Carrots vs Sweet Potatoes: (Nutrition + Health Comparison)


While they look completely different, carrots and sweet potatoes are actually fairly similar when it comes to nutritional value.

Not only can they both provide a nice splash of orange to most meals, they also have a decent amount of vitamins and minerals like vitamin A and potassium.

This is a quick comparison of carrots and potatoes so we can look at the similarities and differences they have.

Nutritional Value Comparison of Carrots and Sweet Potatoes

The table below shows the macro profiles for both root vegetables.

Note that all data on this page is per 100 grams of cooked food (since you can’t really eat potatoes raw). The nutritional data of raw and cooked carrots doesn’t actually change much in case you were wondering.

  Carrots Sweet Potatoes
Energy (kcal) 35 90
Protein (g) 0.8 2.0
Total Lipid (g) 0.2 0.2
Carbohydrate (g) 8.2 20.7
Fiber (g) 3.0 3.3
Sugars (g) 3.5 6.5

It’s clear that sweet potatoes are more calorie dense. In a 100 gram serving, sweet potatoes have about:

  • 2.5 times more calories, protein, and carbohydrates
  • Twice as much sugar
  • The same amount of fiber as carrots

Someone who struggles to eat enough should lean towards eating more sweet potatoes, while someone trying to restrict calories to lose weight may benefit from eating carrots instead.

Vitamins and Minerals in Carrots vs Sweet Potatoes

Next we can look at the vitamins and minerals in both these foods.

I’ve also included a column for a general RDA (recommended daily allowance). The actual number for you may depend on age or gender, but this is a good reference value we can use to sort and compare nutritional data.

  RDA Carrots (cooked) Sweet Potatoes
Vitamin A (µg) 900 852.0 961.0
Potassium (mg) 2000 235.0 475.0
Manganese (mg) 2.3 0.2 0.5
Vitamin C (mg) 90 3.6 19.6
Vitamin B-6 (mg) 1.3 0.2 0.3
Vitamin K (µg) 75 13.7 2.3
Thiamin (mg) 1.2 0.1 0.1
Niacin (mg) 16 0.6 1.5
Phosphorus (mg) 700 30.0 54.0
Riboflavin (mg) 1.3 0.0 0.1
Magnesium (mg) 400 10.0 27.0
Vitamin E (mg) 15 1.0 0.7
Iron (mg) 18 0.3 0.7
Sodium (mg) 1500 58.0 36.0
Folate (µg) 400 14.0 6.0
Calcium (mg) 1200 30.0 38.0
Zinc (mg) 11 0.2 0.3
Choline (mg) 550 8.8 13.1
Selenium (µg) 55 0.7 0.2
Copper (mg) 900 0.0 0.2
Vitamin B-12 (µg) 2.4 0.0 0.0
Vitamin D (µg) 15 0.0 0.0

Both sweet potatoes and carrots have a ton of vitamin A, they basically meet the RDA in a single 100 gram serving.

While carrots have more vitamin K, sweet potatoes have a stronger overall nutrient profile, with significantly more:

  • Potassium
  • Manganese
  • Vitamin C
  • Niacin
  • Riboflavin
  • Magnesium

To be fair, I should point out that if you ate a similar amount of calories for both foodsthe strength of each profile is fairly even.

Carrots vs Sweet Potatoes: Which is Healthier?

Both carrots and sweet potatoes are healthy vegetables with a ton of vitamin A and potassium.

Which one is healthier for someone depends on what they need in their diet.

  • Sweet potatoes are more calorie and nutrient dense, so they’re ideal for people trying to maintain or gain weight.
  • Carrots have fewer calories and nutrients per serving than sweet potatoes, so they’re better if someone is trying to lose weight.

In addition, there are a few other compounds, mainly antioxidants, in both these foods that may come with other health benefits.

Health Benefits of Carrots

Carrots have a high amount of carotenoids, which are a certain type of antioxidant that can have positive effects on health.

Research shows that carotenoids may help protect against certain cancers, heart disease, and also improve immune function.

In addition, carrots contain a relatively high amount of other antioxidants like:

  • Beta carotene
  • Alpha carotene
  • Lutein
  • Lycopene
  • Polyacetylenes

All of these together help explain why carrot consumption has been linked to lower cholesterol and less risk of eye conditions like night blindness.

Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes also contain a relatively high amount of antioxidants, including:

  • Beta carotene
  • Chlorogenic acid
  • Anthocyanins (mainly in purple sweet potatoes)

While they’re hard to find in many countries, purple sweet potatoes have the highest amounts of antioxidants among sweet potato varieties.

Can Carrots or Sweet Potatoes Be Unhealthy?

Carrot allergies are less rare than you might think.

This is because the proteins in carrots can be mistaken as the proteins in pollenResearch has shown that those with sensitivities to birch or mugwort pollen may also have an allergic reaction to carrots. In most cases, this results in a tingling sensation in the mouth, but can also cause the throat to swell.

On the other hand, sweet potatoes may increase the risk for kidney stones, as they are high in oxalates. Most people don’t need to worry about oxalates, but those with a past history of kidney issues may have to, as directed by their physician.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.