Why are sweet potatoes in many diets

Potato vs. Sweet Potato: Which Is Healthier?

Table of Contents

  1. Potato vs. Sweet Potato: What's the Difference?
    1. The macronutrients
    2. The micronutrients
    3. Potato vs. sweet potato: the nutritional values ​​at a glance (1) (2)
  2. Potatoes score with resistant starch
  3. Caiapo: The sweet potato's miracle weapon
  4. What is actually edible?
  5. Knowledge to take away

Potato vs. Sweet Potato: What's the Difference?

Aside from their name, the potato and the sweet potato don't have much in common. While the potato is a nightshade plant that is grown here in Germany, sweet potatoes are bindweed and are mostly imported from Israel or South America.

In addition to this difference, they are very similar in how they are prepared. Both the potato and the sweet potato can be boiled, baked, deep-fried, made into puree or mixed into the salad.

But which variant is actually healthier? Potato vs. sweet potato - EAT SMARTER explains.

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

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

The nutritional values ​​of the two tubers

The macronutrients

In terms of macronutrients, the types of potatoes differ in terms of the carbohydrate content. Overall, the Sweet potato 10 grams more carbohydrates per 100 grams as well 5 grams more sugarwhich is not surprising given the sweet taste. The tubers differ only slightly in terms of fat, protein and fiber content.

The micronutrients

When it comes to micronutrients, however, there are greater differences. The sweet potato scores with a lot of calcium, iron, potassium and phosphorus as well as folic acid. Calcium is important for the bones, iron helps with blood formation, potassium regulates the entire fluid balance of the body, supports the heart and can even reduce stress. For women who want to have a baby and for pregnant women, the folate has a positive effect on the development of the embryo. Sweet potatoes also contain almost four times the amount of manganese as potatoes, which is required for the development of cartilage, connective tissue and bones.

The eyes literally eat with the sweet potato. The orange color not only looks good, the secondary plant substance beta-carotene responsible for it is also the precursor of vitamin A, which contributes significantly to the health of the eyes. The carotenoids also 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 them from aging prematurely.

The German tuber cannot keep up with the high micronutrient content of sweet potatoes. 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 sweet potatoes. But the local potato has the edge when it comes to iron and magnesium. This can be particularly interesting for athletes.

Potato vs. sweet potato: the nutritional values ​​at a glance (1) (2)

sweet potatopotato
Calorific value117 kcal73 kcal
carbohydrates24 g15 g
- of which sugars4.62 g0.68 g
fat0.6 g0.01 g
protein1.6 g1.9 g
Fiber3.1 g1.2 g
Calcium22 mg9 mg
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 E.4.56 mg0.05 mg
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 created. Unlike sweet potatoes. Resistant starches cannot be broken down in part by the body, which is why they provide fewer kilocalories. After they reach the large intestine virtually untouched, they can serve as an energy supplier for healthy intestinal bacteria. They also aid digestion, much like fiber.

Also read: Lose weight with resistant starch

The composition of the resistant starches changes only slightly after being reheated. So from now on you don't have to eat your favorite foods cold to take advantage of the positive effects of the resistant starch.

Potatoes develop resistant starches if you cool them down again after heating them. Resistant starches provide fewer calories and are beneficial for digestion.

Caiapo: The sweet potato's miracle weapon

In the skin of the sweet potato is the substance Caiapo. In studies of type 2 diabetes mellitus patients who consumed four grams of Caiapo daily, it was found that the fasting blood sugar level and the cholesterol level decreased (5).

For this reason, although the sweet potato has a higher sugar content and higher glycemic load than the potato, it may be more suitable for diabetics.

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

What is actually edible?

Attention: Only the tuber of the potato plant may be consumed in a cooked state. The rest of the plant, i.e. the shoots and the leaves, are poisonous!

On the other hand, the leaves of sweet potatoes can also be eaten: in their countries of origin they are often processed like spinach. In addition, 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.

While only the tuber of the potato plant can be eaten in the cooked state, the sweet potato can even be eaten raw and its leaves can be used like spinach.

Knowledge to take away

Which tuber is now healthier? This time right up front: 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, when consumed regularly, protects the cells and strengthens the immune system.

When it comes to macronutrients, the tubers differ only slightly. Given the sweet taste, it is not surprising that there is more sugar in sweet potatoes. Nevertheless, the orange potato is better suited for diabetics, as the substance caiapo, which sits in the skin of the sweet potato, can lower the fasting blood sugar and even the cholesterol level.

Although the sweet potato is the significantly more nutrient-rich tuber, the potato also has health benefits. As with all foods, a balanced diet is the key to health. Both potatoes and sweet potatoes are welcome to appear regularly in your menu.