In recent times, white potatoes have fallen victim to plenty of misinformation regarding their nutritional value and their effects on the human health. There are people who claim that white potatoes are unhealthy and should not be a part of a person’s daily diet. There is no scientific evidence to the support the claim that white potatoes are not good for you. What makes people believe in the idea that potatoes are unhealthy is the fact that they are cooked in a way that turns them into junk food. For instance, most Americans have potatoes in the form of fries that are sold in the popular fast food outlets. These factory produced fries are extremely unhealthy and could lead to sickness if consumed on a regular basis. However, when potatoes are cooked in a healthy way with the use of healthy ingredients, there is no reason to think that they are going to cause you any harm. Many people who are afraid of eating white potatoes have switched over to sweet potatoes as the latter has been dubbed as the healthier cousin of the former. Are sweet potatoes any better than white potatoes? Let’s find out!
Basic Differences Between Sweet Potatoes and White Potatoes
Sweet potatoes and white potatoes both originated in South America (you can thank the people of Peru and Bolivia for their farming skills). That being said, sweet and white potatoes are in a way distantly related. You may be surprised to know that sweet potatoes and white potatoes do not exactly arise from the same plant family. There is a big difference in their genealogy. Although both of them are considered to be root vegetables, there are distinct differences in their chemical and physical properties. In terms of survival skills, the white potato is a lot hardier. It can be grown under different climates and in different soil types. On the other hand, sweet potatoes do not do too well in cold climates. They are unable to handle frost. They are also a lot more sensitive to direct sunlight exposure. The white potatoes that are sold to consumers usually have coats of brown or red. They are called white because of the white flesh or interior they have. Sweet potatoes on the other hand have a unique orange flesh with a rough brown coat on the outside. However, it is not impossible to find sweet potatoes that have white flesh.
The white potato is generally heavier than its sweet counterpart. A medium sized white potato has a weight of around 173 grams. The sweet potato on the other hand weighs in at only 114 pounds. In terms of calories, there is not a lot of difference between the two products. A 100 gram serving of baked white potato will provide you with 93 calories. A same sized serving of sweet baked potatoes will lead to a calorie intake of 90. The difference in calories becomes more evident when you take into account the USDA method of measuring nutritional content. According to the USDA method, a single medium white potato contains 170 calories, whereas a single medium sweet potato only has 105 calories.
The amount of fibre in the two potatoes is more or less the same. Sweet potatoes clearly have the advantage in terms of sugar content (hence, they are named sweet potatoes). A medium sized sweet potato will provide you with 13 grams of sugar. A white potato on the other hand only has 2 grams of sugar on offer. What it lacks in sugar, it makes up for it in carbohydrates and protein. White potatoes 37 grams of carbohydrates and 5 grams of protein compared to the 24 grams of carbohydrates and 2 grams of protein found in sweet potatoes.
In terms of essential minerals, both sweet potatoes and white potatoes fill up 4% of your daily requirement for calcium. They also have nearly equal amounts of Vitamin C. Sweet potatoes contain 37% of the daily Vitamin C requirement, while white potatoes contain 35% of it. It is also worth noting that the regular potato provides 10% of your daily need for iron, whereas the sweet potato only chips in at 4%. When it comes to Vitamin A though, sweet potatoes are clearly head and shoulders above most vegetables as they can offer a whopping 438% of your daily requirement.
Which Potato is Healthier?
It is quite difficult to come up with a verdict on which potato wins the challenge of being the healthier food option. As you can quite clearly see, both potatoes have their fair share of special nutritional values. Both can offer unique health benefits to the human body. Both can be cooked to create incredibly delicious dishes. This makes it difficult for people to compare them, let alone choose one between them. At the end of the day, your selection of potatoes should depend entirely on your taste preferences and your dietary needs.