Potatoes vs Sweet Potatoes – Who Wins?

People on low carb diets tend to enjoy a craving-free, bloat-free existence with steady energy and a healthy weight.

Part of their strategy is to consider the carb contents of foods, and stay away from the more carb-laden vegetables, fruits and grains.

That’s why my client Robynne wrote to recently, because she was confused about potatoes vs sweet potatoes.

This chart reckons sweet potatoes have highest carbs…so why have I replaced spuds with sweet potatoes?? I don’t get it, haven’t eaten spuds for years!!

Great question – so I decided it was worth a blog to settle the potatoes vs sweet potatoes score, once and for all.

A Quick Overview

Its kinda difficult to compare potatoes vs sweet potatoes because the carbohydrate content, glycemic index (GI) and glycemic load (GL) vary between different types of potatoes and cooking methods.

But generally, white potatoes tend to have lower carbs than sweet potatoes, partly due to lower fibre in potatoes (yes, fibre is classed as a type of carb).

Here’s the overview.

To keep it simple, I’ve compared RAW potatoes with skins.

potatoes vs sweet potatoes

White Potatoes

White potatoes are often considered to be the worst food to eat.

Why is that?

After all, they’re a good source of carbohydrate, vitamin B6, potassium and vitamin C  – and they’re also the most-eaten vegetable by far, in Australia.

The problem with potatoes is that they’re generally beaten to death: over processed and overcooked so that any goodness is cooked out of them and the glycemic index becomes higher.

They are frequently eaten as chips, wedges, fried or potato-baked (full of salt and unhealthy fats – and acrylamides).

White potatoes also have a high glycemic index (GI) score, which means they have a big influence on your blood sugar (think insulin resistance, diabetes, hormone imbalances and weight gain etc).

Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) are also a member of the nightshade family, which doesn’t suit people with certain health conditions.

potatoes vs sweet potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are often branded as the best potato alternative.

Why is that?

They have a lower GI score which means less impact on blood sugar. They are contain higher levels of vitamins than potatoes, especially vitamin A, C, manganese and copper.

Plus, they contain more fibre than white potatoes.

The problem appears to be that they have a higher carb and sugar content than white potatoes, and lower potassium.

For a few of my clients, sweet potato seems has caused them serious carb cravings, so they’ve had to stop eating them to maintain your sanity.

Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are the cousin of the flowering plant Morning Glory, They contain oxalates which may not suit people with certain health conditions, but are considered one of the LEAST allergenic foods.

potatoes vs sweet potatoes

Potatoes vs Sweet Potatoes – Which One Should You Eat?

It’s clear that there are differences, and pros and cons in the potatoes vs sweet potatoes discussion.

However, if cooked correctly, they can be good sources of certain nutrients.

But really, how important are these differences?

A low carb diet is 50 – 150g of carbs per day.

And if 100g of sweet potato or potato is <15g carbs per day, then including one serve of either per day is probably totally ok. Just keep an eye on your cravings, too, after eating a meal with potatoes in it.

If you are trying to lose weight, then a lower GI and higher fibre value is always better.

Robynne summarised it nicely:

So small portions in the most natural form possible is ok, and low GI is a better option for weight loss.

What do you think – do you eat white potatoes or sweet potatoes, and why? Let me know in the comments below.


Melanie White

Melanie White

Chief Inspiration Coach

I’m a quirky scientist and a Health and Wellness Coach who helps 35+ women to understand and eat right for their body type.