Sweet Potato Fries: Are They Really Any Better for You?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
Do you have sweet potato on the brain like we do? I've been eating them in every way possible this fall: Cut into wedges and roasted with spices; baked in foil and smothered with cinnamon and pecans; even blended up into smoothies! One my favorite treats is a piping hot batch of sweet potato fries. You've heard time and time again that sweet potatoes are full of good-for-you nutrients, but does that hold true when they're sliced up and fried? What do you think: Is there really that big of a difference between regular French fries and sweet potato fries? We're putting Ore Ida's Sweet Potato Fries and Golden Fries (regular French fries) head to head to find out the answer!

The Winner: It's a Tie!

First, let's check out the nutrition information for both spuds, from the Ore Ida website:
Golden Fries                                                                           
Serving Size: 84g
Servings Per Container: About 11
Amount Per Serving
Calories 130 Calories from Fat 30
  % Daily Value *
Total Fat 3.5g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Trans Fat 0  
Cholesterol 0 0%
Sodium 290mg 13%
Potassium 390mg 10%
Total Carbohydrates 21g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars <1g  
Protein 2g  
Vitamin A 0%
Vitamin C 6%
Calcium 0%
Iron 2%
Sweet Potato Fries
Serving Size: 84g
Servings Per Container: About 6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 160 Calories from Fat 70
  % Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g 12%
Saturated Fat 0.5g 3%
Trans Fat 0  
Cholesterol 0 0%
Sodium 160mg 8%
Potassium 280mg 8%
Total Carbohydrates 21g 7%
Dietary Fiber 2g 10%
Sugars 6g  
Protein 1g  
Vitamin A 50%
Vitamin C 4%
Calcium 2%
Iron 4%
It looks like the sweet potato fries have 30 more calories than the regular fries per serving, as well as 4.5 more grams of fat. However, the sweet potato fries also have 50% more vitamin A than the regular fries, with 130 fewer mg of sodium. Also notice that both varieties of fries have the same amount of fiber (2 grams). Both potatoes and sweet potatoes get most of their fiber from the skin, which is often sliced off in commercially-prepared fries. With skin, sweet potatoes have just slightly more fiber than regular potatoes.

Want to make healthy sweet potato fries at home? Try this baked version!
Which do you prefer: Regular fries or sweet potato fries?

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GETULLY 2/13/2019
Most of the time sweet potato fries come covered with sugar. Ick! Cut the potatoes and roast the chunks! Yum-O! Report
Very interesting! Thanks for sharing. Report
BABY_GIRL69 1/4/2019
I wanted some sweet potato fries and these look yummy.... Report
KCOCEAN 8/18/2018
I hate sweet potatoes no matter how they are fixed. I tried to eat them as fries or chips and I would rather skip it than eat. Report
KHALIA2 7/30/2018
Great info! Thanks! Report
KHALIA2 6/28/2018
I love sweet potato fries, but I bake them instead of frying. Report
Great information! Report
_CYNDY55_ 6/22/2018
Thanks! Report
DJ4HEALTH 6/7/2018
thanks Report
7STIGGYMT 4/24/2018
And everyone thinks sweet potatoes are healthier Report
WOW! And I thought I was doing something by putting them in the oven. Thank you for this information. Report
I love sweet potato fries over regular French fries, although both are good. I believe in everything in moderation. Report
Sweet potato fries. I rarely if ever order reg potato fries. This article has me rethinking my restaurant order Report
Sweet potatoes are my favorite! Report
Sweet potato fries! Report
Sweet potato fries, yum! Report
I love sweet potato fries! Report
Sweet potatoes fries are my favorite! Report
I love sweet potatoes in any iteration. However, I think that the "fries" are more of a junk food due to the additives and preservatives. Report
I love sweet potato fries so I kinda wish I hadn't read this. Report
I was rather disappointed that there was that little of a difference. Comparing apples to apples (OK potatoes to potatoes(sweet)) it would appear that you probably get more bang for your buck with the regular french fries (more properly know as chips) as I know that the ones made from sweet potato are considerably MORE expensive up here anyways. Report
Love me some sweet potatoes anyway Report
I hate sweet potatoes no mater how you prepare them. I love regular potatoes, but not much on store bought fries. I prefer to cut my own fries, baked. Report
Love them! Report
I focus on eating 'whole' foods...nothing processed/prepared. This debate is also interesting when you compare a raw sweet potato to a raw potato. Sweet potato has less calories, potassium, carbs, protein. But it has more dietary fiber and sodium. Six of one, half dozen of another conundrum. Report
I am wondering why you did not look at the sugars--clearly sweet potatoes have 6x more sugar (no-brainer, why do you think the word sweet is in their name?). For anyone watching their sugar--this could be a deal breaker. Natural sugar or not, sweet potatoes will spike insulin levels more than white potatoes. Report
I think they are both great. Report
I love the sweet potato steam fried with some herbs. Very low fat. Report
I like to make my sweet potatoes savory by adding cayenne and chili powder. Yum. Report
I like them both equally Report
Thick cut "fries" chips... I'm in the UK, thick chips have much less surface to inside ratio, so better for less fat content. Report
I enjoy sweet potato fries but I don't like a lot of salt Report
I would rather see an article about the difference between homemade sweet potato fries and homemade regular fries, or just plain potatoes vs sweet potatoes. I don't buy premade items like this, and I think a lot of other people do the same. For me each potato has its place in a healthy diet if prepared properly. Report
I have peripheral neuropathy and my husband read that nightshades (e.g. tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant) irritate nerves - causing pain. So, I quit eating them - replacing potatoes with sweet potatoes (they are not in the nightshade family). It has made a considerable improvement in my condition. My feet, in particular, have improved tremendously. I highly recommend eating sweet potatoes! :-) I haven't yet found a replacement for tomatoes, though I would love to. Report
I'm curious how the author came up with the figure for sweet potato fries having more calories than regular fries? If it was strictly off number of servings per package, she forgot to take into account that the package sizes are different: 30 ounces for fries and 19 ounces for sweet potato fries. (From the link she provided to Ore-Ida's site.) Report
Okay, nitpick time here: Sweet potato fries do not have 50% more vitamin A than French fries; they have 50% of the recommended daily value (with the usual caveats). French fries have no vitamin A which makes expressing the difference in percentages kind of pointless. The sweet potato fries would have 50% more vitamin A if the French fries had 33% of the RDA.

For the people talking about added fat from deep frying, that's actually a surprisingly low fat method of cooking provided: a) you start with sufficiently hot oil, b) don't overload the fryer, and c) don't leave the food being fried in too long. The reason is this: if the oil is sufficiently hot, it will flash vaporize the moisture near the surface of the food which keeps the oil from soaking in while getting the food hot enough to cook.

Adding food lowers the temperature of the oil, so it's critical not to put in too much in at once. Also, if you leave the food in too long, the water vapor will bubble out of the oil giving the latter a chance to soak into the food. Report
I bake sweet potato wedges but I don't use salt. Much healthier. Report
My wife and I enjoy baked sweet potato fries, and using soy-vinegar-catsup as a sauce for dipping. Thanks for the article. Report
I love sweet potatoes, no matter how they are cooked. When I bake them, I add a bit of cinnamon or cinnamon butter (measured of course). Yummy!! Report
The first time I tasted sweet potato fries, I was not expecting to like them since I don't care for baked/mashed sweet potatoes, but I LOVED them! Now I make them at home - I slice them (leave the skin on), toss them with olive oil and spices (either taco seasoning or a mix of chili powder & cumin) and bake them. Delicious!! Report
sweet potatoes don't taste good, no matter what you do to them. Report
I agree with what other said to begin with - how do you compare crappy store-bought fries on a health site?!

But that aside, I think there is more to the comparison than simple calorie/fat/nutrient breakdown. I pick SP over regular because of the nutrients but also because of the smaller glycemic impact. Report
I do not think they are interchangeable. Each has an application dependent on the accompanying food items. I also would not use prepared convience food. I would be more interested in the scratch versions. But I love them both. Report
Why would you use crappy, pre-made fries to compare? Why not compare homemade? Both regular potatoes and sweet potatoes that you bake at home (no bags of industrially prepared food involved) are better for you. Report
Baked fries can have as much oil as deep fried, it depends on how much oil you put on the pan. Deep frying, actually, can produce less greasy food, than baked or pan fried. Just because you are dipping the food in oil, does not mean all of it goes into your food. It's basic food science.

Anyway, I eat regular fries and sweet potato fries, with different things. They are not interchangeable in my opinion. Certain combinations of foods work better together. Generally, I like sweet potatoes with pork or pork products, and regular potatoes with beef. The exception is probably, I toss sweet potato fries with Furikake and serve this is asian food. Report
Haven't tried sweet potato fries but I love sweet potatoes so really should try some! Report
It should be a no brainer that if you deep fry potatoes (or anything for that matter) would give it more calories as it's soaked it hot oil. So yeah they would be just as bad for you as regular fries are. I love baked fries, hence we are subtracting the oil that the potatoes are bathing in when using the deep FAT frier. Report
The majority of the calories in deep-fried fries are from the oil, so this isn't a huge surprise. I love oven fries, though, of either variety.

JODAFEEN2012: I do something very similar. Your spice blend sounds awesome! Report
I don't like sweet potatoes, and I've been trying to convince myself I SHOULD because they are better for me. That makes me kind of glad to see this! Not that I eat them very often..its been a few months since I've eaten french fries, but when I do I won't feel as bad now! Report