Potatoes vs. Rice

Which is best for you? Which is better?

Q. I am considering having potato as an alternative source of carbohydrate, instead of rice. How do they compare in terms of nutrition?

A. Both rice and potato are complex carbohydrates, our bodies’ preferred energy source. Enriched white rice has thiamin, niacin, folic acid, iron while brown rice also contains extra fibre. Potato has vitamin C and potassium while sweet potato also contains beta-carotene vitamin A. If eaten, potato skin provides fibre.

Q. Can eating carbs such as potatoes make you fat? 

A. One bowl of plain cooked rice gives about 200 calories equivalent to 4 boiled potatoes, each about the size of an egg. Eating potatoes or rice does not make a person fat. It is the method of preparation that adds extra calories.

One small or regular serving of french fries is around 230 calories. Potatoes dressed with butter, margarine or cream are higher in energy. Similarly, rice fried or cooked in the chicken rice or nasi briyani style will be packed with extra energy. If the portions are doubled or if you consume these regularly, the excess calories will add up. If not used in physical activity, they will be converted and stored as fats in the body.

Q. What are the healthier methods of cooking rice and potatoes?

A. Healthier methods of cooking rice and potatoes include steaming, boiling, baking or microwaving.

For a healthier version of mashed potato, you can replace some fats (cream/butter/ margarine) with skimmed or low-fat milk. This will maintain the soft texture while adding more calcium.

Source: OutramNow, with expert input from the Department of Dietetics at Singapore General Hospital (SGH)

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