When it comes to fries are sweet potato really healthier?
Did you know the average American consumes about 29 pounds of French fries a year? With the number of fast food restaurants and obesity increasing in the US, that amount is likely to rise.
Fries have always had a bad connotation associated with fast food and are typically considered unhealthy. But with the addition of sweet potato fries to countless menus, many wonder, is this the new “healthier” alternative fries lovers have been waiting for?
Barbara Fine, registered dietitian at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill., cautions that although sweet potatoes have the reputation of being a much ‘healthier’ choice in comparison to white potatoes, the nutrients are quite similar.
“The main difference in white potatoes is that they are higher on the glycemic index, in carbs and a little higher in calories,” she says.
Fine breaks down the nutritional value for white potatoes versus sweet potatoes below:
|White Potatoes||Sweet Potatoes|
|Serving/Calories||1 medium potato/163 calories||1 cup/114 calories|
|Fat||0.2 grams||0.1 grams|
|Sodium||13 grams||73 milligrams|
|Carbohydrates||37 grams||27 grams|
|Protein||4.3 grams||2.1 grams|
|Fiber||4.7 grams||4 grams|
Although it may seem that sweet potatoes take the win, Fine says not to let that deter you from having white potatoes every now and then.
“When white potatoes are consumed with other foods in an appropriate portion size, half a cup, and a healthy cooking method like baking or roasting is used, they fit perfectly into a healthy lifestyle,” she says.
In order to get all the nutritional value out of white potatoes, she suggests leaving the skin on the potatoes, as it contains fiber, iron and vitamin C.
Fine offers the following advice for when you cave to your fries craving:
- Make sure not to overdo it. Serving sizes for both potatoes is about half a cup, or an amount the size of a computer mouse. If you really want to indulge yourself, eating up to one cup is still within normal limits.
- Order fries with the skin on them to get the most nutrients.
- Share them with a friend when possible.
- Instead of potato fries, roast root vegetables like carrots, parsnips, turnips or butternut squash into fry form and bake for similar results.
“At the end of the day, sweet potatoes have more nutritional value than white potatoes, but nothing can counteract greasy fries, even if they are sweet potatoes,” Fine says.
Here are some healthy recipes to try when you get the craving for potatoes:
About the Author
Tiffany Nguyen, health enews contributor, is a public affairs and marketing intern at Advocate Support Centers in Downers Grove, IL. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a degree in public health. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration focusing specifically on healthcare management at Lewis University. Tiffany enjoys hanging out with her friends, exploring new restaurants, and binge watching Netflix shows.