5

votes

white potatoes vs sweet potatoes (and the glycemic index)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 02, 2013 at 10:16 PM

Conventional fitness wisdom says to choose sweet potatoes over white potatoes (based mostly if not entirely on the differing glycemic indices). Yet, my experience says otherwise, as I notice I run slightly leaner when choosing potatoes instead of sweet potatoes as my post workout carb source.

So, (1) How could this be/Any plausible explanations? (2) Is the glycemic index irrelevant then? (3) any one else experience this?

I'm a little annoyed at myself for taking the fitness advice so blindly without ever really testing the white vs sweet thing out sooner on myself (switched to almost exclusively white potatoes only about 6 months ago after having been in the pro sweet potato camp for 8+ years).

Thank you in advance.

532cfd279d793e8fcc23b9f6d91dde5c

(1981)

on February 03, 2013
at 11:14 PM

If you are metabolically healthy to begin with, I should add.

532cfd279d793e8fcc23b9f6d91dde5c

(1981)

on February 03, 2013
at 11:13 PM

Neither potatoes nor sweet potatoes will put you at risk for diabetes in the context of a balanced and healthful diet.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on February 03, 2013
at 03:03 PM

Many would say eat sweet potatoes (or oatmeal is also a common one) first to fuel you throughout a longer higher volume workout and then regular potatoes after for fast glycogen uptake.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on February 03, 2013
at 03:01 PM

Among mainstream fitness professionals, dextrose or Vitargo (a certain brand of waxy maize starch) are most frequently used post workout for glycogen replenishment. However, many professionals also do without either of these and just use whole, natural food for glycogen replenishment. Individual preference. I have used both in the past and find that I prefer natural food, mostly for peace of mind. you can quickly feel waxy maize getting into the muscles though. It is an excellent tool for creating a fuller, more vascular look if you have low enough body

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on February 03, 2013
at 02:57 PM

Yes, that would be the case. Waxy Maize starch has recently been praised by VLC high fat dieters looking to improve athletic performance precisely because it is taken up into the muscles extremely efficiently. Waxy maize is processed corn starch. Worse than potatoes because it has no vitamins/minerals and is probably GMO. Better than potatoes because it makes money for the people selling it.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on February 03, 2013
at 02:13 PM

I'm not concerned with getting ripped, but what do you think is better from a diabetes risk perspective? Thx.

742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on February 03, 2013
at 01:37 AM

Potatoes make me look more ripped too. Sweet potatoes do have more sugar but I highly doubt it is enough to make a difference.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on February 02, 2013
at 11:37 PM

Yes, I have read that. Stephen Guyenet @ wholehealthsource.net conducted a wonderful interview with him a couple years back. http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2010/12/interview-with-chris-voigt-of-20.html

387d7b7c6cac49a03aad10d7b6cada7b

on February 02, 2013
at 11:28 PM

Was looking at Chris Masterjohn's story, and trying to find a study where people lived off only potatoes for like a year I think. Didn't find that study, but found a news article about Chris Voigt who recently [lived on only potatoes for 60 days.][1] [1]: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20024131-10391704.html

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on February 02, 2013
at 11:24 PM

In other news: Something humerus http://9gag.com/gag/3363767

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on February 02, 2013
at 11:19 PM

yeah. I always saw 12 or saw as being significant enough to make a difference, so that's why I hadn't ventured into white potato territory. Call it "When perfectionism fails." Then I randomly read about chris Masterjohn's sweet potato horror story and decided to try white potatoes one day instead. Call it "when hypochondria prevails."

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on February 02, 2013
at 11:16 PM

I always saw 12 or so as being significant enough to make a difference, however minute that may be and being a perfectionist to the point of it being a fault (this would be a case in point), that's why I never experimented. Glad I finally took the plunge though and the reason I did was after reading some sweet potato horror story by Chris Masterjohn. lol. Hypochondriacal too.

532cfd279d793e8fcc23b9f6d91dde5c

(1981)

on February 02, 2013
at 10:53 PM

I wouldn't be surprised if that's the case. Insulin does so much.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on February 02, 2013
at 10:48 PM

I had thought about this too. Not on my own, but I actually read about this in a Frank Zane interview done years ago. He gives the exact reasoning that you just have. Thank you. I'll bet there is something to both yours and Mscott's argument.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on February 02, 2013
at 10:43 PM

Thanks for the answer! Your experience with rice confirms mine as well, as I end up going out for a late sushi dinner about once a week and am delightfully surprised that this has no discernible negative affects on body composition. I hope you're right.

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6 Answers

5
532cfd279d793e8fcc23b9f6d91dde5c

(1981)

on February 02, 2013
at 10:43 PM

The lower-gi sweet potato results in a lower, but longer-lasting, insulin spike. This means a longer window for insulin to inhibit lipolysis. White potatoes produce a higher insulin spike, but it drops much more quickly, and when insulin levels drop, lipolysis can resume.

532cfd279d793e8fcc23b9f6d91dde5c

(1981)

on February 02, 2013
at 10:53 PM

I wouldn't be surprised if that's the case. Insulin does so much.

532cfd279d793e8fcc23b9f6d91dde5c

(1981)

on February 03, 2013
at 11:13 PM

Neither potatoes nor sweet potatoes will put you at risk for diabetes in the context of a balanced and healthful diet.

7fc82eebafd44badc73c520f44660150

(3275)

on February 03, 2013
at 02:13 PM

I'm not concerned with getting ripped, but what do you think is better from a diabetes risk perspective? Thx.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on February 02, 2013
at 10:48 PM

I had thought about this too. Not on my own, but I actually read about this in a Frank Zane interview done years ago. He gives the exact reasoning that you just have. Thank you. I'll bet there is something to both yours and Mscott's argument.

532cfd279d793e8fcc23b9f6d91dde5c

(1981)

on February 03, 2013
at 11:14 PM

If you are metabolically healthy to begin with, I should add.

3
387d7b7c6cac49a03aad10d7b6cada7b

on February 02, 2013
at 11:00 PM

White potatoes have a GI of 82, and a GL (Glycemic Load) of 21. Sweet potatoes have a GI of 70, and a GL of 22.

So, glycemic index wise, they are both about the same. I believe that the white vs sweet potato issue is more about nutrition and everyday consumption. Sweet potatoes have more nutrients than white potatoes.

As for your personal issue, I know that sweet potatoes in the store seem to be on average larger than the white potatoes. The glycemic load in white potatoes is a tiny bit lower, making them a bit better (Or the same) insulin wise. However, if you eat more of one than the other, that is definitely going to have an impact.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on February 02, 2013
at 11:16 PM

I always saw 12 or so as being significant enough to make a difference, however minute that may be and being a perfectionist to the point of it being a fault (this would be a case in point), that's why I never experimented. Glad I finally took the plunge though and the reason I did was after reading some sweet potato horror story by Chris Masterjohn. lol. Hypochondriacal too.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on February 02, 2013
at 11:37 PM

Yes, I have read that. Stephen Guyenet @ wholehealthsource.net conducted a wonderful interview with him a couple years back. http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2010/12/interview-with-chris-voigt-of-20.html

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on February 02, 2013
at 11:19 PM

yeah. I always saw 12 or saw as being significant enough to make a difference, so that's why I hadn't ventured into white potato territory. Call it "When perfectionism fails." Then I randomly read about chris Masterjohn's sweet potato horror story and decided to try white potatoes one day instead. Call it "when hypochondria prevails."

387d7b7c6cac49a03aad10d7b6cada7b

on February 02, 2013
at 11:28 PM

Was looking at Chris Masterjohn's story, and trying to find a study where people lived off only potatoes for like a year I think. Didn't find that study, but found a news article about Chris Voigt who recently [lived on only potatoes for 60 days.][1] [1]: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20024131-10391704.html

3
A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on February 02, 2013
at 10:35 PM

I've definitely noticed this. Maybe it's something to do with insulin's anabolic effects? I don't really know. I'm sure there are several possibilities, but I've noticed this with white rice too, so at least for me it didn't seem to be related to some vitamin/mineral I was getting.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on February 02, 2013
at 10:43 PM

Thanks for the answer! Your experience with rice confirms mine as well, as I end up going out for a late sushi dinner about once a week and am delightfully surprised that this has no discernible negative affects on body composition. I hope you're right.

1
93eea7754e6e94b6085dbabbb48c0bb7

on February 03, 2013
at 03:38 PM

I also notice this when I eat white potatoes. I think because sweet potatoes have more sugar I over-indulge in them whereas white potatoes satiate me more quickly so I eat less. It just comes down to n=1 I guess, but I always wondered why people advocated sweet and not regular.

1
7d46edca72c2f8347f65d7b734d1f1eb

on February 03, 2013
at 02:41 PM

"The lower-gi sweet potato results in a lower, but longer-lasting, insulin spike. This means a longer window for insulin to inhibit lipolysis. White potatoes produce a higher insulin spike, but it drops much more quickly, and when insulin levels drop, lipolysis can resume."

Maybe I'm over simplifying but if this is true would white potatoes be better eaten after training than sweet potatoes to help recovery when you are trying to balance weight loss and performance/recovery?

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on February 03, 2013
at 02:57 PM

Yes, that would be the case. Waxy Maize starch has recently been praised by VLC high fat dieters looking to improve athletic performance precisely because it is taken up into the muscles extremely efficiently. Waxy maize is processed corn starch. Worse than potatoes because it has no vitamins/minerals and is probably GMO. Better than potatoes because it makes money for the people selling it.

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on February 03, 2013
at 03:01 PM

Among mainstream fitness professionals, dextrose or Vitargo (a certain brand of waxy maize starch) are most frequently used post workout for glycogen replenishment. However, many professionals also do without either of these and just use whole, natural food for glycogen replenishment. Individual preference. I have used both in the past and find that I prefer natural food, mostly for peace of mind. you can quickly feel waxy maize getting into the muscles though. It is an excellent tool for creating a fuller, more vascular look if you have low enough body

1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

(14952)

on February 03, 2013
at 03:03 PM

Many would say eat sweet potatoes (or oatmeal is also a common one) first to fuel you throughout a longer higher volume workout and then regular potatoes after for fast glycogen uptake.

0
23f701386ac9e4ccc6767b627c5e3abf

on February 03, 2013
at 11:26 AM

I have been following a paleo diet for a few years now and I believe that it is of no harm to include potatoes, in their baked form, in your paleo diet. I would not like to take the side of any one form, as I believe that both of them have certain essential nutrients and neither is entirely good or bad. Even in terms of their GI, there is not much difference between the two. So it is probably not the potatoes but the way they're cooked that is affecting you.

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