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Sweet Potatoes Aren't Healthier: "Uprooting" the Myth

Sweet potatoes have been erroneously reported as the healthier potato because the size used for comparison was a Russet that’s 52% larger in weight! How did so many trusted nutritional professionals and reliable resources get this nutrition fact wrong? 

Small, medium and large sizes are most familiar to the general population and easiest to visualize. The problem is the weight for each medium sample on the USDA’s website isn’t the same; see USDA images below.

Comparing weight in grams is more accurate than size.

The USDA’s medium russet potato is 1.52 times larger than their medium raw sweet potato, which weighs only 114 grams, see image below. Their medium russet potato weighs 173 grams, baked.

Baked vs. Raw  

When it comes to starchy carbs like potatoes, the carbohydrate content is potentially impacted by baking. That’s why it’s noteworthy that only the USDA’s medium-sized sweet potato is “raw” while all the other sample sizes are baked. We’ll save that investigation for a future post. 

That’s why I always say, “Never trust. Always verify!” 

After the World Health Organization published its “Healthy Diet Fact Sheet,” the reference to all potatoes caught my attention. They specifically point to “potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava, and other starchy roots,” which are not classified as fruit or vegetables; see the image below. I understood that statement to say, “all potatoes are equally unhealthy.” 

Compelling Incorrect Narrative

Nutritional professionals, reputable resources like Cleveland Clinic, and the image below from the University Health News all pointed to the same USDA nutrition facts as their resource. All used the same erroneous “medium” size for nutritional facts comparison and conclusions.

Realistic Recommendation

Enjoy the type of potato you like most, on occasion, as an exception. No matter what the kind, Potatoes are a high starch root carbohydrate that will reliably spike blood sugar. There is not enough natural Fiber in any potato to effectively slow the insulin response.  

Change What You Know

It’s normal to look to confirm what we already believe. But in the case of potatoes, we got a compelling incorrect narrative that nutrition professionals and food manufacturers promoted. Now we know better, it’s more proof that it’s time to update what we know to be true about food and healthy eating.

Update what you know to be true about carbohydrates! Learn more by listening to my podcast episode, don’t eliminate carbs, Eliminate Carbohydrate Confusion and learn how Fiber is the Natural Fat Blocker. 

Ovvia Members watch the video in the Member’s Video Library to learn more about how “Starch is Sugar.”

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