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Tomato vs Potato - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Razmik Sargsyan by Razmik Sargsyan | Last updated on September 09, 2021
Education: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Tomato
vs
Potato

Summary

Potatoes contain drastically more vitamins, especially the B group, while tomatoes are rich in vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin K which potatoes lack.

Tomatoes contain fewer calories and carbohydrates. On the other hand, potatoes are rich in micronutrients such as calcium and potassium. Also, potatoes are richer in fiber by about 40%.

Introduction

Tomatoes and potatoes came to Europe from South America. These crops were widely cultivated, and there are numerous varieties of both. The tomato and potato are also from the same genus.

Having so many similarities, they differ in their nutritional content, which we are going to discuss in-depth in this article.

Classification

Tomato and potato belong to the genus Solanum, but their scientific names differ. Tomato is scientifically called Solanum lycopersicum, and potato is Solanum tuberosum.

Appearance

While having much in common, potatoes and tomatoes differ by appearance, including color, texture, and even the plant itself. The most popular potato variety is yellowish with a rugged texture, while the most common type of tomato is red with a soft texture.

Taste and Use

Potatoes and tomatoes also differ in their taste. While raw potatoes have a bitter taste, raw tomatoes are sweet. Both plants have many uses, but tomato is used raw in salads, while potatoes are usually boiled.

Potatoes are also used as a separate dish as mashed or fried potatoes, while tomatoes are typically considered as an addition to dishes like salads or soups.

Growing Conditions

Tomatoes and potatoes also require different growing conditions. While tomatoes grow better in slightly acidic soils, potatoes require higher acidity levels.

Moreover, potatoes usually grow in fall or winter and, in southern regions, in spring as well, whereas tomatoes grow during late spring and early summer. Nevertheless, with current advances in plant growth techniques and greenhouses, it is possible to grow plants all year long, imitating the required conditions.

Varieties

When it comes to varieties, it should be noted that there are dozens of varieties of both potatoes and tomatoes, and all differ in their taste and use.

In the case of potatoes, the most common ones are the russet, red, yellow, white, purple, fingerling, and petite potatoes.

The tomato varieties include cherry, cocktail, beefsteak, roma, celebrity, early girl, and grape tomatoes.

Nutrition

Like most vegetables, both tomatoes and potatoes are dense in water, but tomatoes are slightly richer with 94.5%.

Their nutritional benefits have been well known for centuries; however, we will discuss them more in-depth below.

Calories

The ultimate winner in the calorie competition is the tomato, which contains about 4 times fewer calories than potatoes, with 18kcal per 100g.

Nevertheless, both tomatoes and potatoes are considered foods low in calories.

Protein and Fats

In the case of proteins, tomato contains the least amount, about 0.88g per 100g. Potato contains two times fewer fats than tomato, about 0.09g per 100g.

Carbohydrates

When talking about carbohydrates, potato contains about 17.5g per 100g, and tomato contains 4 times less, about 3.89g per 100g, making it a better option if you're on a low-carb diet.

Tomatoes contain no sucrose; their sugar content is made up of glucose and fructose. While potatoes contain lower levels of glucose and fructose, they also contain sucrose.

Vitamins

Tomatoes and potatoes are foods with relatively vast amounts of vitamins, mainly the B group. While tomatoes contain drastically more vitamin A and vitamin K, they lack the B group vitamins, except for folate or vitamin B9.

Both of these foods do not contain vitamin D and vitamin B12. However, they contain vitamin C, which is higher in potatoes.

Have a look at the vitamin comparison chart below.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Tomato
3
:
6
Potato
Contains more Vitamin A +41550%
Contains more Vitamin E +5300%
Contains more Vitamin K +295%
Contains more Vitamin C +43.8%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +118.9%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +68.4%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +78.6%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +231.5%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +272.5%
Equal in Folate - 15
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 50% 11% 0% 46% 10% 5% 12% 6% 19% 12% 0% 20%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Vitamin K 1% 1% 0% 66% 21% 8% 20% 18% 69% 12% 0% 5%
Contains more Vitamin A +41550%
Contains more Vitamin E +5300%
Contains more Vitamin K +295%
Contains more Vitamin C +43.8%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +118.9%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +68.4%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +78.6%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +231.5%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +272.5%
Equal in Folate - 15

Minerals

Potatoes are the ultimate winners in the contest of mineral comparison.

Potatoes are richer in iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and phosphorus, while tomatoes contain less sodium.

Below, you can find the visual comparison that shows the mineral difference.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
Tomato
1
:
7
Potato
Contains less Sodium -16.7%
Contains more Calcium +20%
Contains more Iron +200%
Contains more Magnesium +109.1%
Contains more Phosphorus +137.5%
Contains more Potassium +79.3%
Contains more Zinc +76.5%
Contains more Copper +86.4%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 3% 11% 8% 11% 21% 1% 5% 20%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper 4% 31% 17% 25% 38% 1% 9% 37%
Contains less Sodium -16.7%
Contains more Calcium +20%
Contains more Iron +200%
Contains more Magnesium +109.1%
Contains more Phosphorus +137.5%
Contains more Potassium +79.3%
Contains more Zinc +76.5%
Contains more Copper +86.4%

Glycemic Index

When it comes to the glycemic index, tomatoes win hands down. The glycemic index of tomatoes is 23, making it a low glycemic index food. That said, the glycemic index value of potatoes is 86 - nearly four times higher.

Acidity

Tomatoes are usually considered acidic foods with a pH value of around 4.6, while potatoes are likely to be less acidic with a pH of around 5.7. These values may vary based on the certain food type, making them slightly more or less acidic.

However, when looking at the PRAL values (potential renal acid load) of both foods, they are likely to be more alkaline-forming. The PRAL of tomatoes is estimated to be -4.1, while the PRAL of potatoes is -6.6, making it a more alkaline-producing food than tomato.

Weight Loss

As it is well-known, vegetables are good options for weight loss due to their high water content and low calories. Like many others, potatoes and tomatoes can also be good options to consider.

Tomatoes are relatively denser in water, containing fewer carbohydrates, making it an excellent option to consider for a low-carb diet.

On the other hand, potatoes are not such a good option for weight loss due to their high glycemic index value and relatively high amounts of carbohydrates and calories.

Health Impact

Cardiovascular health

In one study performed in 2017, different kinds of vegetables were compared to affect cardiovascular diseases. Researchers found that even though the GI of potatoes is high, they can play a role in preventing cardiovascular disease in general. The study also found that a potato-rich diet may increase antioxidant potential.

Regarding tomatoes, researchers state that they contain a bioactive component called lycopene, which exhibits high antioxidant, anti-hypertensive, hypolipidemic activities. Another compound found in tomatoes, sapogenol, demonstrates anti-atherogenic activity, which leads to a cardioprotective effect. Moreover, tomatoes contain more carotenoids than potatoes, making them rich in antioxidant capacity (1).

Diabetes

One study involving individuals with type 2 diabetes shows clear evidence that tomato consumption can positively affect such health conditions. Studies show that tomato consumption lowers blood pressure, increases apolipoprotein-A levels, and has no adverse effects on individuals with type 2 diabetes (3). Apolipoprotein-A is a major component of HDL ("good cholesterol") particles and has an anti-clotting effect. Its levels are crucial for heart disease monitoring.

Cancer

While it is not quite definite that tomatoes and potatoes can prevent cancer development, research shows such an effect. It is still unclear whether it is connected to a certain compound or a synergism between some biologically active components. Both tomatoes and potatoes contain compounds called glycoalkaloids, which play a role in preventing different types of cancer. On the other hand, cancer is a complex system consisting of different stages and mechanisms, so more in-depth studies are required. In general, we can say that both foods have positive effects on reducing cancer risk (4).

Another study investigated the effects of tomatoes on preventing cancer development and found that tomatoes contain a unique compound called lycopene, which demonstrates anticancer activity and anti-inflammatory effects. However, it is proven that the compound alone is less effective than consuming whole tomatoes. The difficulty is connected to the fact that tomatoes contain various carotenoids, which can be effective antioxidants (5).

Downsides and Risks

Diabetes

Despite having so many positive effects, potatoes, especially french fries, can lead to the development of type 2 diabetes. Researchers state that those individuals whose daily potato consumption was greater than 283 g/day were 42% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who consumed less than 132 g/day. Thus, potatoes should be consumed carefully (2).

In the case of tomatoes, no such evidence has been described yet.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5579650/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4764041/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21138408/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25821990/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3850026/
Article author photo Razmik Sargsyan
Education: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Last updated: September 09, 2021

Infographic

Tomato vs Potato infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Tomato Potato
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Tomato Potato Opinion
Net carbs 2.69g 15.39g Potato
Protein 0.88g 2.05g Potato
Fats 0.2g 0.09g Tomato
Carbs 3.89g 17.49g Potato
Calories 18kcal 77kcal Potato
Starch 0g 15.29g Potato
Fructose 1.37g 0.26g Tomato
Sugar 2.63g 0.82g Potato
Fiber 1.2g 2.1g Potato
Calcium 10mg 12mg Potato
Iron 0.27mg 0.81mg Potato
Magnesium 11mg 23mg Potato
Phosphorus 24mg 57mg Potato
Potassium 237mg 425mg Potato
Sodium 5mg 6mg Tomato
Zinc 0.17mg 0.3mg Potato
Copper 0.059mg 0.11mg Potato
Vitamin A 833IU 2IU Tomato
Vitamin E 0.54mg 0.01mg Tomato
Vitamin D 0IU 0IU
Vitamin D 0µg 0µg
Vitamin C 13.7mg 19.7mg Potato
Vitamin B1 0.037mg 0.081mg Potato
Vitamin B2 0.019mg 0.032mg Potato
Vitamin B3 0.594mg 1.061mg Potato
Vitamin B5 0.089mg 0.295mg Potato
Vitamin B6 0.08mg 0.298mg Potato
Folate 15µg 15µg
Vitamin B12 0µg 0µg
Vitamin K 7.9µg 2µg Tomato
Tryptophan 0.006mg 0.021mg Potato
Threonine 0.027mg 0.067mg Potato
Isoleucine 0.018mg 0.066mg Potato
Leucine 0.025mg 0.098mg Potato
Lysine 0.027mg 0.107mg Potato
Methionine 0.006mg 0.032mg Potato
Phenylalanine 0.027mg 0.081mg Potato
Valine 0.018mg 0.103mg Potato
Histidine 0.014mg 0.035mg Potato
Cholesterol 0mg 0mg
Trans Fat 0g 0g
Saturated Fat 0.028g 0.025g Potato
Monounsaturated Fat 0.031g 0.002g Tomato
Polyunsaturated fat 0.083g 0.042g Tomato

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Tomato Potato
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
16
Tomato
18
Potato
Mineral Summary Score
10
Tomato
20
Potato

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
5%
Tomato
12%
Potato
Carbohydrates
4%
Tomato
17%
Potato
Fats
1%
Tomato
0%
Potato

Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sodium?
Tomato
Tomato contains less Sodium (difference - 1mg)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Tomato
Tomato is lower in glycemic index (difference - 63)
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Potato
Potato is lower in Sugar (difference - 1.81g)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Potato
Potato is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.003g)
Which food is cheaper?
Potato
Potato is cheaper (difference - $0.2)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Potato
Potato is relatively richer in minerals
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Tomato - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170457/nutrients
  2. Potato - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170026/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.