Sweet Potatoes vs. White Potatoes

Happy weekend! It’s Friday night and you could not be more ready for dinner out with some friends after a long work week! After perusing the restaurant menu for a few minutes you order the juiciest, most delicious looking burger you’ve ever seen. Then the waitress asks what kind of potato you’d like for your side dish. Decisions, decisions, decisions! You choose to go the “healthier” route and substitute sweet potato fries for the regular fries. Why? Well you figure that because sweet potatoes are orange, that means they are healthier…right?


In the above scenario, neither option is really that healthy because they are both fried. It doesn’t matter what colour the potato is, a fried potato is a fried potato – BAD!!

All fried things aside, let’s take a look at the nutritional difference between sweet potatoes and white potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes:

  • High in beta-carotene, a mineral that helps our eyesight and is responsible for the orange color of sweet potatoes and carrots.
  • Slightly higher in vitamin C, which helps our immune system as well as fights heart disease and complications of diabetes.
  • Higher in Calcium, which helps in the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth.
  • High in Vitamin A, which supports growth and development, eye health and our immune system
  • Roughly 7 times higher in sugar than white potatoes

White Potatoes:

  • Slightly higher in calories
  • Lower in sugar
  • Slightly higher in carbs than a sweet potato
  • Higher in essential minerals such as magnesium, iron and potassium
  • High in fibre especially when eaten with the skin on (e.g. baked potato)
  • More versatile in cooking and cheaper than sweet potatoes

The Verdict?

Both sweet potatoes and white potatoes can be a healthy choice! Both leave us satiated (full) after eating and are good sources of energy, vitamins and minerals.

The real issue is the form in which you consume the potato. White potatoes usually end up slathered in things like cheese, sour cream, butter, bacon or gravy, and sweet potatoes in brown sugar and marshmallows. Or they are fried and then piled with fatty toppings!

No matter what colour of potato you choose, baking, boiling or roasting are the healthier methods of cooking potatoes!

What kind of potatoes do you like?

Did You Know?

Yams and sweet potatoes are both sweet, tuberous roots, but they are actually NOT the same thing! Both tubers can be found in different colors, shapes and sizes but true yams have a more tough, hairy and darker skin while true sweet potatoes have a more smooth and orange skin. Sweet potatoes also contain more Vitamin A and C than yams, while yams contain more sugar than sweet potatoes. Yams are also toxic if eaten raw and therefore need to be cooked before eating. Who knew!?!



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4 thoughts

  1. Great blog, now we know…fried = bad and sweet potato does not = yam
    But what about us Paleo types? Aren’t the sweet potatoes ok and the white potatoes not?

    1. That seems to be the thought doesn’t it? Unfortunately The Paleo Diet excludes ALL starches, which includes both white potatoes AND sweet potatoes. Of course it is ultimately your choice of what to eat/not eat!

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