Potato vs Sweet Potato: What’s the Difference?

Potato vs Sweet Potato: What's the Difference?

Potato vs Sweet Potato: Aside from their name, the potato and sweet potato don’t have much in common. While the potato is a nightshade plant grown here in Germany, sweet potatoes are a morning glory plant and are mostly imported from Israel or South America.

Potato vs Sweet Potato

Besides this difference, they are very similar in preparation. Both the potato and the sweet potato can be boiled, baked, fried, made into a puree, or mixed into the salad. But which variant is actually healthier? Potato vs sweet potato, so let’s found out.

NOTICE!

Potatoes are grown regionally and belong to the nightshade family, while the sweet potato mostly comes from Israel and belongs to the morning glory family.

Here you will find our best sweet potato recipes and potato recipes.

The nutritional values ​​of the two tubers are.

The macronutrients

In the macronutrients, the potato types differ in their carbohydrate content. Overall, the sweet potato provides 10 grams more carbohydrates per 100 grams and 5 grams more sugar, which is not surprising given the sweet taste. The tubers differ only slightly in terms of fat, protein, and fiber content.

Potato vs Sweet Potato: What's the Difference?

The micronutrients

However, there are larger differences in the micronutrients. The sweet potato scores with a lot of calcium, iron, potassium, and phosphorus as well as folic acid. Calcium is important for bones, iron helps blood formation, potassium regulates the body’s overall fluid balance, supports the heart, and can even reduce stress. 

Folate has a positive effect on the development of the embryo for women who want to have a baby and for pregnant women. Sweet potatoes also contain almost four times as much manganese as potatoes, which is required for the development of cartilage, connective tissue, and bones.

With the sweet potato, the eye literally eats with it. The orange color not only looks good, but the secondary plant substance responsible for it, beta-carotene, is also the precursor of vitamin A, which contributes significantly to eye health. 

In addition, carotenoids have antioxidant properties. Regular consumption of the colorful tuber protects the cells and strengthens our immune system. Vitamin E, which is about 90 times more in sweet potatoes than in conventional potatoes, also protects the cells and prevents their premature aging.

The German tuber cannot keep up with the high micronutrient content of the sweet potato. Although it is only slightly behind the exotic plant in terms of phosphorus and potassium, there is almost three times the amount of calcium, twice the amount of vitamin C and 961 times the amount of beta-carotene in the sweet potatoes. On the other hand, the local potato has the edge when it comes to iron and magnesium. This can be of particular interest to athletes.

Potato vs Sweet Potato: the nutritional values ​​​​at a glance

 Sweet potatoPotato
Calorific value117 calories73 calories
Carbohydrates24g15g
of which sugars4.62g0.68g
Fat0.6g0.01g
Protein1.6g1.9g
Fiber3.1g1.2g
Calcium22 mg9mg
Iron0.66 mg0.86 mg
Magnesium18 mg21 mg
Phosphorus39 mg31 mg
Potassium360 mg340 mg
Sodium4 mg3 mg
Manganese240 107
Folic acid129
Beta-carotene78875
Vitamin C30 mg14.86 mg
Vitamin E4.56 mg0.05 mg

NOTICE!

Compared to potatoes, sweet potatoes have more calories but a significantly higher nutrient density and can therefore be considered healthier.

Potatoes score with resistant starch

If you boil potatoes and let them cool down again, resistant starches are formed. Unlike sweet potatoes. Some of the resistant starches cannot be broken down by the body, which is why they provide fewer calories. After they reach the large intestine almost untouched, they can serve as an energy supplier for health-promoting intestinal bacteria. They also help with digestion, similar to fiber.

The composition of the resistant starches changes only slightly after reheating. From now on, you don’t have to eat your favorite foods cold to benefit from the positive effects of resistant starch.

Potato vs Sweet Potato: What's the Difference?

NOTICE!

Potatoes develop resistant starches when cooled after heating. Resistant starches provide fewer calories and are beneficial for digestion.

Caiapo: The sweet potato’s miracle weapon

The substance caiapo is in the skin of the sweet potato. In studies of type 2 diabetes mellitus, consuming four grams of caiapo daily found that fasting blood sugar and cholesterol levels decreased.

Because of this, the sweet potato, despite having a higher sugar content and glycemic load than the potato, may be better for diabetics.

NOTICE!

Caiapo is a substance found in the skin of the sweet potato. It is particularly interesting for people with type 2 diabetes mellitus, as it lowers the fasting blood sugar level, among other things.

What is actually edible?

Caution: Only the tuber of the potato plant may be eaten when cooked. The rest of the plant, i.e. the shoots and leaves, are poisonous! 

The leaves of the sweet potato, on the other hand, can also be eaten: In their countries of origin, they are often processed like spinach. The red tuber can also be eaten raw, for example, grated in a salad or cut into pieces as a raw vegetable with herb quark.

NOTICE!

While only the root of the potato plant may be eaten when cooked, the sweet potato can even be eaten raw and its leaves are used like spinach.

Conclusion

Which tuber is now healthier? This time right at the beginning: Both tubers are healthy! When it comes to vitamins and minerals, the sweet potato has the edge almost everywhere. Above all, the secondary plant substance beta-carotene, which is also responsible for the color of the tuber, has an antioxidant effect and, if consumed regularly, protects the cells and strengthens the immune system.

The tubers differ only slightly in terms of macronutrients. Given the sweet taste, it is not surprising that sweet potatoes contain more sugar. Still, the orange potato is better for diabetics because the compound caiapo that sits in the skin of the sweet potato can lower fasting blood sugar and even cholesterol levels.

Although the sweet potato is a significantly more nutritious tuber, the potato also has health benefits. As with all foods, a balanced diet is a key to health. Both potatoes and sweet potatoes should be a regular part of your diet.

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