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  • Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes

    New here so excuse me if it's a dumb question, but I can't find any info about this. I have seen mark constantly write about how sweet potatoes are a good carb source for those of us that need carbs. I have also seen a post of his saying potatoes are good, but it doesn't compare the two. Anybody have any advice? I need carbs and want to cut grain/legumes so I am going to go potatoe route, but sometimes I need 250g of carbs a day and if I do 200 of them in sweet potatoes that seems like a lot of sugar compared to the rolled oats and rice I used to eat 200g of. Any advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance

  • #2
    Here's a discussion between Chric Kresser and Mat Lalonde that talks about them (among other things).

    Originally posted by What molecules can tell us about white potatoes
    Mat Lalonde: Oh, yeah! That’s another one of my favorite, and you know, this one fits this “Well, it wasn’t available before the advent of agriculture, so we probably be shouldn’t be eating it,” again assuming that we cannot find a better source of food compared to what was in the Paleolithic. And this is another one where I covered it at length in my AHS talk, showing the actual molecular structures of these molecules. So some of them are glycosides. They’re either terpene glycosides or they’re alkaloid glycosides. So they’re called saponins or glycoalkaloids, and Cordain makes this huge, huge deal about them, saying that they cause intestinal permeability and whatnot. If you look at those permeability studies, they are all in vitro. And my problem with them is that if you’re a chemist and you look at these substances. They’re like, wow, there are glycoside bonds all over the place. This is gonna fall apart during digestion. Sure enough, it does. Sometimes you can find certain metabolites of it in the bloodstream, but you rarely find that compound itself. It has never been shown in a human being that consuming a lot of this stuff is going to increase intestinal permeability. The only studies that I find where this stuff can be problematic is where they use mice models of intestinal bowel disease, where there’s some kind of genetic manipulation that was done, and they feed those mice models fried potato skins ad libitum. And they’re fried in polyunsaturated oils, by the way.

    Chris Kresser: Right, so you take the part of the tuber that has the highest concentration of toxins, which is the skin, and then you fry it in seed oil.

    Mat Lalonde: Yeah, in a mouse model of IBD. And if you do that, you see inflammation, biomarkers of inflammation increase. So if, and this is a big if, that translates to human beings, all you’d be able to say is that people with irritable bowel disease should not be eating fried potato skins ad libitum. If you think that’s a ridiculous statement, you’re right.
    The chief difference between them is that potatoes are a nightshade (as are capsicums). So if you are sensitive to nightshades then potatoes go to the doghouse for you.
    Disclaimer: I eat 'meat and vegetables' ala Primal, although I don't agree with the carb curve. I like Perfect Health Diet and WAPF Lactofermentation a lot.

    Griff's cholesterol primer
    5,000 Cal Fat <> 5,000 Cal Carbs
    Winterbike: What I eat every day is what other people eat to treat themselves.
    TQP: I find for me that nutrition is much more important than what I do in the gym.
    bloodorchid is always right

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    • #3
      If you need 250g of carbs per day, then white potatoes are just fine. (Provided you don't have any bad physical effects from them.)

      In fact, they are arguably just as healthy as sweet potatoes. I think the main issue for many is that most of us are more likely to overeat white potato dishes. However, you have a high carb limit, so you should be fine.

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      • #4
        I eat white potatoes almost daily (sometimes more than once a day) and do quite well with them. If you want/need more carbs and don't have issues with nightshades, they can be a good option. I get them in my CSA every week and quite enjoy them.
        “If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” --Audre Lorde

        Owly's Journal

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        • #5
          Here is a chart I made comparing 300 calories of white potatoes versus 300 calories of sweet potatoes:



          They are equally nutritious. White potatoes are a nightshade and sweet potatoes are not, so people sensitive to nightshades may want to stay away. Also, there are mild toxins in the skins, so you're technically best off peeling your white potatoes. I leave the skins on because I think they are delicious and the toxin load is low. However, I only leave the skins on if the potatoes are fresh, smooth and unblemished. If the white potatoes have "eyes" - lumps/growths on the skin - those need to be taken off. That's where the big toxin load will come - if the potatoes are sprouting eyes.

          Right click on the image and click VIEW IMAGE to see higher resolution. As you can see, white potatoes and sweet potatoes are equally nutritious. Enjoy both. They are both real, nutritious foods.
          Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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          • #6
            Wow that's quite a lot of carbohydrate a day to "need".....how you figure your needs?

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            • #7
              If the glycemic index is something that needs consideration for an individual, sweet potato is slow and white potato is fast.
              "Continue being a man and you will be excellent. Pussy will rain from the sky. " - Legbiter
              Couldn't resist immortalizing this quote.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Picaro View Post
                If the glycemic index is something that needs consideration for an individual, sweet potato is slow and white potato is fast.
                It depends a lot on how you eat them. If you are eating your potato with fats and protein (which most probably are), then the glycemic numbers are very different. That's why the glycemic index can be very misleading, because who eats foods in pure isolation?

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                • #9
                  Yes, I was trying to remember something I had heard along those lines. Something about potato, butter and cinnamon being ideal as they work together.
                  "Continue being a man and you will be excellent. Pussy will rain from the sky. " - Legbiter
                  Couldn't resist immortalizing this quote.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Neckhammer View Post
                    Wow that's quite a lot of carbohydrate a day to "need".....how you figure your needs?
                    Not sure what's meant by this. What defines a carbohydrate "need"? What defines fat "need"? What defines protein "need"? Why would you think your body cares if you ingest carbohydrate, fat or protein? Neither is healthier than the other. It always depends on the source, and it comes down to overall nutrition. A diet full of potatoes is going to be a lot healthier than a diet full of coconut because potatoes are more nutritious on the whole.

                    Let's take a look at 300 kcal of raw coconut meat.



                    That's pretty lame compared to a white potato or sweet potato. Even with all those scary carbs, you're probably going to be a lot healthier stuffing your face full of potatoes than comparatively "empty" coconuts. Perspective is important.
                    Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Picaro View Post
                      If the glycemic index is something that needs consideration for an individual, sweet potato is slow and white potato is fast.
                      GI is pretty meaningless. GL tells a better story. GI simply shows how much amylose there is in proportion to amylopectin in a carbohydrate source. Less amylose = lower GI.

                      According to Nutritiondata, 100 grams of raw white potato has a glycemic load of 7. Meanwhile, 100 grams of sweet potato has a glycemic load of...8! Why? Because sweet potatoes are more calorically dense than white potatoes, and an equal serving of sweet potatoes in terms of weight is actually higher in carbs. This is despite the fact that a sweet potato has a GI of '54' while a baked white potato has a GI of '85'.

                      Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Potatoes, white, flesh and skin, raw [Includes USDA commodity food A215]
                      Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Sweet potato, raw, unprepared [Includes USDA commodity food A230, Sweetpotato]
                      Glycemic Index Food Chart

                      Interestingly enough, I've found when carbohydrate loading, white potatoes will promote less bloating and easier digestion than sweet potatoes. I eat sweet potatoes over while potatoes for one reason - I think they taste better. I see no reason to choose one over the other in terms of health unless you are nightshade sensitive <- my opinion.
                      Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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                      • #12
                        Main reason i mentioned it is that a family member ( the only diabetic i have direct dealings with ) finds a marked difference with his blood samples. White shows a big spike after eating, and sweet is a negligible change.
                        "Continue being a man and you will be excellent. Pussy will rain from the sky. " - Legbiter
                        Couldn't resist immortalizing this quote.

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                        • #13
                          @ Choco sorry, but fit day nutrition fails to impress me. It doesn't take into account a variety of issues ....not the least of which is that the RDA and general way that we measure "nutrition" is total bunk. Basically your requirements are reverse engineered from the current USDA food pyramid (i.e. SAD diet approved)

                          As to how you measure need....are you kidding me? You mean you don't know?

                          Since it doesn't matter if you eat fat, protein, or carbs why don't you go ahead and eliminate protein from your diet and tell me how you fare. There are reasonable calculations as to how much protein you "need"....your frequency of glycolytic exercise will help determine your carbohydrate "need" in addition to recognizing how much glucose you displace with ketones.

                          Actually I see quite clearly how to calculate "need". I didn't make the assertion that you could not eat more protein or carbs or fat for that matter than it takes to meet your needs. OP made a statement as to their needs and I'm curious as to how they arrived at it.
                          Last edited by Neckhammer; 09-17-2012, 06:05 PM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Neckhammer View Post
                            @ Choco sorry, but fit day nutrition fails to impress me. It doesn't take into account a variety of issues ....not the least of which is that the RDA and general way that we measure "nutrition" is total bunk. Basically your requirements are reverse engineered from the current USDA food pyramid (i.e. SAD diet approved)
                            Who is talking about RDA? We're talking about micronutrient content. Potatoes blow away coconut. Period. There is no argument. They are more nutrient-dense per calorie regardless of how you want to spin it.

                            Originally posted by Neckhammer View Post
                            As to how you measure need....are you kidding me? You mean you don't know?
                            Neither do you. No one knows what they "need." Stop worrying about arbitrary numbers and eat the foods that make you feel and perform best. If that's coconut or potatoes or both, it doesn't matter as long as it's real food. Somewhere out there there's a Type I Diabetic deadlifting on nearly zero carbs that's a monster at the gym, and somewhere out there there's a guy that sits on his ass all day eating a low fat/high carbohydrate diet that's perfectly healthy.

                            Originally posted by Neckhammer View Post
                            Since it doesn't matter if you eat fat, protein, or carbs why don't you go ahead and eliminate protein from your diet and tell me how you fare. There are reasonable calculations as to how much protein you "need"....your frequency of glycolytic exercise will help determine your carbohydrate "need" in addition to recognizing how much glucose you displace with ketones.
                            This is such a ridiculous paragraph I don't even know where to begin.

                            1.) Who said anything about "eliminating" anything from your diet? I sure as hell didn't. You did.

                            2.) There is no way to determine exactly how much protein, carbohydrate or fat you need. There is no magic formula, only guesstimates that make wild assumptions based on the "average" American. There is no such thing as "The Average American," BTW.

                            3.) Now I'll attempt to entertain your ridiculous straw man: It's impossible to "eliminate" protein from your diet if you're eating whole foods. It's in everything. Even if you did something ridiculous like eat a diet of solely white potatoes, that gives you ~7% calories protein, which is roughly half of USDA guidelines (15%). And, unlike most vegetarian protein sources, potato protein is extremely high quality and complete, rivaling the quality of some meats.

                            Originally posted by Neckhammer View Post
                            Actually I see quite clearly how to calculate "need". I didn't make the assertion that you could not eat more protein or carbs or fat for that matter than it takes to meet your needs. OP made a statement as to their needs and I'm curious as to how they arrived at it.
                            No, there is no calculation. You don't know it, I don't know it, Mark Sisson doesn't know it, Martin Berkhan doesn't know it, the Dalai Lama doesn't know it. Experiment and eat what makes you feel best and don't go by some predetermined "ideal" macro profile from Bodybuilding.com.

                            Read less, experiment more. That's the best advice I could give anyone.
                            Last edited by ChocoTaco369; 09-17-2012, 06:24 PM.
                            Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ChocoTaco369 View Post
                              Read less, experiment more. That's the best advice I could give anyone.....
                              Good thing I wasn't soliciting any then...

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