White Potato vs Sweet Potato?

A nutritional review to settle the battle of the potatoes (lol) and fight the corner of the carbohydrate consumer crew.

The popularity of the sweet potato has grown vastly in the last decade, almost achieving celebrity “super food” recognition amongst gym fanatics and instagram health gurus.

Unfortunately for those people, research has shown that BOTH white and sweet potatoes may carry anti-nutrient’s and that their glycaemic index (GI) is too high. Due to this false impression on the poor potato, they have taken a roasting (lol again), by low-carbohydrate, ketogenic and not forgetting proud paleo dieters.

Although guess what? Both sweet and white potatoes are perfectly healthy and you can eat either regardless of whether you’re a stay at home mum or stepping on stage at peak condition.

Yes they both may carry the same title of “potato”, but they do not have the same heritage.

#WhitePotatoes – are from the solanaaceae family alongside tomatoes and peppers. Foods from this family produce solanine, which is poisonous… when your spuds go green, I’d recommend no eating them.

#SweetPotatoes – are from the convolvulaceae family which have flowering vines, but unlike white potatoes they don’t become toxic past their sell by date!

#Carbohydrate and #Satiety

The misconception of potatoes derived from the term “high carb”, which in fact isn’t an issue. The preparation is usually the issue, e.g. in North America they are consumed as French Fries, Tater Tots or Chips rather than healthier alternatives such as roasting or boiling.

In effect of the high carbohydrate content it allows both potatoes to be highly satiating to eat…

A funny experiment was conducted in USA by Christ Voigt back in 2010, he decided to eat only potatoes for 2 months straight. In the first 3 weeks he lost 12 lbs, to then hit the amount of kcal he needed he increase his amount to 20 potatoes a day, throughout the rest of the experiment he lost a additional 9 lbs. As well as showing improvements in blood measures such as cholesterol, triglycerides and blood glucose concentration.
Obviously 20 potatoes a day is ridiculous, but anecdotally this crazy experiments showed that high starch foods have better satiety levels and less fat-promotion than die hard low-carb dieters would expect.

#NutritionData (per 100g)

*White Potato:

Kcal: 168
Protein: 5g
Fat: 0g
Carbohydrates: 38g
Fibre: 3g

*Sweet Potato:

Kcal: 112
Protein: 2g
Fat: 0g
Carbohydrates: 26g
Fibre: 4g

At first glance, people will see that yes white potato do have higher carbohydrates BUT, when looking more closely at the carb type:

*White Potato:

Starch: 33.8g
Sugar: 1.3g
Sucrose: 277mg
Glucose: 532mg
Fructose: 490mg

*Sweet Potato

Starch: 16.4g
Sugar: 5.4g
Sucrose: 3276mg
Glucose: 1248mg
Fructose: 910mg

As you can see sweet potatoes live up to their name with 5 times the sugar content of normal potatoes.

#GlycemicIndex and #GlycemicLoad

Research has shown that yes white potatoes do have a high score on GI and GL in comparison to sweet potatoes, but this doesn’t mean they are the devil wrapped in crispy skin.

+ GI changes with food type
+ GI changes when other foods are introduced into the meal, unless your weird and just chew on plain potatoes.
+ GI changes with preparation, e.g. starch binds with water when boiled to decrease GI, the hot/ dry conditions of roasting decreases the concentration of sugar.

You cannot judge a food solely based on GI / GL score, as long as you’re a healthy active person, white potatoes and sweet potatoes will have no negative effect.

Due to all the reason above I recommend and allow all my clients to consume white and sweet potatoes, because of:
– Carbohydrate variety
– Cognitive satisfaction and physical satiety
– Slow burning energy
– Isn’t too much of a change when beginning to diet as potatoes aren’t out of the norm.

If you were going to re-introduce potatoes after a low-carb or no carbohydrates diet I’d recommend using both varieties and have 1-2 cupped handfuls at each meal.

– Choose whole and fresh varieties instead of processed
– Prepare properly, e.g. bake, boil, roast or steam.
– Examine yourself after eating each variety and see how your body reacts, e.g. do you feel bloated/skinny, do you have any GI distress or are you satisfied, everyone reacts different, see what works best for you.

If you feel like you have food intolerances or want to make positive changes to your diet and lifestyle then please feel free to contact me in regards to any questions you may have.

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