Potatoes and bread are common sources of carbohydrates in most daily meals. However, there are many nutritional differences everyone should be aware of. Can the nutrient differences make potatoes or bread better?
Potatoes are better than bread due to their fewer calories, carbohydrates, sugar and fat than bread. They are better for weight loss containing 290% fewer calories than white bread and have a higher satiety index score. Potatoes provide a higher percentage of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and are gluten free.
This article will include a side-by-side comparison of the nutrients in both. We’ll discuss the most significant nutritional differences and how the nutrients benefit health. In addition, I’ll compare their satiety index score and glycemic index.
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.
Most types of potatoes have similar nutritional quantities. That said, red and other dark-colored varieties are somewhat healthier because they contain more antioxidants. However, for the sake of comparison, we’ll look at the humble white potato.
Regular white toast, baguettes and other bakery products made from all-purpose flour have similar nutritional quantities. We’ll compare the most common white bread.
Most of us are aware whole-wheat bread is significantly healthier than white bread. When talking about healthy bread, mentioning it is inevitable. So, here are some important nutrients found in this variety also.
The following table is a side-by-side comparison of the nutrients:
|Potato Raw (100 g)||White Bread (100 g)||Whole-Wheat (100 g)|
|Protein||1.68 g||9.43 g||12.30 g|
|Carbohydrates||15.7 g||49.2 g||43.1 g|
|Fiber||2.4 g||2.3 g||6.0 g|
|Fat||0.10 g||3.59 g||3.55 g|
|Sugar||1.15 g||5.34 g||4.41 g|
|Vitamin A||8 IU||0 IU||3 IU|
|Beta-carotene||5 mcg||0 mcg||1 mcg|
|Vitamin C||9.1 mg||0 mg||0 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.20 mg||0.09 mg||0.21 mg|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||18 mcg||22 mcg||42 mcg|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)||0.07 mg||0.50 mg||0.39 mg|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.03 mg||0.24 mg||0.16 mg|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||1.07 mg||4.76 mg||4.43 mg|
|Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid)||0.28 mg||0.54 mg||0.65 mg|
|Magnesium||21 mg||27 mg||76 mg|
|Phosphorous||62 mg||113 mg||212 mg|
|Potassium||407 mg||117 mg||250 mg|
|Iron||0.52 mg||3.36 mg||2.56 mg|
|Copper||0.11 mg||0.12 mg||0.22 mg|
|Calcium||9 mg||211 mg||163 mg|
|Zinc||0.29 mg||0.88 mg||1.76 mg|
All three contain many of the same types of nutrients. At first glance it’s difficult to determine which one contains more than the other. Let’s examine which one is healthier.
Potatoes are healthier than bread due to being gluten free, containing less sugar, calories, fat and sugar. They contain vitamins A and C which bread doesn’t contain. Potatoes provide over 100% more potassium which has been proven to help lower blood pressure and reduce fluid build-up.
On the other hand, whole-wheat bread provides more vitamins and minerals than white making it more nutrient dense. Therefore, when comparing it alone to potatoes, they are both equally healthy.
Whole-wheat bread provides more protein, fiber, B vitamins and minerals than potatoes. It has a higher percentage of protein, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B5, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper, calcium and zinc.
When choosing between potatoes and whole-wheat bread, the one you pick may determine which goals you have.
One such goal may be weight loss. Better for weight loss, potatoes are significantly lower in calories and much more filling than bread. They also have fewer sugar and carbohydrates. They are more satiating than whole-wheat or white bread making you feel fuller resulting in less calorie consumption.
If your goal is to build lean muscle mass and increase physical performance, whole-wheat bread is better than potatoes. It provides more lean calories and carbohydrates. The extra carbohydrates help to increase energy and athletic performance.
Therefore, if you’re on a low carb or Keto diet, potatoes are the better choice because they contain less carbs. Check out the Keto tip just below.
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.
Satiety is a term used to explain the feeling of being full and the loss of appetite which occurs after eating food. The satiety index is a scale showing how full a person feels after eating a certain food.
The satiety index was developed in 1995 from a study which tested 38 foods. The foods were ranked how they satisfied a person’s hunger. Foods scoring under 100 are considered less filling and foods scoring above 100 are considered more filling 5.
The table below shows the satiety scores of potatoes and bread.
|Food||Satiety Index Score|
Compared to white bread at 100%, it turns out that boiled potatoes are 323% more satiating. Additionally, they are more than twice as satiating compared to wholemeal and grain bread as well.
Of all the 38 foods, potatoes score the highest. 28 out of the 38 foods scored better than white bread.
Potatoes are likely to have a high satiety score for the following reasons:
- High in fiber
- High in volume (foods containing a lot of water or air)
- Low in energy density (foods low in calories for their weight)
1) Potatoes contain 2.4 grams of fiber per 100 grams.
2) This is likely because of the high water content found in potatoes. Studies have found incorporating water into food decreases overall calorie consumption 6.
3) Potatoes weigh a good amount but only contain 69 calories per 100 grams.
Another reason why potatoes are so filling may be a protein they contain called proteinase inhibitor 2. This protein has been shown to suppress the appetite 7.
Therefore, if your goal is to lose body fat or decrease calories, potatoes are the better choice over bread.
Find out how plantains compared in my article.
Potatoes and Bread Glycemic Index
Knowing the glycemic index of food is important especially if blood sugar levels are a concern. Avoiding blood sugar spikes is an important part of consuming healthy food.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a scale measuring how fast a particular food raises the blood sugar in the blood 8. Blood sugar spikes can lead to health complications with the heart, nerves, kidneys and eyes 9.
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 the glycemic index is, and how it affects blood sugar, let’s answer, does potatoes or bread have a higher GI?
The white bread GI index of 100 is higher than potatoes. A boiled russet potato has a GI of 54, and a boiled Yukon Gold has a GI of 58. A hot boiled potato has a GI of 89. Wholemeal bread has a GI in the medium range more similar to a potato.
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 10.
If you’re interested about how the sweet variety held up against pumpkin for health and nutrition, check out my article here.
Potato and Bread Costs
With the rising prices of just about everything, the cost of food certainly matters to most. The price may sway your decision about which one to use in your meals more often. Therefore, let’s examine which one costs more.
Whole-wheat bread cost more than potatoes. White bread cost less than potatoes. The average price for potatoes is $0.99 per pound. The average price for whole-wheat bread is $1.55 per pound. The average price for sliced white bread is $0.77 per pound.
To conduct some original research, I visited some local supermarkets and compared the prices of both foods.
I first visited the Shoprite supermarket for the prices:
- Sliced white bread (store brand)
- $0.80 per pound
- Sliced whole-wheat bread (store brand)
- $1.92 per pound
- $0.99 per pound
I also checked Walmart:
- Sliced white bread (store brand)
- $0.74 per pound
- Sliced whole-wheat bread (store brand)
- $1.18 per pound
- $0.99 per pound
To find out what the difference compared to taro, check out my article here.
How To Store Potatoes and Bread
Whichever you choose or have on hand, proper storage is crucial. How you store fruits, vegetables or bread can affect how long they last before going bad and how they taste. Therefore, how do you store bread?
The best way to store bread is in a bread box or a paper bag. This allows a little air and ventilation which helps keep the crust firm. The bread should be kept away from heat or the sun and in a cool place. Avoid the top of the refrigerator which is a warmer area.
Bread can be frozen to avoid it turning bad before using it. Place it into a freezer bag and remove all the excess air. Write the date on the freezer bag and store it in the freezer up to three months.
To avoid the annoying freezer burn, removing all the air from the bag is crucial.
The best way to remove the excess air, especially with the individual slices, is to use a vacuum sealer. They are one of those items making you wonder how you did without one before purchasing it. Amazon has many affordable ones. Check out their current prices here, Vacuum Sealers.
How do you store potatoes?
Store potatoes in a dark, cool place away from heat and do not store them in the refrigerator. A humid basement or root cellar is the best area. They should be kept in a burlap bag or ventilated container and stored between 40°F and 60°F.
Storing potatoes in a refrigerator can make the center hard and change the cell structure. This can diminish the flavor. If you don’t have a cool basement, store them in a ventilated place, away from heat and light.
Find out how turnips compared in my article.
Potato and Bread Health Benefits
As noted in the nutrient section of this article earlier, the nutrients provided by potatoes and bread are somewhat similar. For this reason some of the benefits are the same and the nutrients have many health benefits.
Let’s examine how each one of these nutrients benefit health.
Vitamin C per 100 grams:
- Potatoes 9.1 mg
- White bread 0 mg
- Whole-wheat bread 0 mg
The body can’t make vitamin C, so it must come from the foods ate every day. Vitamin C has been shown in studies to help with the growth and repair of tissues throughout the body 11.
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:
- Certain diseases like cancer.
- Heart disease.
- Promote healthy aging.
Fiber per 100 grams:
- Whole-wheat bread 6 grams
- Potatoes 2.4 grams
- White bread 2.3 grams
They both contain soluble and insoluble fiber. 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 12.
Of the six B vitamins listed below, bread provides a higher percentage of five of them.
The B vitamins provided include the following:
- B1 (thiamin)
- B2 (riboflavin)
- B3 (niacin)
- B9 (folate)
B vitamins help support the following:
- Cardiovascular disease.
- Nerve function.
- Red blood cells.
- Brain function.
- Energy levels.
A lack of B vitamins has been associated with oxidative stress and neural inflammation. In a study released in 2018 32 healthy adults were given B vitamin supplementation for six months. The results indicated preliminary evidence B vitamin supplementation reduced oxidative stress and inflammation 13.
Potassium per 100 grams:
- Potatoes 407 mg
- Whole-wheat bread 250 mg
- White bread 117 mg
Potassium helps the body get rid of excess sodium reducing fluid build-up. These help keep systolic and diastolic blood pressure lower 14.
According to Harvard Health, a number of studies have shown a connection between low potassium levels and high blood pressure 15. 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 16.
Find out how cassava taste and texture compared in my comparison article.
Calcium per 100 grams:
- White bread 211 grams
- Whole-wheat bread 163 grams
- Potatoes 9 mg
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:
- Help the muscles to function properly.
- Build and maintain strong bones.
- Helps nerve function.
Magnesium per 100 grams:
- Whole-wheat bread 76 mg
- White bread 27 mg
- Potatoes 21 mg
Magnesium helps keep blood pressure levels stable and balanced. Recent scientific research examined previous studies and concluded magnesium supplementation decreased systolic and diastolic blood pressure 18.
Magnesium helps control the following:
- Nerve function
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar
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 19.
Read Next – More Food Articles!
- USDA: Bread, whole-wheat, commercially prepared
- USDA: Bread, white, commercially prepared
- USDA: White Bread
- USDA: Potatoes, white, flesh and skin, raw
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: A satiety index of common foods
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Water incorporated into a food but not served with a food decreases energy intake in lean women
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of Potato Protease Inhibitor II on Gastrointestinal Hormones and Satiety in Humans During Weight Reduction
- Harvard Health Publishing: Glycemic index for 60+ foods
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases: Know Your Blood Sugar Numbers: Use Them to Manage Your Diabetes
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Glycemic index of potatoes commonly consumed in North America
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Vitamin C and Immune Function
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Mechanisms linking dietary fiber, gut microbiota and colon cancer prevention
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of a High-Dose Vitamin B Multivitamin Supplement on the Relationship between Brain Metabolism and Blood Biomarkers of Oxidative Stress: A Randomized Control Trial
- American Heart Association: How Potassium Can Help Control High Blood Pressure
- Harvard Health: Potassium lowers blood pressure
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: The Effect of the Sodium to Potassium Ratio on Hypertension Prevalence: A Propensity Score Matching Approach
- Harvard Health: Key minerals to help control blood pressure
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis
- National Institutes of Health: Magnesium
- University of Wyoming: Storing Bread For Maximum Freshness
- North Carolina State: Storing Bread and Baked Products
- Glad: How to Store and Freeze Bread So It Lasts
- Wikipedia: Bread
- University of Idaho: Facts About Bread!
- Britannica: bread
- Wikipedia: Whole wheat bread
- Harvard T.H. Chan: Whole Grains
- Michigan State University: White whole wheat bread – Is it really a whole grain?
- University of Rochester Medical Center: Potatoes, russet, flesh and skin, raw, 1 Potato large (3″ to 4-1/4″ dia)
- Wikipedia: Potato
- University of Nebraska-Lincoln: Yukon Gold: Characteristics
- USDA: Macronutrients