This is a seemingly simple question and in reality it has a very simple answer, yet it is still a regular topic of discussion even amongst the more astute individuals who focus on their health and fitness.
I am not sure why this is, I mean, I know WHY it is a question in modern times, I am just not fully sure why this ever became a ‘thing’. What am I talking about?
The question of ‘what is healthier?” It is extraordinarily common in a myriad of forms in countless conversations every single day. Carrots or peas? White bread or whole wheat? Quick oats or steel cut oats? Apples or bananas?
Sweet potatoes or regular potatoes.
Often I am completely stymied by the magnitude of such perplexing questions and become unable to begin fathoming a retort. Not because I am unsure of an answer to the underlying nutritional science required to answer the questions but because I am unsure how these questions are even being asked in a time when most of our food comes delivered, pre-cooked, in nifty little packages.
Everyone has an opinion and is happy to espouse that opinion to you, particularly if you happen to be cooking or ingesting a succulent tuber. When we talk about the Dunning-Kreuger effect I don’t think there could be a better example than these conversations about what are the better options for human health. It can get quite heated with friendships on the line and family events often reduced to nuclear rubble before a dinner is even served.
As the debates rage on becoming more and more heated with the alcohol lowered inhibitions that often precede the jousting the infamous ‘they’ make an appearance. THEY say that sweet potatoes are better for you. THEY say that potatoes are too high in starch. They say this. They say that. Upon request to describe THEY stutters and blank stares ensue.
It is because THEY say it is.
What is the answer Coach Taylor?
What should I eat?
I love potatoes but sweet potatoes are so much healthier for you!
How can I have what I love and still take care of my health? Sweet potatoes are tasty but potatoes….oh….potatoes are just so good.
As readers of my material the answer I provide should really not be surprising. Alas, I know this is still an article that needed to be written.
The answer is that they are both healthy for you. Equally. As are carrots and peas, brown rice and white rice, whole wheat bread and white bread, apples and bananas.
How? How can this be Coach T?
The problem with our western diet is how processed a food it and not so much which food it is we are eating. A baked potato from your garden is far superior nutritionally than deep fried sweet potato fries at your local pub. That delicious sweet potato mash with maple syrup at holiday gatherings is healthy food, while that bag of crispy potato chips is literally taking you one step closer to your death.
These debates between the health benefits of real whole food are insane. Literally, insane. Especially as most of the people having the debates have no problem slamming back the booze as a side to their deep dish stuffed crust pizza. But yeah, don’t eat those potato’s because they are going to be the end of you.
Simple answer: all whole foods are good for you. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, whole grains, meat, eggs, and fish. There you go. Stop debating between them.
The real culprit destroying our health is what we manipulate these foods into. Chips, baked goods, deep fried who knows what’s, pastes, jellies, spreads, alphabets, and most of what is probably in your pantry right now. These aren’t food. They are gross manipulations of the things we were designed to ingest. The real debate should be about whether we should be living on processed diets consisting of items that you would be hard pressed to figure out the origins of.
Stop fretting over the minutia of difference between potato’s and sweet potato’s or any other real food that can easily be identified as a vegetable, fruit, plant, or animal. That is not the problem with your diet. Stop telling me carrots aren’t good for you while you scarf back a box of chocolates.
Focus on what is really important: eating a diet of whole food and avoiding the processed revolution as much as you can!