A question which I have received multiple times in the past week from clients has been “Should I be eating sweet potatoes or white potatoes?”
The following is an example response which I chose to give them:
To be honest it truly comes down to personal preference and your ability to properly digest them, and feel the effects which they provide in terms of satiety and energy production. But in order to fully comprehend what I mean by this, I feel that it is important for you to understand why I am saying it comes down to personal preference.
While you might have heard x,y, and z about white versus sweet potatoes, let’s focus on the benefits which they both provide.
First, they provide the body with an energy source via carbohydrates starches and sugars, they're both high in vitamin A, vitamin C, Magnesium, Potassium, and both potatoes contain a high number of antioxidants, substances that help control oxidative damage in the body and keep our immune system operating optimally.
So where does the difference between the two come into play?
While Sweet Potatoes have a higher sugar content in comparison to their starchier counterpart, if you were to look at the Glycemic Index; which is a measurement unit for how quickly a carbohydrate containing food raises blood glucose, you would see that the majority of the time, how the potatoes were prepared/cooked that the regular white russet potato scores higher on the GI, meaning that it would cause a higher rise in your blood glucose levels.
**Cooking variations can alter the overall glycemic index score regardless of the potato type**
BUT the issue with making a decision on which to eat solely based off of the GI, might not be your best option?
This is due to the fact that the GI is based off of eating 50 grams worth of that carbohydrate source alone! It doesn’t take into account how YOUR body breaks down carbohydrates in combination with the additional macronutrient sources such as protein, fats, and fibrous vegetables which you would also have within that meal. All of which can slow down the rate of digestion by 50-75%!
So how do you truly know which one to eat?
In my opinion, the one which you are going to look forward to the most should be a clear indication as to which you should both spend your money on, and which you'll be able to consume! Regardless of which option you pick, both will be able to provide you with a number of health benefits!
In reality, though, you should opt for whichever one allows you to experience proper digestion. What I mean by this is you don't experience any bloating, indigestion, gas, or frequent trips to the bathroom. You're able to feel full, satisfied, and reap the benefits potatoes have to offer!
Take home points:
Both forms have a number of benefits to aid in your physique goals. Choosing to eat one versus the other will be based upon how your body responds. Do you feel invigorated? Are you satisfied or starving? Energy levels long-lasting or are you experiencing a mini thanksgiving and find yourself wanting to nap in the corner?
I hope this helps! Remember that just because you read that one food is considered “better” than another doesn’t mean that it’s the most optimal option for you and your body!
DISCLAIMER: Thomas Munck is not a doctor or registered dietitian. The contents of this document should not be taken as medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem - nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health.