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


There are many varieties of sweet potato including the traditional one we’re all familiar with and a white sweet potato. They both come from the same family and to the untrained eye look similar. Therefore, let’s answer the question, what’s the difference between a white sweet potato and sweet potato?

The main difference is a white sweet potato has a white color flesh, and a sweet potato has an orange flesh. A white sweet potato has a pale copper/reddish color skin while a sweet potato skin is more rose to reddish. White sweet potatoes taste less sweet and contain less carotenoids.

This article will examine both varieties in every detail including which is better and more nutritious. In addition, I’ll take a look at the difference in their taste, texture and if they can be substituted for each other.

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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.

White Sweet Potato vs. Sweet Potato: Which is Better?

Since both sweet potatoes have a different color flesh, it may make you wonder if there’s any advantages to eating one over the other 1. This leads many people asking the question, which is better, white sweet potato or orange sweet potato?

Orange sweet potatoes are better because they contain more antioxidants than white sweet potatoes. Orange flesh sweet potatoes contain more beneficial carotenoids than white sweet potatoes which give it its orange color. Orange sweet potatoes are sweeter and can be used in recipes requiring a sweeter taste.

Even though sweet potatoes are slightly healthier, overall, the remaining differences between the two are marginal. In some cases the difference could be insignificant. Let’s take a look at the nutritional values of each potato below.

White Sweet Potato vs Sweet Potato: Nutrition

Nutrient White Sweet Potato
(1 Cup)
Sweet Potato
(1 Cup)
Calories 120 114
Carbohydrates 28 g 27 g
Protein 2.3 g 2.1 g
Fiber 3.9 g 4.0 g
Sodium 72 mg 73 mg
Sugar 5.4 g 5.6 g
Calcium 46.55 mg 39.90 mg
Potassium 482 mg 448 mg
Iron 0.84 mg 0.81 mg
Vitamin C 3.4 mg 3.2 mg

The nutritional differences between the white and orange flesh sweet potatoes aren’t much different 2. When comparing the macronutrients, vitamins and minerals, they are pretty close 3. The bigger difference between the two is the carotenoid antioxidants shown below 4.

White Sweet Potato vs Sweet Potato: Antioxidants

Antioxidant White Sweet Potato Sweet Potato
Carotenoid 0.006 0.047
Anthocyanin 0.012 0.016
Flavonoid 0.617 0.705
Phenolic 1.580 1.490

Since the orange flesh sweet potato contains more carotenoids than the white, let’s discuss them in more detail 5. Carotenoids are yellow and orange pigments which are a source of vitamin A. Common carotenoids include:

  • Beta carotenes
  • Lycopene
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Lutein

Carotenoids are mostly shown as beneficial to eye health and the immune system 6. Since white flesh sweet potatoes contain less, are white sweet potatoes as healthy as regular sweet potatoes?

White sweet potatoes have slightly less health benefits than regular sweet potatoes because they contain much less of the antioxidants carotenoids. The remaining nutrients, antioxidants and health benefits between the white or regular sweet potato are very similar.

White Sweet Potato vs Sweet Potato: Health Benefits

Eye Health

When it comes to sweet potatoes, there are two nutrients your body converts into vitamin A. Most notably, Beta Carotene, which is easily absorbed by the body.

According to numerous studies, vitamin A helps the eyes when it comes to dim light vision and dry eyes 7. Consuming one regular sweet potato provides 730% of the daily value for vitamin A. 

The Anthocyanins found in sweet potatoes have been found in studies to protect eye cells from damage improving overall eye health 8

Immune System

According to an article by Harvard University, vitamin A is a great source to stimulate healthy white blood cells 9. These cells have the responsibility of keeping the immune system as healthy as possible to fight viruses and illnesses effectively.

Other nutrients like vitamin c and the antioxidant anthocyanin possess anti-inflammatory properties protecting against disease and illness.

Diabetes

Sweet potatoes have a good number of carbs which would lead one to think it can spike blood sugar a good amount. The carbs in sweet potatoes are complex and raises blood sugar more slowly.

Sweet potatoes, white or regular, have a moderate glycemic index and is considered safe for people with diabetes.

In a study involving 61 people with type 2 diabetes, they were given white sweet potato extract daily for twelve weeks. The researchers found fasting blood sugar levels decreased significantly. In addition, the participants lost body weight and lowered cholesterol 10

In another study, 18 men with type 2 diabetes were given white sweet potato extract. The results indicated the participants increased insulin sensitivity compared to those who received a lower amount of extract 11.

Digestion and Gut Health

White and regular sweet potatoes 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.

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.

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White Sweet Potato vs. Sweet Potato: Taste and Texture

Because white sweet potato and sweet potato look similar from the outside, you would immediately expect the two vegetables to taste the same. However, once you peel the skin from both potatoes, you are greeted with two completely different-looking vegetables.

To avoid confusion, let’s discuss the taste and texture of both sweet potatoes.

  • Sweet potato generally holds its sweet flavors consistently. You will almost always get a subtle starchy undertone with rich sweet flavors when eating a sweet potato. The texture is stringy, crumbly, and soft. You can mash the sweet potato for a smooth, fluffy texture.
  • White sweet potato has similar characteristics to its sweet potato sibling. However, the sweetness is a lot more subtle. You still get starchy undertones, though. The texture is also similar except white sweet potatoes tend to be a little more drier like a regular potato.

It is not uncommon for people to buy sweet potatoes thinking they got one variant only to realize they got white sweet potato instead of orange, and vice versa. Therefore, the next section discusses the possibilities of substituting one for the other.

Can You Substitute White Sweet Potatoes for Sweet Potatoes?

You can substitute white sweet potatoes for sweet potatoes for almost any dish. They can both be baked, roasted, mashed or grilled. White sweet potatoes won’t taste as sweet, therefore when making a sweet recipe like a pie, extra seasonings may be used.

For almost any dish, you can substitute sweet potatoes with white sweet potatoes and vice versa. For that reason, there are a few things you should consider before substituting these vegetables with each other.

For example, mashed sweet potatoes is an excellent dish for you to use any of these potatoes. However, if you are making sweet potato pie, the white sweet potatoes lack the sweetness sweet potatoes have. Therefore, you may be changing a recipe slightly to make the white sweet potato dish a bit sweeter.

For sweet potato fries, white sweet potatoes have the advantage. They are versatile, and you have more control of the resulting flavor because their overall taste is subtle compared to a regular sweet potato.

White Sweet Potatoes vs Sweet Potatoes: How To Store

White and regular sweet potatoes are both stored in a cool, dry, ventilated container. They should be kept out of the refrigerator in a dark place away from heat. A humid basement or root cellar is the best area.

Keeping sweet potatoes in the refrigerator produces a hard center and an unpleasant taste. Sweet potatoes can store for about two weeks in the proper conditions 13.

When picking your white or regular sweet potatoes, always choose large, firm looking ones. If you have a local farm or stand close by, buy your sweet potatoes there.

The ones in the supermarket probably have been stored for months already, while farm-fresh potatoes may only be a week old.

How long do white sweet potatoes last? White sweet potatoes store bought can last for about two weeks if properly stored. Keeping them in a dark, cool place away from heat will make them last longer. Store white sweet potatoes in a place anywhere from 55°F to 60°F and keep them out of the refrigerator.

Can white sweet potatoes and sweet potatoes be stored together? White sweet potatoes and sweet potatoes can be stored together in a cool, dark place at a temperature between 55°F to 60°F. Keep them in a ventilated container like a potato keeper or burlap bag.

Smoothie Tip: Adding frozen fruit, instead of ice, enhances the flavor and nutrient content of the drink.

The secret to an easy smoothie with frozen items is having a blender powerful enough to handle the workload. The blender I recommend has a 6 blade, multi-tiered blade, check it out and the current price on Amazon, Nutri Ninja BL685 with Auto-iQ Technology.

FAQs

Is a white sweet potato normal? A white sweet potato is normal and is one of many sweet potato varieties.

What are white sweet potatoes good for? White sweet potatoes are good for baking, roasting, grilling and mashing. They can be used in any dish regular sweet potatoes are used in but taste a little less sweet.

Is white sweet potato good for weight loss? White sweet potatoes are good for weight loss because they have a moderate glycemic index preventing spikes in blood sugar. People given white sweet potato extract lost weight, reduced cholesterol and maintained healthy blood sugar levels.

Which sweet potato is the healthiest? Sweet potatoes with an orange or purple flesh are the healthiest. They contain a larger number of carotenoid antioxidants not found in white flesh sweet potatoes.

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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. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Sweet potato: a review of its past, present, and future role in human nutrition[]
  2. Nutrition Value: Sweet potato, unprepared, raw[]
  3. Nutrition Value: White sweet potatoes by Wada Farms[]
  4. ScienceDirect: Comparative analysis of phytochemical and nutrient availability in two contrasting cultivars of sweet potato (Ipomoea balatas L.) []
  5. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Comparative analysis of phytochemicals and nutrient availability in two contrasting cultivars of sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) []
  6. ScienceDirect: Antioxidant activities, phenolic and B-carotene contents of sweet potato genotypes with varying flash colors[]
  7. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Nutrients for the aging eye[]
  8. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Review on nutritional composition of orange-fleshed sweet potato and its role in management of vitamin A deficiency[]
  9. Harvard Health: Vitamin A[]
  10. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Efficacy of Ipomoea balatas (Caiapo) on diabetes control in type 2 diabetic subjects treated with diet[]
  11. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Mode of action of ipomoea balatas (Caiapo) in type 2 diabetic patients[]
  12. National Center for Biotechnology Information: Mechanisms linking dietary fiber, gut microbiota and colon cancer prevention[]
  13. North Carolina Sweet Potatoes: How To Store Sweetpotatoes[]

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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