FOODHEALTH

3 Reasons to Switch Up Your Spuds: White Potatoes vs. Sweet Potatoes

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with sweet potatoes (especially organic sweet potatoes when available) to substitute meals with rice and white potatoes like Shepard’s pie and mashed potatoes. And I love it!

Sweet potatoes are often regarded as the healthier alternative to white potatoes. It is kinda like comparing what brown rice is to white rice.

While texture remains the same, the subtle sweetness of sweet potatoes beat normal white potatoes hands down. But there are so many varieties (and colors) of sweet potatoes it is hard to decide which ones to get; from white, yellow, pink, red, orange, violet, and purple.Apparently, the general rule is: the darker the shade, the sweeter it probably is. For instance, the white and pale yellow varieties are generally less sweet and moist than those with red, pink and orange flesh. If you want to know more about the different types of sweet potatoes, read 16 Shade of Sweet: A Sweet Potato Guide. It provides a great description of each type of sweet potato with an accompanying photo.

Here are 3 good reasons why you should consider switching from white potatoes to sweet potatoes.

#1: Higher Concentration of Vitamin and Minerals
For the most part, the difference in vitamin and mineral levels of both white and sweet potatoes are relatively marginal. The most significant difference is in sweet potatoes’ incredibly high source of Vitamin A and beta-cartonene. Take a look at the general comparison below based on a 100-gram serving of each:

Vitamin A: 10 iu (white) vs 19,218 iu (sweet)
Vitamin C: 12.6 mg (white) vs 19.6 mg (sweet)
Vitamin K: 2.7 mcg (white) vs. 2.3 mcg (sweet)
Calcium: 10 mg (white) vs 38 mg (sweet)
Phosphorus: 75 mg (white) vs 54 mg (sweet)
Potassium: 544 mg  (white) vs 475 mg (sweet)
Folate: 38 mcg (white) vs 6 mcg (sweet)
Beta-cartoene: 6 mcg (white) vs 11,509 mcg (sweet)

Vitamin A (Retinoid) and beta-cartonene is important for a healthy immune system, vision (eye) health and cell growth. They are extremely powerful antioxidants to help prevent and fight cancerous cell formations. But before you go mad on sweet potatoes, know this: too much vitamin A and beta-cartonene can be toxic! The recommended daily allowance for adults (RDA) is 2,310 iu (or 0.7 mg) for a woman (more if pregnant) and 3,000 iu (or 0.9 mg) for a man.

#2: Lower Glycemic Index
Sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index than white potatoes; meaning its natural sugar is released slower into the bloodstream. This prevents the roller coaster ride of blood sugar spikes and falls which have a direct link and results in fatigue and weight gain.

#3. Lower Salt & Fat Content
This point is not so much the type of potato we choose to eat. Rather, it is the way we prepare them.

White potatoes, due to its lack of a distinct flavour, are most commonly prepared fried; served as potato chips or french fries. Not only does frying potatoes in oil increase its calorie content, but the accompanying salt content that comes with such preparation is high too. Even when baked or mashed, most white potatoes are topped with butter or sour cream, increasing its overall fat content.

Sweet potatoes with its natural sweetness, are often roasted, boiled or baked. There is a much lower chance of adding salt, butter or sour cream to sweet potatoes because it would only mask the natural sweetness (and why would you want to do that?).

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