Is a sweet potato a vegetable or starch? (Quick Answer!)

Sweet potatoes are considered a vegetable and not just any vegetable but a starchy root vegetable. This is mainly because the plant grows underground, and it comes in various sizes, shapes, and colors like purple, white, and orange.

The main feature of starchy vegetables is that they have higher calories than non-starchy vegetables. Sweet potatoes are rich in nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.  Non-starchy vegetables have a higher quantity of water and fewer calories. 

In this garden gild guide we’ll discuss the following:

  • Is a sweet potato a vegetable or starch?
  • Is a sweet potato a potato?
  • Do sweet potatoes count as a vegetable?
  • What is healthier, potato or sweet potato?
  • Is sweet potato the healthiest vegetable?
Is a sweet potato a vegetable or starch

here is the brief answer to Is a sweet potato a vegetable or starch?

The simplest answer is that sweet potato is both a vegetable and starch. All potatoes are starchy, which gives potatoes a unique property of their own. But more importantly, it is essential to know what it means by vegetables and starch since most people are confused about them.

Potatoes are indeed a vegetable. And not only potatoes but there are other numerous vegetables like cucumber, tomatoes, cauliflower, cabbage, etc.

All of them fall under the category of vegetables.

What is a vegetable, you might ask? A vegetable is a plant or part of a plant that has no side effects on the human body and may have some health benefits. A vegetable can be different parts of a plant like roots, stems, leaves, or flowers. 

Potatoes are starchy vegetables, and so are sweet potatoes. We say that starch is a type of carbohydrate.

In chemistry language, we say that starch is made up of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen in large numbers. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are not the only vegetables to have starch; instead, rice and wheat also have starch. Starch is the way vegetables store their energy. 

Is a sweet potato a potato?

Both sweet potatoes and regular potatoes are root vegetables, and they have their similarities with each other, but the difference is their shape and nutrition.

And I’m afraid sweet potatoes and potatoes cannot be called the same. Even though they have some similarities, they belong to different plant families. 

Different families

Sweet potatoes are from the Convolvulaceae family and are known as the morning glory family. In contrast, potatoes are from the Solanaceae family, also known as the nightshade family. Both plants are native to different parts of Central and South America and are now found worldwide.

Different skins

Sweet potatoes have slightly darker brown skin and have orange, yellow, or purple flesh. The white potatoes have different yellow, purple, or brown shades and have white or yellow flesh. Both have relatively soft skin, which is easy to peel.

The differences get clear when we look at the nutrients chart. Check the below chart, which clearly shows all the nutrients and quantities.

NutrientsSweet potatoesWhite potatoes
Carbs21 grams21 grams
Fiber 3.3 grams2.1 grams
Calories9092
Fat0.15 grams0.15 grams
Protein2 grams2 grams
Vitamin A107% 0.1% 
Vitamin C22%14%
Vitamin B617%12%
Calcium3%1%
Potassium10%17%
Magnesium6%6%

Do sweet potatoes count as a vegetable?

Certainly, sweet potatoes are counted as a vegetable. Vegetables are edible plants that contain many health benefits. The edible parts are leaves, stems, roots, fruits, or flowers, and sweet potatoes are called the root vegetable.

Sweet potatoes grow underground, attached to the roots of the potato plant. Although sweet potatoes and regular potatoes grow similarly, they are different vegetables from two different plant families and should not be considered vegetables from the same plant kingdom.

What is healthier, potato or sweet potato?

Even though both sweet potatoes and regular potatoes sound similar, they are entirely different when being healthier.

Generally, sweet potatoes are considered healthier than regular potatoes, but we eat more regular potatoes instead of sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are indeed rich in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.

There are many reasons why sweet potatoes are healthier than regular potatoes, and they are mentioned below:

More nutrients

Both the sweet potatoes and regular potatoes can be a great addition to your diet, but sweet potatoes get the upper hand. Sweet potatoes have a higher amount of vitamin A which contributes to your health. However, potatoes and sweet potatoes have many similarities, such as the same amount of calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Both are good sources of Vitamin B6, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. 

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are a must for the human body since antioxidants help the body fight different diseases such as cancer, brain and heart diseases. One of the best sources of antioxidants is potatoes and sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants and other vital nutrients. 

Glycemic index

This is where sweet potatoes take the lead over potatoes. Glycemic index (GI) is a value that shows how fast food causes an increase in blood glucose levels.

It is usually measured on a scale between 0 to 100 to show how quickly a food can increase the blood sugar level. A boiled potato has a GI of 78, while a boiled sweet potato has a GI of 63.

This proves that sweet potatoes are less likely to break down to cause a sudden blood sugar rise. It is important to consider eating foods with a glycemic index since too much can cause a sudden spike in blood sugar level and low intake can lower blood sugar and aid in weight loss. 

Is sweet potato the healthiest vegetable?

Sweet potatoes are indeed sweet, but more than that, they are super nutritious. There is evidence of numerous health benefits if you add them to your diet, and some are mentioned below:

Super nutritious

Sweet potatoes are highly nutritious, and they are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. In addition, the orange and the purple variant of sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants Which can protect your body from heart diseases and radicals.

Radicals are harmful molecules that can damage your DNA and cause inflammation. They can also trigger health problems like heart diseases, cancer, and aging. 

Fight against cancer

Sweet potatoes have different types of antioxidants present inside them, which can help to prevent cancers. A great example is Anthocyanins which are common in purple sweet potatoes.

Researchers have found that the compound slows down certain types of cancer cells. Orange sweet potatoes and sweet potato peels also have anti-cancer properties. 

Boosting Immune system

Sweet potatoes have many nutrients and the orange sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene. It is a compound found in plants and its job is to convert it into Vitamin A when it enters your body.

We all know how vital Vitamin A is for our body. Vitamin A is a must for a healthy immune system and low blood levels. 

Improves gut health

One of the main features of sweet potatoes is that they contain a good amount of fiber and antioxidants Which are essential for gut health. Your gut contains two types of fibres: soluble fibre and insoluble fibre.

Fiber is a plant-derived food that your digestive enzymes cannot fully break. Soluble fiber can be dissolved in water, whereas insoluble fiber cannot be dissolved in water.

Your gut is always at the risk of having different diseases because of being exposed to many pathogens. Only a healthy gut can prevent your body from diseases. 

Conclusion

Sweet potatoes are nutritious root vegetables that are available in different colors, sizes, and shapes. Sweet potatoes are also a great source of fiber and antioxidants, which can help from many health risks, including gut health and brain and health diseases. They are packed with beta-carotene, which provides your body with Vitamin A.

If you think that since it is so nutritious, it will probably taste bad or have an earthy taste. But no my friend, sweet potatoes taste great, and you can make savory dishes out of them. It is must-have food in your everyday diet.

Relevant post:

Leave a Comment