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Are Sweet Potatoes Healthier than Regular Potatoes? Which Ones to Choose

Have you been told that sweet potatoes are the healthier potato? Maybe it is because white potatoes are white, and there is this idea out there that white foods are less healthy. Or maybe it is because white potatoes are more common, so they must be less healthy. Let's take a look at the data and find out.


Common types of regular potatoes include red potatoes, russet potatoes, white potatoes, and Yukon gold potatoes. There are also numerous varieties of sweet potatoes, but most people are less familiar with the individual varieties.



Dish of Cooked Potatoes


Comparing Nutrient Content: Are Sweet Potatoes Healthier Than Regular Potatoes?


There are differences in nutrient content between all potato varieties, not just between regular potatoes and sweet potatoes. It is important to recognize that a difference in nutrient content is not always a clinically useful difference. Regular potatoes and sweet potatoes are very close in calories, carbohydrates, fat, and protein. Sweet potatoes have more fiber than regular potatoes, but much of that fiber is in the skin, and many people do not eat the skin. White potatoes are higher than sweet potatoes in vitamin C and potassium while sweet potatoes are higher than white potatoes in vitamin A. So, are sweet potatoes healthier than regular potatoes? Answer: They are different, not superior and inferior.


Other Important Food Attributes


I think that it is crucial to recognize that we are not meant to make a food choice based on nutrient content alone. This is especially true when the differences are nearly imperceptible. There are other important factors to consider when choosing between potato varieties


Taste

The hedonic aspects of food are crucial. Food is not meant to be merely a means of staying alive. It is meant to be an enjoyable part of life. Which potato has the flavor you prefer? Which preparation method has the taste you like better?


Scent

Related to taste, scent also plays a role in what we choose to eat. Is there a wafting aroma of salty French fries that draws you in? Does a sour smell of week-old baked sweet potato leftovers offend you?


Visual Appeal of Food

We also eat with out eyes. How a food looks influences if we will eat it. The color and shape of the foods can make it more or less palatable. The combination of foods might be visually appealing or off-putting. Are you drawn to the bright color of sweet potatoes or the crisp brown edges of roasted white potatoes?


Mouthfeel and Texture

How a food feels in your hands and mouth can influence if you eat it. Some foods are appealing when soft and smooth, other foods are appealing when crispy, and other foods are appealing when they have a firm chew to them. Do you want mashed Yukon gold potatoes that are smooth in your mouth? Are you likely to choose French fries that are soft in your hand?


Bottom Line


The bottom line is that the question, "are sweet potatoes healthier than regular potatoes" is irrelevant. What ever differences exist are minor. Choose the potato you prefer. Choose the potato that best fits the cooking method you are using. Know that a diet is not healthy or unhealthy based on which type of potatoes you eat.


The quality of a diet is never decided based on one food. Even if one type of potato was overwhelmingly superior to the other on the basis of nutrition, It still is not a big factor in an entire diet that is varied in nutrient groups, types of foods, and preparation methods. It is more important to think about the big picture of nutrition and not small details.

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Invitado
24 jul 2023

Great article!

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