Nutrition Faceoff: Sweet Potato vs. Potato

Written By: Sofia Layarda, MPH

Title: Master of Public Health

Alumni: University of California, Berkeley

Last Updated on:

To celebrate Nutrition Month, we thought we would have a little fun and do a faceoff comparing two vegetables. Here we take a closer look at two tubers that, despite their names, are actually completely unrelated.

Nutrition Faceoff: Sweet Potato vs. Potato

Sweet Potato Potato
Serving Size: 1 cup baked, skin on 1 cup baked, skin on
Calories: 180 kcal 188 kcal
Fat: 0.3 g 0.3 g
Protein: 4 g 4.2 g
Total Carbohydrates: 41.4 g 42.2
Fiber: 6.6 g 4.2 g
Potassium: 950 mg 1088 mg
Vitamin A: 128% DV <1% DV
Vitamin C: 65% DV 42% DV
Vitamin B6: 29% DV 21% DV

Dietitian’s Take: Sweet Potato vs. Potato

  • Calorically, sweet potato and potato are pretty similar. Nutritionally, sweet potato has 50% more fiber, a dramatically higher level of Vitamin A, and more Vitamins C and B6, but less potassium than potato.
  • Numbers are only part of the story. Not shown here are the various phytonutrients contained in both sweet potato and potato, which have shown strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A 2007 USDA paper reported an ORAC value for sweet potato 26% higher than that of a Russet potato. The orange hues in sweet potato are due to the super antioxidant beta-carotene, and a unique storage protein called sporamin has been shown to have its own antioxidant properties. There is also a purple-colored variety of sweet potato containing high levels of anthocyanins. Some potato varieties have been shown to contain phenolic compounds that rival those in broccoli or Brussels sprouts, and some varieties have high levels of Vitamin C and quercetin.

Our Pick: Sweet Potato

We have to hand it to sweet potato for its high level of Vitamin A. It should be noted, though, that both sweet potato and regular potato are great choices as long as you consume them in the least processed way. This means buying them whole and unpeeled, scrubbing them well, then baking (or steaming), and consuming them with their skin on to maximize the nutrient load. Avoid boiling because some phytonutrients are water-soluble and would be lost in the cooking water.

Groceries, Health

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