What is the difference between potatoes vs. sweet potatoes? Is one healthier than the other? And what about yams?
Potatoes vs. sweet potatoes have one thing in common. they are tuberous root vegetables. However, they are from different plant families, have other nutritional profiles, and affect the body differently.
Potatoes are from the nightshade family (i.e., tomatoes), have white or yellow flesh and brown, red, or even blue peel.
Sweet Potatoes belong to the morning glory family, have reddish-brown skin and orange, yellow, or even purple flesh.
Yams are an entirely different tuber altogether. In most grocery stores in the United States, “yams” are actually orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. To find true yams, you probably need to go to an Asian market. You will find they do not resemble a potato or sweet potato very much and are drier and starchier.
Potatoes have gotten a bad rap lately, dismissed as low in nutrition and high in calories, and starchy carbohydrates. The reality is both potatoes and sweet potatoes have pretty much the same calorie, protein, fat, and carb content. Potatoes are higher in potassium, and sweet potatoes are higher in vitamin A with more fiber.
In general, potatoes have a higher glycemic index than sweet potatoes, meaning they will cause a more rapid increase in blood sugar upon eating. This effect depends significantly on the variety of potatoes or sweet potatoes, portion size, and, most importantly, preparation methods.
Both sweet potatoes and potatoes can have a place in a nutritious, well-balanced diet. Limit the frying and always choose organic.
Healthy Potato Recipes
- Caldo Verde (potato and kale soup)
- Colcannon (mashed potatoes with kale)
- Dijon Red Potato Salad
- Grilled Potatoes with Fennel
- Smashed Baby Potatoes