. I appreciate the comment and especially the kind words about my little comparison.

You may see more of my old hubs being shared because as I rewrite each of the to comply with the latest Google/HP requirements, I am re-sharing them with my followers. Why? Just because I can.

Have a great day!

DON


conradofontanilla profile image

conradofontanilla 2 years ago from Philippines

In terms of health benefits, sweet potato is superior. Carotene turns to vitamin A. Carotene is the only antidote to the free radical, singlet oxygen. This usually causes tumor or cancer in the skin as it is easily produced in the skin. When ultraviolet rays strikes the skin, it converts the molecular oxygen, the one that we breathe and use in metabolizing glucose to energy, into singlet oxygen. The body has no built-in antidote to singlet oxygen, unlike superoxide or hydroxyl radical that are neutralized by the superoxide dismutase or the glutathione peroxidase. You can never get an overdose of vitamin A from carotene, unlike when you get vitamin A from the formulated one or the capsule from over the counter. I have Hubs on how molecular oxygen is converted to singlet oxygen.


infobizboard profile image

infobizboard 14 months ago from Pune, India

Very informative and useful. Was't aware of all these facts about sweet potatoes. Also, great comparisons between the regular and sweet potatoes. In India, in some parts, these are boiled and had especially on fasting days. And thanks for all the info on Yams.

Voted up and useful.

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