By Lucy Yanckello, Ph.D.
Carbohydrates are an essential part of any diet, but not all carbs are created equally. One gram of carbs may always equal 4 calories, but the nutritional benefits can differ greatly. Read on to learn more about the difference between two popular types of carbohydrates: pasta and sweet potatoes.
Are sweet potatoes healthier than pasta? Is pasta healthier than sweet potatoes?
All carbohydrate sources, including sweet potatoes and pasta, can find their place in a healthy diet, but sweet potatoes and pasta may offer different nutritional benefits.
Although sweet potatoes and pasta are both considered to be carbohydrate sources, 100 grams of sweet potatoes has 73% less carbohydrate content than 100 grams of pasta - 20.1 grams compared to 74.7 grams. Importantly, sweet potatoes are higher than pasta in dietary fiber, which is beneficial for keeping you feeling fuller for longer. Satiety is an important consideration for those trying to lose weight.
One benefit of pasta that you would not get from sweet potatoes is higher protein content. One hundred grams of pasta has 13 grams of protein, while 100 grams of sweet potatoes only have 1.6 grams of protein. Just like dietary fiber, protein content is important in keeping you feeling fuller for longer.
Are sweet potatoes or pasta better for weight loss? Should I avoid sweet potatoes for weight loss?
Both sweet potatoes and pasta can be beneficial for those trying to lose weight. However, it is likely that sweet potatoes may have more benefit due to their fiber content. Fiber makes you feel full after a meal for a longer period of time. In addition, the type of fiber in sweet potatoes, known as resistant starch, has been shown to aid in reducing the risk of obesity.
Because there are fewer calories in sweet potatoes than pasta, more sweet potatoes can be eaten for the same calorie intake. This allows you to feel more full, and is an easy way to cut calories without feeling hungry.
Sweet potatoes are considered a prebiotic food due to their fiber content, meaning they feed the “good” bacteria in our guts. When your gut bacteria are balanced, this allows for more effective blood sugar management which leads to reduced cravings.
What's best for digestion: pasta or sweet potatoes?
Due to their fiber content, sweet potatoes aid in and promote a smooth digestive process. This also helps reduce constipation. Because pasta does not have as high of a fiber content, it does not have the same digestive benefits as sweet potato.
Is it OK to eat sweet potatoes every day?
Sweet potatoes are a great addition to any diet, and can be eaten every day. Not only do sweet potatoes have the benefit of high fiber, they also have many vitamins and minerals that are important to maintain health. They contain antioxidants such as vitamin C and E that aid in fighting free radicals, which have been linked to conditions like diabetes and cancer. These vegetables also are a rich source of beta carotenes which are converted to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A promotes a healthy immune system allowing your body to properly fight off infections.
Which is healthier: pasta or sweet potato fries?
Depending on how your sweet potato “fries” are made, sweet potatoes may retain their nutrient dense qualities. Sweet potato fries that come deep fried from a restaurant land in the 400 calorie range for a 3 oz serving, with a fat content of close to 20 grams. You’ll also have to watch the sodium content in situations like those. In this case, pasta would likely be the healthier choice, especially due to the protein content of pasta, which will keep you fuller for longer.
If you are looking for sweet potato fries as a healthier option, try to make them at home and bake them or throw them in the air fryer. That way the sweet potatoes will retain their nutritious (and delicious) qualities, and you can still enjoy the desirable crunch of fries.
Which is healthier: pasta or sweet potato noodles?
Although sweet potato noodles might sound like they would be a better option than regular pasta, they are made from potato starch. This means that the noodles don’t have any fat, but it also means they don’t have any protein and are low in fiber. If you are eating a plain bowl of noodles, regular pasta will have more benefits, including keeping you fuller for longer due to the protein and fiber content being higher.
Although there is not much added nutrition from eating sweet potato noodles, they only have 70 calories, making them a good option for those trying to cut calories. If protein and vegetables are added to sweet potato noodles, they can definitely be beneficial in keeping calories low but still having a balanced meal.
Where can I buy the best fresh pasta online?
At Wildgrain, we specialize in making high-quality, fresh pastas and breads that are delivered directly to your door. Wildgrain is the first bake-from-frozen delivery subscription service for breads, pastries, and fresh pastas. Some of our popular pastas include fresh fettuccine and fresh tonnarelli. Learn more about Wildgrain and our artisanal baking and cooking methods.
About the Author
Lucy Yanckello received her Ph.D. in nutrition from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. She currently works as a medical writer and enjoys being able to help people better understand nutrition and science.
This content is for informational use only and does not replace professional nutrition and/or medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is not a substitute for and should not be relied upon for specific nutrition and/or medical recommendations. Please talk with your doctor about any questions or concerns.