You shouldn’t have to choose between a potato and a sweet potato because they’re both good for you


Photo: Unsplash / Ella Olsson

The rivalry between sweet potatoes and their regular potato cousins has never been greater (we’re talking Sharks versus Jets level stuff here). As people ditch white potatoes for their sweet orange counterparts in the name of more fiber and better health, it’s easy for any spud lover to wonder which camp to choose.

Luckily for you, nutritionist (and pun master) Tracy Lockwood Beckerman, RD, tackles this very debate in the latest episode of You vs. Food (Well+Good’s video series unpacking all things food and nutrition). Here are some of the mind-blowing revelations she offers up:

  1. Sweet potatoes and yams are NOT the same thing. Sweet potatoes have more vitamin A and are lower in calories. They also taste sweeter. Yams, however, have more potassium and fiber.
  2. Sweet potatoes can also help stabilize blood sugar levels because they’re a low to medium glycemic index food (meaning that its carbs and sugars don’t affect your blood sugar levels as much as, say, pasta or ice cream). To get the most out of that benefit, Beckerman suggests eating sweet potatoes with healthy fats like ghee, nuts, or avocado.
  3. Iron is absorbed better by the body when eaten with vitamin C. Guess which food has both at once? Yup, the sweet potato.
  4. White potatoes may have less fiber than sweet potatoes, but they’re generally more fibrous than other starches, Beckerman says. They’re also packed with potassium, which can help lower blood pressure, she says.
  5. You won’t get most of those benefits if you don’t eat the skin. So, wash it first and eat up!

As for the final verdict on whether or not potatoes are healthy…well, check out the video above. And if you just want to hear some really epic potato-themed puns, you definitely should check out the video above.

While you’re here: Here’s what Beckerman has to say about green juices and turmeric.

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