If you can only have one spud, which one’s best?
I remember the first time I ever saw a plate of sweet potato fries; my family and I were at our favorite restaurant, and my sister absolutely insisted everyone switch their regular fries for sweet potato fries. I’m still not entirely sure why she was so adamant about it, but that was when I discovered that sweet potatoes are just as good as their regular siblings, so what the heck.
On the surface, it may seem like there’s not much separating potatoes and sweet potatoes aside from color and general flavor profile. However, beneath their peels, these two tubers are quite different in terms of nutritional content. So for the sake of argument, let’s assume you can only eat one kind of potato for the rest of your life. Which one’s it gonna be?
If you’re a carb counter, regular potatoes are a massive pain. A single potato usually contains about 29.6 carbohydrates, and thanks to their starchy composition, you can darn well feel them. However, because of their hearty nature, potatoes are a good source of vitamins and minerals, including protein, potassium, iron, and vitamin B6.
A sweet potato has a similar basic profile, having about the same amount of calories and carbs as a regular potato, not to mention a lot more natural sugar as evidenced by their taste. It’s also lower in those vitamins I just listed. So what’s the upside? Two things: one, sweet potatoes are bursting with vitamin A, at least 2,000% your daily recommended value. Two, sweet potatoes are higher in antioxidants that protect your bloodstream and heart. Paradoxically, despite its higher sugar content, this abundance of antioxidants actually places sweet potatoes lower on the glycemic index than regular potatoes, which means they don’t cause your blood sugar to spike as much.
So I guess the deciding factor here is your personal life situation. If you’re carb loading and need more minerals, go regular potatoes. If you’re low in vitamin A or antioxidants, sweet potatoes are your guys.