White potatoes are something we are all pretty familiar with. White potatoes come from the Solanaceae family, which is related to tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant and considered part of the “nightshade” group of vegetables. Sweet potatoes and ordinary white potatoes are actually from different plant families and not related. Our absolute favourite is the orange one.

Sweet Potato Nutrition:

Sweet potatoes contain a lot of nutrients (which is why they are so popular) including a massive amount of beta-carotene. They also contain around 35-40% of your required vitamin C for the day, as well as manganese, vitamin B6, potassium, copper, niacin, thiamine and magnesium. They help to stabilise blood sugar, and help the body become more sensitive to insulin. In fact, one study from Austria showed that a diabetic group who ate sweet potatoes actually had lower blood sugar levels at the end of the study than the control group. This is due partly to the high fibre content which slows the absorption of sugar, and their high levels of antioxidants as well.

Antioxidants help to reduce other chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The orange colour in sweet potatoes means it is especially high in the antioxidant beta-carotene. A good rule of thumb for eating sweet potatoes is to pick the most colourful ones as they have the most antioxidants in them. Sweet potatoes are also known to boost brain function, improve memory, and prevent oxidative damage in the brain. Since there is about 31mg of beta-carotene per cup of mashed sweet potato, they are especially good for boosting the immune system, protecting vision, and helping the skin.

White Potato Nutrition:

White potatoes do have lots of healthy minerals and fibre but they are definitely not the superstars that sweet potatoes are. White potatoes belong to a totally different plant family, they look different to sweet potatoes and have a whole different set of nutrients.

White potatoes contain plenty of vitamin C, folate (a necessary B vitamin), vitamin B6, potassium, manganese, but not the high levels of beta-carotene or antioxidants that sweet potatoes have. Sweet potatoes have a medium-to-high GI, around 60, whereas white potatoes score a high 75.

So, when looking at both types of potatoes, gram for gram, white potatoes will cause a sharper spike in blood sugar when eaten. If you are diabetic or trying to keep your blood sugar low, you are better off eating sweet potatoes as they are higher in fibre than regular potatoes which will prevent the high blood sugar spike white potatoes cause.


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