Anyone here partial to the odd spud with their dinner? Yep, thought so. If you're reading this, you've probably also heard or read that ordinary white potatoes are absolutely terrible things and that you will face certain death if you eat more than one portion a month? And you've probably also heard that sweet potato is a very healthy food with loads of positives and is much better for you than the ordinary white potato, so you should eat as much of these as your stomach can hold down? Folks...don't be fooled.
The nutritional breakdown of both varieties of potato are almost EXACTLY the same. Basically, the only real differences are the colour, the taste, and some of the micronutrients that they contain (vitamins and minerals). They both fall into the 'starchy carb' bracket, in that they both contain mainly carbohydrates and provide us with very limited amounts of protein and almost zero dietary fat. So how come the white potato is vilified and the sweet potato is revered? I actually have no idea. But I do know that I like both and use them regularly and include both in my meals, sometimes even together!
Before we get carried away though, there are a few things to consider when using potatoes. There is a lot of good quality nutrients contained in and around the skin area of a potato, so they best way to consume them is with the skin on, or at least cook them with the skin still intact. The cooking method is also going to affect the quality of the nutrients available. The level of processing is also going to affect this - the more processed any food is, the less nutritional value available, and the more harmful it is! And then of course, the quantity consumed. This is the money ball. if you go over on the quantity side of things on a regular basis, it doesn't matter whether you eat sweet potato fries, baked white potato, sweet potato mash, or cheese and onion crisps - you will start gaining fat.
So remember your plate method - 1/2 plate non-starchy veg, 1/4 plate protien, 1/4 starchy carbohydrate (yes, this can be any variety of potato)
If you have a look at the chart below, which i have 'borrowed' from Precision Nutrition, it will give you some idea of the similarities between the two, and also what the best cooking options are. I will just like to point out, before I finish, that sweet potato fries are exactly the same as eating normal white potato chips!! Sorry to ruin the fun!
Fire away with any questions folks! - as you have been doing anyway......