Tomato vs Potato - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison
Tomatoes and potatoes came to Europe from South America. Both tomato and potato were widely cultivated and there are vast varieties of both of them. The tomato and potato also are 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.
Tomato and potato belong to the genus Solanum, while their scientific names are different, tomato is Solanum lycopersicum, and potato is Solanum tuberosum.
Having so much in common potato and tomato differ by their appearance, including color, texture, and even the plant itself. The most popular type of potato type 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 too. While raw potatoes have a bitter taste, raw tomatoes are sweet. There are also a huge variety of uses of both plants, but while tomato is used raw in salads, potatoes usually appear to be boiled. Potatoes are also used as a separate dish as mashed or fried potatoes unless the tomatoes are more considered as an addition to some dishes like salads or soups. During decades of use, many cultures adopted their use and cultivars of both plants, which differ by their preparation technique or the plant itself.
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, in southern regions in spring too, unless the 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.
Talking about the varieties it should be noted that there are dozens of varieties of both potatoes and tomatoes, all the varieties 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 better boy tomato, big beef, big boy, celebrity, early girl, and grape tomatoes.
Being vegetables both tomatoes and potatoes are rich in water, but tomatoes are slightly richer with an amount of 94.5 g of water per 100 g. Their nutritional benefits are well known for centuries, more in-depth we will discuss below.
The ultimate winner in the calorie competition is the tomato, which contains about 4 times fewer calories than potatoes, with the amount of 18 kcal per 100g. Nevertheless, both tomatoes and potatoes are considered foods with low amounts of calories.
Protein and Fats
In the case of the proteins, tomato contains the least amount, about 0.88 g per 100 g, potato contains twice less fat than tomato does, about 0.09 g per 100g.
Talkin about the carbohydrates, potato contains about 17.5 g per 100 g, and tomato contains 4 times less, about 3.89 g per 100 g, which makes it an option to consider if you're trying the low carb diet.
Also while tomatoes contain no sucrose, and the sugars in the tomatoes are glucose and fructose, potatoes contain sucrose too, but in the case of the potato, the amounts of glucose and fructose are less than they are in the tomatoes.
Tomatoes and potatoes are foods with relatively vast amounts of vitamins, mainly the B group, but while tomatoes contain drastically more vitamin A and vitamin K, they lack the vitamin B group, specifically vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B3, Vitamin B4, Vitamin B5, and B6. Both of the foods do not contain Vitamin D, on the other hand, they contain Vitamin C, which is highest in potatoes.
Have a look at this comparison chart
Potatoes are the ultimate winners in the contest of mineral comparison, they are rich in iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and phosphorus, while tomatoes contain less sodium.
Below is the visual comparison that shows mineral difference
Regarding the glycemic index, it is notable to consider the tomatoes, their GI is less than 15 which is good food to consider for people with diabetes. Potatoes fall out in this contest, as its GI is about 4 times higher than in tomatoes.
Tomatoes are usually considered acid foods with a pH of around 4.6, while potatoes are more likely to be less acidic with a pH of around 5.7. These values may vary based on the type of certain food, making them slightly more or less acidic.
But it is notable that if we look at the PRAL (potential renal acid load) of both foods they are likely to be more alkaline. The PRAL of tomatoes is estimated to be from -5.13 to - 4.7, while the PRAL of potatoes is from -8.6 to -7.5 making it a more alkaline food than tomato.
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 are also good options to consider.
Tomatoes contain relatively high amounts of water together with low amounts of carbohydrates, which is a good option to consider for the low carb diet, unless the potatoes which are not so good option for weight loss in general, due to their high GI, relatively high amount of carbohydrates and calories.
In the study performed in 2017 different kinds of vegetables were compared to have any effect on cardiovascular diseases, researchers found that nevertheless, GI of the potatoes are quite high, they affect positively the preventing cardiovascular diseases in general, also researchers found that a potato rich diet may increase the antioxidant potential. Regarding tomatoes, researchers state that tomatoes contain a bioactive component called lycopene, which exhibits high antioxidant, anti-hypertensive, hypolipidemic activities. Another compound found in tomatoes, the sapogenol, demonstrates anti-atherogenic activity, which is considered to have a cardioprotective effect. Moreover, tomatoes contain higher carotenoids than potatoes, which makes food with rich antioxidant capacity(1).
Together with having so many positive sides, potatoes are considered foods that can positively affect the development of type 2 diabetes, especially large consumptions of french fries. Researchers state that those individuals whose daily potato consumption was greater than 283 g/day were 42 % more affected to develop type 2 diabetes than those whose daily consumption was lower than 132 g/day. Thus, being rich in micronutrients and vitamins, potatoes should be consumed carefully. (2). On the other hand, another study involving individuals with already developed type 2 diabetes and tomato consumption shows that there is clear evidence in affecting positively on such health conditions. Studies show that tomato consumption lowers the blood pressure level, increases the apolipoprotein-A(apolipoprotein-A is a major component of HDL particles, has an anti-clotting effect, also its levels are crucial for heart disease monitoring), has no negative effect on the health of individuals with type 2 diabetes(3).
While it is not quite definite to state that tomatoes and potatoes prevent the development of cancer, research shows such an effect which is still clear whether it is connected with a certain compound or a synergism between some biologically active components. Both tomatoes and potatoes contain compounds called glycoalkaloids which are stated to prevent different types of cancer, on the other hand, cancer itself is a complex system consisting of different stages and mechanisms, so more deep studies are required, but in general, both foods have positive effects on reducing cancer risk(4). Another study investigated the effects of tomatoes on preventing cancer development, authors state that tomatoes contain a unique compound called lycopene, which itself demonstrates anticancer activity and anti-inflammatory effect, but it is proven that the compound itself is less effective, rather than consumed in whole tomatoes. The difficulty is connected with the fact tomatoes contain various carotenoids which are considered effective antioxidants, and if we assume the whole tomato consumption it may be more effective(5).
Downsides and Risks
While the potato is rich in micronutrients and vitamins, the evidence between potato intake and diabetes development is clear, thus it is crucial to carefully track the potato intake. In the case of tomatoes, no such evidence is described yet.
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 18 kcal, carbs 3.89 g, on the other hand, potatoes are rich in micronutrients such as calcium 12 mg, potassium 425 mg. Also, potatoes are rich in fiber, about 2.1 g.
Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores
Comparison summary table
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in glycemic index|
|Lower in Sugar|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in price|
|Rich in minerals|
|Lower in Cholesterol||Equal|
|Rich in vitamins||Equal|
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Calories diet|
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet|
|Low glycemic index diet|
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All nutrients comparison - raw data values