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Sweet potatoes vs old school (russet) potatoes


HobbitGirl

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Baked potatoes are my go-to quick dinner---put a little bit of low-fat cheese (not paleo I know) on top and some veggies either on top or on the side, and you're in business.

 

So, as far as I can tell, sweet potatoes and russet potatoes have about the same amount of calories, carbs, and potassium. What makes sweet potatoes better than russet?

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I believe sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index than regular potatoes, which means that you'll have less of a blood sugar spike after eating them.  Also, they contain a bunch of good stuff like antioxidants and vitamins, yum.

 

The glycemic index is likely why most Paleo eaters prefer to avoid white potatoes and eat sweet potatoes instead, as far as I can tell.  That said, white potatoes have their own health benefits, like providing important minerals.  The other major difference is how we tend to cook them, although I've seen a lot of sweet potatoes go into the fryer lately.

 

So, personally, I think that a good ol' russet potato gets a bad rap.  I think it's perfectly fine to have a white potato every now and again on a Paleo diet, especially the more colorful varieties, which have more nutritional value.  Sweet potatoes make more sense on a Paleo diet (remember that index!) because blood sugar spikes is one of the main things we're trying to avoid, but, like a said, white potatoes have their place as well.

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Reaching for the Stars, thanks for the information---that's helpful. 

 

@SoftSoul, it's not that I don't like sweet potatoes. But the way they're usually prepared in the non-fitness world usually involves a bunch of butter and brown sugar, although I roasted some for Thanksgiving a year ago and they were pretty tasty. I'll have to try baking one and see how I like it.

 

BTW when I found this site I was scared you were all going to be Paleo Nazis or something. Very glad to have been wrong!

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Reaching for the Stars, thanks for the information---that's helpful. 

 

@SoftSoul, it's not that I don't like sweet potatoes. But the way they're usually prepared in the non-fitness world usually involves a bunch of butter and brown sugar, although I roasted some for Thanksgiving a year ago and they were pretty tasty. I'll have to try baking one and see how I like it.

 

BTW when I found this site I was scared you were all going to be Paleo Nazis or something. Very glad to have been wrong!

 

It's really easy to steam or bake sweet potatoes too! I normally don't even need to add anything to it for taste :) Steaming seems to be the healthiest way so far

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Sweet Potatoes have more vitamins/minerals. When comparing any two foods you'll usually find some nutrients where one has more than the other, and that is the case here, but while there's a few things where the russet potato wins, they're by about 5% of RDI or less (e.g. 6% vs 1% folate, 18% vs. 14% B6), while the Sweet Potato has tons of Vitamin A, and a lot more Vitamin C.

 

Sweet Potato nutrition

Russet Potato nutrition

 

Nutrition data puts the glycemic load at almost the same.

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The "official" paleo explanation is that sweet potatoes have more nutrients and thus provide some value other than carbs and calories. Sweet potatoes aren't free-for all foods by any means if you're trying to lose fat (or maintain), but they're a good carb source. That said, I think the distinction is overblown, and way too many people use it as an excuse to eat things that don't really fit their goals because "Hey, it's paleo!"  If you're trying to drop fat, I'm sorry but sweet potato fries just aren't much better than french fries.

 

BUT the big difference FOR ME is that I tend to be satisfied with less sweet potato. I get my starch fix and I get to eat a baked potato and fixings or a few french fries or potatoes in my stew, but I don't tend to overeat on them as much. Maybe it's because they've got a stronger flavor or maybe it's because regular potatoes in all forms used to be a major binge-food for me so they trigger that mode. 

 

Oh, and I loath the sugar and butter and marshmallow concoctions commonly associated with sweet potatoes. I cook them like regular potatoes.

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The "official" paleo explanation is that sweet potatoes have more nutrients and thus provide some value other than carbs and calories.

I'm pretty sure the official paleo explanation is that white potatoes are from the Solanum family, the nightshades, known to be very poisonous plants (tomatoes and eggplants are also). Sweet potatoes are from the Ipomoea family, the Morning Glories, and though poisonous, are less so. Poison = inflammation = bad.

(this despite the fact that virtually none of the solanum poisons is actually in potatoes, tomatoes, or eggplants)

Banning white potatoes in paleo is IMHO one of the most nonsensical rules of the diet. All it does is close the hole that allows for a huge swath of "junk" food to be considered paleo in order to keep up the calories don't matter explanation. It makes no sense whatsoever otherwise.

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Sweet potatoes = excellent carb source

White potatoes = excellent carb source

Yellow potatoes = excellent carb source

Red potatoes = excellent carb source

 

Like Waldo said, banning perfectly good foods from your diet in the name of some "magical diet" is silly.

 

I eat which ever one is on sale at the grocery.

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Sweet potatoes = excellent carb source

White potatoes = excellent carb source

Yellow potatoes = excellent carb source

Red potatoes = excellent carb source

 

Like Waldo said, banning perfectly good foods from your diet in the name of some "magical diet" is silly.

 

I eat which ever one is on sale at the grocery.

Depends on the meal. Don't really care for russets unless baked. Yellow/red, depends on the price. Whether using a white or sweet potato is very specific to the dish. But in general all sweet potato I make contains a generous amount of brown sugar and cinnamon (with a bit of pumpkin pie spice).

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Sweet potatoes are awesome with things like cumin and chili powder and cayenne too.  

 

If I want a white potato then I eat it.  It's honestly one of the stupidest, most nitpicky paleo rules ever created.  Like Waldo said there are lots of nightshades that are allowed.   While I genuinely like cauliflower puree, I'd never even contemplate not eating mashed potatoes on a holiday.  I love how potatoes are evil, but there are 9,000,000 ways to justify drinking alcohol and desserts.  It's really absurd.  Just eat the potato, but don't forget protein.

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Is that the only thing you are having for dinner or do you mean just as a side? If you want to be Primal (Paleo + dairy), then make sure your cheese is high fat. Paleo should be  higher on the fats than carbs. For Paleo that is a pretty carb dense dinner. It might be fine for an after workout snack, but really dinner should be meats, veggies, fat. If your goal is to lose weight by  following the Paleo diet, then you need to cut back on carbs. 

Yes, I am Paleo and I occasionally  (like once every few weeks) have potatoes with my meal. But I make sure that they are either 1/2 serving if I haven't been very active, or 1 serving if I have been active.

 

As with all the restrictions on Paleo the best plan is to cut them out for a month, then add one at a time back in your diet to see how if affects you.

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Thanks, everyone, for the input. I'm pretty much at my ideal weight; I've actually lost a few more pounds than I initially intended when I started exercising and dieting this summer. I'm 4'9" and I'm at 90 lbs and somewhere around 26% body fat. I don't think I've weighed 90 pounds since I was 11 years old. At this point, I'm happy to gain a few pounds back, provided they're muscle.

 

By the way, does red wine have a high sugar content or not? My trainer says yes, the Internet says the sugar content of dry red wine is lower than white wine, which is great, but "lower sugar content than white wine" doesn't necessarily translate into "low sugar."

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By the way, does red wine have a high sugar content or not? My trainer says yes, the Internet says the sugar content of dry red wine is lower than white wine, which is great, but "lower sugar content than white wine" doesn't necessarily translate into "low sugar."

 

Hard to tell the content for sure since they don't need to label them.  Wine is fermented so the sugar is eaten up in that process much like kombucha.  The dry reds do have a lower calorie count (according to the internet), which should mean a lower sugar count.  Red wine is around 500-600 calories a bottle from what I've read.  I only drink dry reds.  The calories are mostly alcohol calories which are 7 calories per gram I believe.  So, I think your trainer is wrong.

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Some good info here. I tend to prepare both when I'm making a meal, but the traditional potatoes are more popular with my family members so I eat the sweet potatoes. I add brown sugar to improve their appeal, but old habits die hard...

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Thanks, everyone, for the input. I'm pretty much at my ideal weight; I've actually lost a few more pounds than I initially intended when I started exercising and dieting this summer. I'm 4'9" and I'm at 90 lbs and somewhere around 26% body fat. I don't think I've weighed 90 pounds since I was 11 years old. At this point, I'm happy to gain a few pounds back, provided they're muscle.

 

By the way, does red wine have a high sugar content or not? My trainer says yes, the Internet says the sugar content of dry red wine is lower than white wine, which is great, but "lower sugar content than white wine" doesn't necessarily translate into "low sugar."

If there is any sugar in wine, the producer sucked, the wine should not be called wine, you probably shouldn't be drinking it, and there is a chance the bottle is explosive.

Sugar is extremely easy to ferment, wine yeasts should be digesting 99.99999% of it in the wine. If there is any sugar at all there was incomplete fermentation. Many things could cause it, but you certainly do not want to be drinking it if that is the case (and the producer certainly shouldn't be selling it; it is very easy to test for sugar and completeness of fermentation).

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