Spuds are often maligned for derailing weight loss due to their starchy, carb-centric, calorie-dense nature. However, when prepared properly and eaten with other nutritious foods, both regular and sweet potatoes can be part of a healthy diet.
Here, a look at their nutrition profile and why you don’t need to fear their carbohydrate content or ranking on the glycemic index.
While white and sweet potatoes are nutritionally similar, there are some variations in nutrients when you compare them side by side. Here’s how they compare per 100 grams:
Sweet potatoes contain more vitamin A, calcium and folate and are higher in sugar. White potatoes offer similar vitamins and minerals, but are slightly higher in potassium. Compared to sweet potatoes, they’re also a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin, which helps maintain eye health.
Potatoes are often demonized for being high in carbs. However, both sweet and white potatoes contain a type of naturally occurring carbohydrate called resistant starch, which cannot be processed by digestive enzymes, similar to dietary fiber. Resistant starch has been linked to health improvements within the gastrointestinal tract and digestive system. Moreover, these are healthy carbs the body needs to function at its best.
It’s possible you’re familiar with potatoes’ reputation of causing blood sugar to spike. In fact, the glycemic index of potatoes depends on a variety of factors like processing and preparation, variety, origin, maturation and the other foods with which they’re consumed. Adding lean proteins, healthy fats and fiber (by leaving the skin on) and watching portions are great ways to enjoy potatoes while keeping blood sugar stable.
Many people consume potatoes in less-than-healthy processed forms (i.e., fries, chips or tater tots). However, baking, broiling, roasting or steaming potatoes preserves more nutrients and is less likely to cause blood sugar to spike.
If you’re looking for new ways to enjoy potatoes, try some of these recipes:
Sweet Potato Beet Hash with Eggs
Potato Crusted Quiche
Slow Cooker Sweet Potato Curry
“Loaded” Potato Soup
Sweet Potato Pizza
When eaten as part of a well-balanced diet, both white and sweet potatoes provide a variety of nutrients for a flavorful and satiating meal. What’s more, research has shown they can help with weight loss by lowering blood pressure and acting as a healthy source of carbs. Plus, potatoes are a low-cost item that can save you money when meal planning.