Potato vs. Rice Nutrition: Which is Better?


Potato and rice are staple foods consumed every day. They make the perfect compliment to many meat and fish dishes for their taste and health benefits. Which leads to the question, are potatoes or rice healthier?

Potatoes are healthier than rice due to their higher percentage of vitamins, minerals and fiber. The added nutrients help benefit the heart, digestion, gut and the immune system. Potatoes have fewer calories and carbohydrates than rice better for weight loss.

This article will include a side-by-side comparison of their nutrients. In addition, the benefits of those nutrients are examined and why each food is better for certain nutritional goals.

Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links which means I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Potato vs Rice: Nutritional Values

Any meaningful discussion about health benefits must start with reviewing nutritional information. Therefore, let’s quickly look at the nutrient content of potatoes and rice and use it as a basis for the comparison we’ll be doing later.

Here’s a table of the nutrient contents of a 100-gram (3.5 ounce) serving of baked white potato and cooked rice. The baked potato includes the flesh and skin. The rice is medium grain and white which is unenriched. 

  Potato Cooked (100 g) Rice Cooked (100 g)
Calories 92 130
Protein 2.1 g 2.3 g
Carbohydrates 21.1 g 28.6 g
Fiber 2.1 g 1.0 g 
Fat 0.15 g 0.21 g
Vitamin A 10 IU 0 IU
Beta-carotene 6 mcg 0 mcg 
Vitamin C 12.6 mg 0 mg
Vitamin B6 0.21 mg 0.05 mg
Vitamin B9 (Folate) 38 mcg 2 mcg
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) 0.04 mg 0.02 mg
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) 0.04 mg 0.01 mg
Vitamin B3 (Niacin) 1.53 mg 0.40 mg
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) 0.38 mg 0.41 mg
Magnesium 27 mg 13 mg
Phosphorous 75 mg 37 mg
Potassium 544 mg 29 mg
Iron 0.64 mg 0.20 mg
Copper 0.12 mg 0.03 mg
Calcium 10 mg 3 mg
Zinc 0.3 mg 0.4 mg

Nutrient Resources 1 2 3 4

Both contain a wide variety of nutrients. At first it may be difficult to figure out which one is better than the other. Let’s answer the question, which is better for nutritional value, potatoes or rice?

Potatoes are better for nutrients than rice due to their higher percentage of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Potatoes provide more vitamin A, vitamin C, B6, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, copper and calcium than rice. Potatoes contain less calories, carbohydrates and fat.

Rice also contains many of those nutrients but in smaller percentages of the daily recommended values. Rice contains a little more protein, zinc and B5 than potatoes.

Potato vs Rice: Macronutrients

Calories

  • Potato: 92
  • Rice: 130

Total Fat

  • Potato: .15 g
  • Rice: 0.21 g

Carbohydrates

  • Potato: 21.1 g
  • Rice: 28.6 g

Protein

  • Potato: 2.1 g
  • Rice: 2.3 g

Fiber

  • Potato: 2.1 g
  • Rice: 1.0 g

Potatoes Are Better Than Rice For Weight Loss

Potatoes contain fewer calories than rice making them a better option if you’re watching your calorie count to lose weight. Potatoes also provide more dietary fiber, particularly when consumed without peeling the skin.

Dietary fiber helps with weight loss by controlling your appetite 5. When consumed, it absorbs water to make you feel fuller. When you feel fuller, you’re less likely to eat more food. 

What all this means is the positive impact of potatoes on weight loss is twofold:

  • They provide fewer calories per serving, helping you stick to your daily calorie limit.
  • They make you feel full with a relatively small serving, reducing your chances of snacking on unhealthy foods.

Potatoes Are Better Than Rice For Digestion and Gut Health

Potatoes contain more fiber than rice. Fiber remains in the digestive tract and provides gut related health benefits. Fiber rich diets have been linked to regular bowel movements and a lower risk of colon cancer 6.

Find out how plantains and potatoes compared in taste and texture in my article, Plantain vs Potato – Which is Better? Let’s Compare.

Rice May Be Better For Building Muscle

One of the main rules of bulking up and adding quality muscle is to consume more calories than you burn. Instead of restricting calories to the daily recommended count as you would when trying to get lean, the goal to bulk up would be to exceed that count.

Increasing the calories and carbohydrate consumption is where rice has the advantage over potatoes. If you take a look at the above table, you’ll notice a difference between the carbohydrate content of rice and potatoes.

You’ll also notice rice has more calories per serving, which further helps with bulking. Carbs not only increase the calories, but they assist by being the primary fuel source with the following:

  • Brain
  • Body
  • Athletic performance

Healthy carbs provide energy for your workouts and build muscle while optimizing recovery 7. Some other healthy complex carbs include:

  • Yams
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Oatmeal
  • Brown rice

If you want to try a low-carb diet, you may want to look for alternatives to potatoes or rice altogether.

Keto Bread Tip: Great News! Did you know, you don’t have to give up your favorite bread, pizza or sandwiches to follow a 100% Keto diet. Find out more in the KetoBreads website by clicking here, Keto Breads.

Potato vs Rice: Vitamins

Vitamin C

  • Potato: 12.6 mg
  • Rice: 0 mg

Vitamin A

  • Potato: 10 IU
  • Rice: 0 IU

Find out how taro compared to potatoes in my article, Taro vs. Potato – A Complete Comparison.

Potatoes Are Better Than Rice For The Immune System

Potatoes provide 12.6 mg of vitamin C compared to o mg for rice per 100 grams cooked. The body can’t make vitamin C, so it must come from the foods ate every day. Since rice doesn’t contain any, it’s not very helpful in this category.

Vitamin C has been shown in studies to help with the growth and repair of tissues throughout the body 8.

Vitamin C helps heal and repair wounds, maintain healthy bones, skin and cartilage.

Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and fights free radicals which damage the cells. Helping to prevent cell damage can help with the following:

  • Promote healthy aging.
  • Certain diseases like cancer.
  • Heart disease.

Although vitamin C is widely talked about for the immune system, vitamin A is important also. According to Harvard University, vitamin A is a great source to stimulate healthy white blood cells 9.

While potatoes don’t have a great number, rice doesn’t have any.

B Vitamins

Of the six B vitamins listed below, potatoes contain more than five of them. The B vitamins provided by potatoes and rice include the following:

  1. B1 (thiamin)
  2. B2 (riboflavin)
  3. B3 (niacin)
  4. B5 (pantothenic Acid)
  5. B6
  6. B9 (folate)

B vitamins help support the following:

  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Red blood cells.
  • Brain function.
  • Energy levels.
  • Digestion.
  • Nerve function.

Find out how potatoes compared to bread for nutrients and benefits in my article, Potatoes vs Bread: Which is Better? A Complete Comparison.

Potatoes Are Better Than Rice For Heart Health

Potatoes may benefit the heart in several ways. One reason is due to the vitamin C. This vitamin helps lower blood pressure in individuals with elevated blood pressure levels and those without 10.

Vitamin C also helps check several risk factors of heart disease, including the following:

  • High levels of bad cholesterol.
  • Lower good cholesterol.
  • Hypertension

By reducing these risk factors, it may help reduce your chances of developing heart disease. The effectiveness of Vitamin C in reducing the risk of heart disease is well documented in various studies.

For instance, a review of 9 scientific studies with almost 300,000 participants was conducted. They established maintaining a daily consumption of at least 700 mg of vitamin C for ten years lowers the risk of heart disease by 25% 11.

As mentioned earlier, B vitamins benefit cardiovascular disease which potatoes contain more of than rice.

Find out how turnips compared to potatoes in my article, Turnip vs. Potato: What’s The Difference? Let’s Compare.

white rice
White rice

Potato vs Rice: Minerals

Of the seven minerals listed below, potatoes provide a higher percentage of six of them.

  Potato Cooked (100 g) Rice Cooked (100 g)
Magnesium 27 mg 13 mg
Phosphorous 75 mg 37 mg
Potassium 544 mg 29 mg
Iron 0.64 mg 0.20 mg
Copper 0.12 mg 0.03 mg
Calcium 10 mg 3 mg
Zinc 0.3 mg 0.4 mg

Potatoes Are Better Than Rice For Maintaining Blood Pressure

Potatoes have a higher percentage of the following nutrients beneficial for blood pressure:

  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium

Let’s take a look at each one of these minerals and how they benefit blood pressure. Vitamin C was already discussed earlier.

Potassium

Potatoes provide 544 mg of potassium per 100 grams cooked. Potassium helps the body get rid of excess sodium reducing fluid build-up. These help keep systolic and diastolic blood pressure lower 12.

According to Harvard Health, a number of studies have shown a connection between low potassium levels and high blood pressure 13. The more potassium, the more sodium your body will lose.

Consuming too much sodium or not enough potassium throws off the delicate balance the kidneys need to remove the excess water 14.

Find out how cassava compared to potatoes in my article, Cassava vs. Potato: Are They The Same? Let’s Compare.

Magnesium

Potatoes provide 27 mg of magnesium and rice 13 mg per 100 grams cooked. Magnesium helps keep blood pressure levels stable and balanced.

A recent study researched previous studies and concluded magnesium supplementation decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure 15.

Magnesium helps control the following:

  • Blood pressure
  • Blood sugar
  • Insomnia
  • Nerve function
  • Muscle function

One reason many people supplement with magnesium in the evening is because it helps calm the whole body including blood vessels.

In the heart and muscles, magnesium competes with calcium to help the muscles relax after contracting. When the body is low in magnesium, calcium can over stimulate the heart muscle’s cells causing a rapid or irregular heartbeat 16.

If you’re interested about how sweet potatoes held up against pumpkin for health and nutrition, check out my article, Pumpkin vs Sweet Potato: A Complete Comparison.

Calcium

Potatoes provide 10 grams of calcium and rice 3 mg per 100 grams cooked. Calcium is important for the heart and blood pressure. 

Harvard Health reports calcium helps maintain blood pressure by helping in the controlling of the relaxing and tightening of blood vessels 17.

Calcium also helps the following:

  • Helps muscles function properly.
  • Improve nerve function.
  • Build and maintain strong bones.

Phosphorus

Potatoes provide 75 mg of phosphorus and rice 37 mg per 100 grams. Phosphorus has been shown in scientific studies to help with the following:

  • Help the body store and manage energy.
  • Help the kidneys remove waste.
  • Muscle contraction.
  • Muscle recovery.
  • Promote healthy nerve conduction.
  • Promote teeth and bone strength.

Keep Your Potatoes and Rice More Nutrient Dense

If you compare the nutrients of standard baked or boiled potatoes with skin against cooked white rice, potatoes win almost every time. Rice has more calories and significantly fewer micronutrients.

Although many people eat rice as a plain side dish, the same can’t be said for potatoes. People love adding the following to potatoes:

  • Sour cream
  • Gravy
  • Bacon bits
  • Butter

Some of these toppings are extremely calorie dense and not very healthy. The healthier potato can quickly become unhealthier than the rice.

Adding just a little butter into your mashed potatoes or on top of the baked potato will add over 100 calories 18.

Of course, the same can be said for rice. But most people eat plain rice with spices like salt, black pepper, garlic powder and cumin. When adding these delicious spices, you’re actually making your rice healthier.

So, if you want to get the most out of either carb, steer clear of unhealthy toppings and replace them with herbs and spices.

Find out if Idaho and Russet potatoes are really the same in my article, Idaho vs Russet Potatoes – Are They The Same? Let’s Compare.

What’s the Healthiest Rice Variety?

The healthiest rice variety is black rice. Black rice is rich in antioxidants, which give it a dark, distinctive color. Dark rice is followed by brown rice, red rice, and wild rice. All these rice varieties contain more micronutrients like magnesium, fiber and anthocyanins.

I’ve purposefully selected white potatoes and white rice for the comparison above. Those two are by far the most popular. However, it’s a well-known fact that whole grains are more nutritious.

Brown rice is just like white rice, but the bran and germ are left intact. Brown rice contains more fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus and other micronutrients than white rice 19

Black rice is arguably healthier because of the high amounts of anthocyanins. They have cancer-fighting properties and may improve your cardiovascular health.

What’s the Healthiest Potato Variety?

The healthiest potato variety is red potato. Red potatoes have more vitamin C and a higher percentage of B vitamins, fiber and minerals compared to other types. Red potatoes contain less calories and carbohydrates than other potato varieties.

a photo of red potatoes.
Red potatoes

When it comes to nutrition, red potatoes are slightly healthier than the rest. Red potatoes are high in quercetin, which has proven cancer-fighting properties.

This doesn’t mean that other types of potatoes aren’t good for you. Unlike rice, there’s no reason to pick one potato type over another just because of nutrition. Instead, get the one that you like the most.

The only major change in nutrition is eating potatoes with or without skin, no matter which type. Potato skin is high in dietary fiber, protein, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin C, B vitamins and magnesium.

By skipping the skin, you’re missing out on gut-healthy fiber and stress-reducing vitamin B.

Find out how red potatoes compared to Russet potatoes in my article, Red Potatoes vs Russet Potatoes: The Differences.

Potato and Rice Glycemic Index

Knowing the glycemic index of rice or potatoes is important especially if blood sugar levels are a concern. Avoiding blood sugar spikes is an important thing people should be aware of, diabetic or not.

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale measuring how fast a particular food raises the blood sugar in the blood 20. Blood sugar spikes can lead to health complications with the kidneys, nerves, heart and eyes 21

Foods on the GI scale are categorized as:

  • Low-GI foods: 55 or under
  • Medium-GI foods: 56-69
  • High-GI foods: 70 or over

How blood sugars levels are affected:

  • Foods with a glycemic index 70 or more cause a quicker spike in blood sugar levels.
  • Foods with a glycemic index 56 to 69 cause a moderate spike in blood sugar levels.
  • Foods with a glycemic index 55 or less cause a slow spike in blood sugar levels.

Now we know what GI is, and how it affects blood sugar, let’s answer, does potatoes or rice have a higher glycemic index?

Potatoes and rice have a similar glycemic index depending on the variety and cooking method used. A boiled Yukon Gold potato has a GI of 58 and white rice has a glycemic index of 64.

  • A boiled red potato has a GI of 89.
  • A boiled Russet potato has a GI of 54.
  • A medium sized white potato has a glycemic index of 50.

Not every white potato or rice has an equal GI. Yukon Gold and other white/red potatoes all have different GI scores. In addition to how a potato is cooked, the heat of the potato when eaten affects the GI.

A study published in the Journal of the Diabetic Association found boiled potatoes eaten cold had a GI score of 56. When eaten hot the boiled potato had a GI score of 89 22.  

Additional Article Resources 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38

Read Next – More Potato vs Food Articles!

Red Potatoes vs Yukon Gold Potatoes: What’s The Difference?

Sweet Potato vs. Butternut Squash: A Comparison

Are Sweet Potatoes Healthier Than Regular Potatoes?

Sweet Potato vs. Russet Potato: What’s The Difference?

Yukon Gold Potato vs Russet Potato: What’s The Difference?      

 

Article Resources: Foods For Anti-Aging follows strict guidelines to ensure our content is the highest journalistic standard. It's our mission to provide the reader with accurate, honest and unbiased guidance. Our content relies on medical associations, research institutions, government agencies and study resources. Learn more by reading our editorial policy.
  1. USDA: Potatoes, white, flesh and skin, baked[]
  2. USDA: Rice, medium-grain, cooked, unenriched[]
  3. USDA: Rice, white, short-grain, cooked, unenriched[]
  4. USDA: Rice, white, long-grain, parboiled, unenriched, cooked[]
  5. National Center for Biotechnology Information: The effect of fiber on satiety and food intake: a systematic review[]
  6. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Mechanisms linking dietary fiber, gut microbiota and colon cancer prevention[]
  7. National Center for Biotechnology Information: High-Quality Carbohydrates and Physical Performance[]
  8. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Vitamin C and Immune Function[]
  9. Harvard Health: Vitamin A[]
  10. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Vitamin C lowers blood pressure and alters vascular responsiveness in salt-induced hypertension[]
  11. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Antioxidant vitamins and coronary heart disease risk: a pooled analysis of 9 cohorts[]
  12. American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure[]
  13. Harvard Health: Potassium lowers blood pressure[]
  14. National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of the Sodium to Potassium Ratio on Hypertension Prevalence: A Propensity Score Matching Approach[]
  15. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis[]
  16. National Institutes of Health: Magnesium[]
  17. Harvard Health: Key minerals to help control blood pressure[]
  18. USDA: Butter, stick, unsalted[]
  19. USDA: Rice, brown, medium-grain, cooked (Includes foods for USDA’s Food Distribution Program) []
  20. Harvard Health Publishing: Glycemic index for 60+ foods[]
  21. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers: Use Them to Manage Your Diabetes[]
  22. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Glycemic index of potatoes commonly consumed in North America[]
  23. Wikipedia: Russet potato[]
  24. California Department Of Education: Potatoes, Russet[]
  25. USDA: Potatoes, Russet, Flesh and skin, baked[]
  26. The University of Maine: Potato Facts[]
  27. University of Rochester Medical Center: Potatoes, russet, flesh and skin, raw, 1 Potato large (3″ to 4-1/4″ dia) []
  28. Oxford Academic: Potatoes and risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease in apparently healthy adults: a systematic review of clinical intervention and observational studies[]
  29. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Skin Color Retention in Red Potatoes during Long-Term Storage with Edible Coatings[]
  30. University of Rochester Medical Center: Potatoes, red, flesh and skin, baked, 1 potato medium (2-1/4″ to 3-1/4″ dia) []
  31. Food Source Information Colorado Integrated Food Safety Center Of Excellence: Potatoes[]
  32. Wikipedia: Potato[]
  33. University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Yukon Gold: Characteristics[]
  34. USDA: Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes[]
  35. University of Florida: University of Florida Potato Variety Trials Spotlight: Yukon Gold[]
  36. USDA: Macronutrients[]
  37. USDA: Rice Sector at a Glance[]
  38. USDA: Wheat, Rice and Other Grains[]

Kevin Garce

Kevin Garce is a Certified Health Coach who encourages people by informing them on nutrition and food topics important to them. His years of research and knowledge inspire people to achieve their goals. Read more here About Me

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