Home Nutrition Are Sweet Potato Fries Really Healthier Than Regular Fries?

Are Sweet Potato Fries Really Healthier Than Regular Fries?

Written by Jenoye Campbell, LPN

What do you do when your stomach bangs inside your body, screaming for food?

Well, let us guess.

You would probably make yourself a healthy fruit salad with no calories and fats. Or you would serve your angry stomach with a bowl of boiled vegetables.

Right?

That confused smile on your face is saying it all! All of us know that the real side of the picture is probably totally different!

The majority of the people, when hungry, think of having something from their favorite pizza parlor or burger point.

Because we feel as though nothing can better satisfy us when hunger strikes than cheese lava sandwiched between the juiciest chicken fillets and tasty buns and that cherry on top must be your very own mayo fries.

Yay, look at that smile! 

Fries are probably one of, if not the most popular fast food in the world. It is easy to make and one of the best-tasting fried foods we consume.

It is the easiest getaway for untimely hunger.

So you know it adds to your weight gain and can cause pimples too, but who cares?

After all, what’s a burger without french fries!

Sweet Potato vs. French Fries: Nutrition, Calories, and More

French Fries or Potato Fries?

Have you ever gone out and come across sweet potato fries on the menu or have you been to the grocery store and seen sweet potato fries in the frozen aisle?

But let’s be honest, you probably frowned and moved along to the usual french fries because you are probably unsure of the taste, right?

Since you are on this post, more than likely, you want to know more about sweet potato fries.

Maybe you are trying to make healthier choices and are being introduced to this “new” product by a friend, so you want to know if there is really a great nutritional difference between the two and if they impart different health benefits as well.     

So, in this post, we will be comprehensively discussing the nutritional facts about sweet potato fries with a short comparison to regular french fries.

You will get a better understanding of what you’ll possibly be eating as a healthier alternative to regular fries.

The Nutritional Value of Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potato fries, as their name indicates, are made using sweet potatoes.

Sweet potato is scientifically named Ipomoea batatas and is an underground tuber that is extremely rich in beta carotene.

Beta carotene is a compound that gives vivid yellow, orange, and red coloring to vegetables.

It is very good at elevating the level of vitamin A in children.

Additionally, the nutritional content of sweet potatoes includes 77% water, 1.6 grams of proteins, 86 calories, 20.1 grams of carbohydrates, 4.2-gram sugar, 3 grams of fiber, and 0.1 grams of fats.

However, this nutrient chart is likely to change a bit when sweet potatoes are deep-fried and it really also depends on the actual amount you consume because this is based on a single serving.

Deep frying can increase the fat content depending upon the oil used, so to keep it on the healthier side, we recommend using olive oil, which also does not add as many calories.

This also helps to avoid trans fats from other oils.

This is what the typical nutrient profile of sweet potato fries look like for a 3-ounce (85-gram) serving, of fried sweet potatoes:

  • 126 calories
  • 0.3 grams fat
  • 0.06 grams saturated fat
  • 2.1% calories from fat
  • 0 cholesterol
  • 2.5 g protein
  • 29.1 grams carbohydrate
  • 5.6 grams sugar
  • 4.5 grams fiber
  • 0.6 mg iron

Fried sweet potatoes also contain minerals and vitamins such as:

  • 370 mg Sodium
  • 58 mg Calcium
  • 7.8 mg Vitamin C  
  • 0.5 mg Vitamin E
  • 11,543 mcg beta-carotene        

To get a better perspective, you can compare this to a list of nutrition facts for Irish potato fries below or the ones on the back of the package at the grocery store.

What do French Fries Have to Offer?

French fries are made up of regular potatoes and their nutritional content varies greatly from that of sweet potato fries.

Have a look below at the nutritional content for a single serving of regular french fries.

  • 196 calories
  • 13.1 grams fat
  • 141 mg sodium
  • 18.5 grams carbohydrates
  • 1.6 grams fiber
  • 1.3 grams sugar
  • 1.9 grams protein

Well, the calorie content says it all! Also, french fries lack vitamins and minerals with zero vitamin A to a few milligrams of Vit. C and other salts like sodium, potassium, etc.

Besides this, the fat content of French fries is mostly trans-fat, which is the worst for your health, but that is typically based on the oil used.

It is likely to negatively affect your heart health, allowing unhealthy weight gain, and causing various corporal problems.

To get more valuable nutrients from Irish potatoes, they are best prepared and served in their peel.

But limit the number of servings you eat.

What makes Sweet Potato Fries a Healthier Option?

Adding sweet potato fries to your cooking and eating options can revive the health of your entire meal.

The vitamin and mineral content of sweet potato makes it one of the healthiest staples of all time.

For instance, the fiber content of sweet potatoes increases fullness causing lesser food intake.

Also, it slows down the digestion of sugars so that there is no sudden blood sugar spike in your blood. Its higher fiber content links sweet potato with a reduced risk of diabetes and gut problems. 

Moreover, sweet potatoes contain sporamin, a unique protein that helps the potato plant to heal if damaged.

About 60% to 80% of the total soluble protein in sweet potato tubers is sporamin.

Sporamin has antioxidant properties and imparts several health benefits to its consumers.

People are becoming more health-conscious, so this could be the reason more and more restaurants are serving sweet potato fries as a side option.

Furthermore, sweet potatoes are a good source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and potassium.  The beta-carotene is converted to vitamin-A which is very good for;

  • Vision
  • Cell growth
  • Cell division
  • Reproduction
  • Immunity

Vit C is an antioxidant that decreases the intensity of the common cold and improves the health of your skin to a great extent.

Finally, potassium protects your heart by helping to keep your blood pressure under control.

This is why most healthy meal plans opt for sweet potato as a source of carbs since it is healthy and can be prepared by a variety of cooking methods, including air frying, regular fried in a healthy oil option that gives you monounsaturated fat.

Does the Type of Fry Matter?

It has been tried, tested, and proven that the way we cook our food affects their nutrient breakdown and health benefits.

This shall be considered particularly when deep frying is in question because when foods are deep-fried, they become unhealthy to an extent.

The type of cooking oil increases the calories, carbs, and fatty content of the food.

High-fat foods can lead to obesity, so be careful of what your sweet potato fries are cooked with.

Furthermore, if the frying oil is used repeatedly, trans fats can form and seep into the food.

Deep frying, on the other hand, may increase the number of unhealthy factors in the food.

So, although a healthier option, deep-frying sweet potatoes can make them unhealthy. You will lose that healthy advantage based on how the potatoes are prepared.

Then what’s the solution?

Well, bake your potatoes rather than deep-frying them.

Also, try air frying.

It is even more beneficial! Air fryers cook food quickly and that too without using a lot of oil!

In an air fryer, all you need is a tablespoon of olive oil and super-heated air to make crispy fries.

Toss on a bit of salt and pepper too, make some wedges as well and enjoy that new addition to your diet.

Try a sweet potato fries recipe or the next time you feel like baking, put some into the oven as well.

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