There have been many studies conducted on both potatoes and sweet potatoes. The results have put people into different camps and arguments have come up about which is healthier, or if they are good to eat at all.
Here are some of the results:
- Potatoes rank highly on the glycemic index, so you should avoid them
- Sweet potatoes are a Vitamin A superfood, so should be eaten in favour of potatoes
- Both potatoes and sweet potatoes are too high in carbohydrates to be consumed
The fact of the matter is, that if potatoes and sweet potatoes are eaten as part of a balanced diet then both are great for you.
What’s in a name?
Did you know that even though potatoes and sweet potatoes share a name, they come from completely different plant families? Potatoes are related to tomatoes and peppers, whereas sweet potato are related to vines and herbs.
The leaves and stems of the potato plant can be poisonous, so can the potato itself if it has begun to turn green. Whereas the leaves of the sweet potato plant are actually edible.
Sweet Potatoes are a ‘Superfood’
You may be surprised to learn that potatoes and sweet potatoes are virtually identical in nutritional value. Sweet Potatoes are higher in Vitamin A and Vitamin C, but on the flipside, Potatoes are higher in Vitamin B6 and Protein.
Potatoes are high on the Glycemic Load Scale
The Glycemic Load scale (GL) determines how much a certain food will raise your blood glucose level after eating it. It looks at how much carbohydrate is in a food and how much each gram of carbohydrate will raise your blood glucose levels by.
Potatoes are thought to be very high on this scale so you should avoid eating them as they can cause weight gain.
You may be surprised to learn that this is a myth because sweet potatoes rank at 11 on the scale and white potatoes rank at 12. So the difference is very minimal.
The GL of a particular food alone does not affect appetite or weight, it is the overall daily consumption of carbohydrates and calories that will cause weight gain.
Both are too high in carbohydrates
Not all carbohydrates are bad. In fact, because the main carbohydrates in both varieties are starch and fibre, they actually help you stay lean and healthy.
Here are a few of the ways that they do this…
- Helping you feel fuller for longer
- Acting as fuel for healthy gut bacteria
- Stimulating blood flow
- Preventing the absorption of toxins
- Decreasing the risk of some cancers
How you should eat potatoes and sweet potatoes
As both of these foods are regularly used in high calorie dishes, they have a bad reputation. But, deep fried chips, creamy potato bakes, and including bacon, cheese or butter are not the only ways to eat potatoes.
There are many other healthier ways to eat them like boiled, roasted or baked. These options can be jazzed up with a splash of olive oil, some herbs or a pinch of salt.
It’s not to say that you can’t enjoy your favourite mashed potatoes with butter, or a sprinkle of cheese. Just enjoy them in moderation.
There are many benefits from eating both potatoes and sweet potatoes as part of a balanced diet. They will help you to feel full with steady slow burning energy. Because of this they can help you achieve fitness and well-being goals.
One variety is not better than the other, they are both delicious and good for you in moderation!