Difference Between Sweet Potato And Irish Potato

Many lovers of potatoes today do not really know the type and nature of what they eat. All they crave is the pleasure they derive from these sumptuous foods. There are two types of potatoes; we have the Irish potato and the Sweet potato.

The Irish potato is the common and regular one; although, they are both widely consumed and cultivated across the globe. There is a broad difference between these two potatoes.

They are of no means or any way related; even though they bear the same common name. From this article, you will have a change of mind or let me say you will make a new choice of potato you consume.

Read up:         Sweet potato vs Potato (Irish)

Botanically, Sweet potato and Irish potato are not in any way related. Sweet potato scientific name is Ipomoea batatas while the scientific name of Irish potato or the regular potato is Solanum tuberosum.

Now let me show you their botanical difference:


sweet potato

The sweet potato, Ipomoea batatas, is from the family Convolvulaceae, it is related to the creeping Morning glory flower. It is highly nutritious and research has affirmed that Sweet potato is more nutritious and has more health benefits than the Irish potato.

Sweet potato is creepy in nature like the Morning glory flower; the leaves are the edible vegetable and they are highly nutritious food for humans and animal; they are used in feeding snail and rabbit. People often relate sweet potatoes to yam, probably because of the size. No. the difference is clear as they are not from the same family.

Irish potato

On the other hand, Irish potato is a vegetable, from the family Solanaceae where tomato, pepper, and eggplant belong. The leaves of Irish potato are poisonous and not edible; the leaves contain Solanine. Irish potatoes are not creepy in nature; they are erect just like pepper and tomato.

Another major difference between Sweet potato and Irish potato is the nature of their tuber. Most people find it difficult to tell if these potatoes are stem tuber or root tuber but the most glaring fact is that they are both tubers, isn’t it?

Yes, they are. Sweet potato is a stem tuber; why is it a stem tuber?

Because what we consume can be used as a means of propagation. A good example of stem tuber is Yam. The edible part of stem tubers can also serve as the planting material for propagation. However, Irish potato is a root tuber; we consume the root and not the stem.

A good example of root tuber is cassava. In the case of root tubers, the edible part cannot be used for propagation. They are either propagated through their vegetative part such as stem in the case of cassava or seeds as seen in Irish potato.


The nutritional difference of Sweet potato and Irish potato

Nutritionally, they are highly nutritious and good sources of energy. They contain copious vitamins and minerals. They are both high Carb food. Because of their high carbohydrate, people are often worried about the Glycemic load (GL) and Glycemic index (GI) of Sweet potato and Irish potato.

Let me break it down: 

Glycemic index of potato is the measure of how quickly the potato converts to glucose in the body. While the Glycemic load is the quantity of potato that converts to glucose after the breakdown in the body system.

These two parameters are very important to people consuming potato, especially diabetes patients. Irish potato has a high glycemic index and glycemic load compares to Sweet potato. Sweet potato glycemic index is so low that it has been recommended for treating type 2 diabetes patients.

However, glycemic index of potato changes with processing methods. Boiling usually results in a lower glycemic index. A roasted or baked sweet potato has a higher glycemic index when compared to Irish potato.

Sweet potato and Irish potato have closely related nutrient profile; though, sweet potato is said to be more nutritious. Sweet potato is a rich source of vitamin A, essential for the health of the eye.  The two types of potatoes possess Phytonutrients and antioxidant; hence, they help to control negative oxidation effects.


How to plant sweet potato and Irish potato

Another important difference between these potatoes is their means of propagation. Sweet potato is can be planted using the vegetative part called the vines while Irish potato is commonly planted using its seed.


Anti-nutrients present in Sweet and Irish potato

Both sweet potato and Irish potato contain anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients are chemical compounds present in food that tends to distort the digestibility of the food; this is of economic importance in animal feed formulation.

The anti-nutrients in Irish potato are: Palatins and Lectins; these two compounds are protein and they are allergenic in nature, especially when eaten raw. Irish potato also contains other anti-nutrient called Protease inhibitors, which often interfere with protein digestibility.

Also, 80% of the protein content of Sweet potato is Sporamin, an anti-nutrient. Sporamin is a trypsin inhibitor that distorts the action of the digestive enzyme called Trypsin. However, the anti-nutrients in these potatoes can be reduced by cooking.

Now you know the difference between the Sweet potato and Irish potato. They are both high carb food that supplied various nutrients and have high satiety ability when eaten.


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