Are Sweet Potatoes Better than White Potatoes?

By: Lisa Valente, M.S., R.D.  |  Diabetic Living Magazine

We take a look at the nutrition of both potatoes and compare them to see which is healthier.

Pictured recipe: Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

People often want to know if sweet potatoes have a leg up on white potatoes. Both are vegetables that contain vitamins and minerals for a healthy body. But does one have a leg up nutritionally on the other? Here we compare the nutrition in sweet potatoes and white potatoes and offer delicious ways to enjoy both taters. 

Sweet potato nutrition

1 medium baked sweet potato has about 100 calories, 24 grams of carbohydrate, 4 grams of fiber and 2 grams of protein. Sweet potatoes are full of slowly digested carbohydrates for sustained energy. Each medium sweet potato also delivers four times your daily vitamin A to help build hemoglobin, needed to deliver energizing oxygen to cells throughout your body.

White potato nutrition

White potatoes get a bad reputation. That's because most people consume them as French fries—and those don't exactly scream health food. But this vegetable doesn't deserve the negative rap. 1 medium baked russet potato with skin has about 170 calories, 37 grams of carbohydrate, 4 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein. Potatoes are rich in potassium, delivering more potassium than a banana and 26 percent of your daily value. Potatoes also contain resistant starch, a type your body can't digest which keeps you feeling full. 

Garlic-Rosemary Smashed Potatoes

Pictured recipe: Garlic-Rosemary Smashed Potatoes

Which potato is healthier?

Both potatoes are a healthy carbohydrate source. And the same amount of white potatoes and sweet potatoes contain about the same amount of carbohydrates (1/2 cup = 15 grams of carbs). Sweet potatoes, however, have more fiber and are slightly lower on the glycemic index than white potatoes. For this reason, blood glucose will rise a little more gradually with sweet potatoes than with white potatoes. If you have diabetes, keep in mind the importance of portion size and distribution of carbohydrate-rich foods throughout the day.

Watch: How to Make Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes


Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes
Healthy White Potato Recipes
The Best and Worst Fruits to Eat If You Have Diabetes

Some original reporting by Virginia Zamudio Lange, R.N., M.S.N., CDE, for Diabetic Living Magazine.