Nutritional Difference Between Baby Spinach & Spinach
By Brian Willett
, last updated March 19, 2012
If you're looking for a low-carbohydrate vegetable, choosing spinach can be a wise option. However, the choice isn't so simple, as there are multiple varieties of spinach available. Among these are regular spinach and baby spinach, which are quite similar and have nearly identical nutritional profiles. Because of this, you may find that the two can be interchangeable in your diet.
Baby spinach and regular spinach have very similar calorie contents. One cup of regular spinach contains 7 calories, while a cup of baby spinach contains 10. Unless you consume very large quantities of these foods, the difference in calories is unlikely to affect your physique. It would take less than a minute of weightlifting to burn 3 calories.
Baby spinach and spinach are both very low in carbohydrates, as each contains just 1 gram of this nutrient in a cup. Your body uses carbohydrates as its primary energy source, so consuming either type of spinach is unlikely to help fuel endurance exercise. However, these foods can be suitable for low-carbohydrate diets, which research published in the July 2008 issue of "The New England Journal of Medicine" suggests can be more effective for weight loss than diets with more carbohydrates.
While regular spinach contains 1 gram of fiber per cup, baby spinach does not contain any. Fiber is essential for keeping your digestive tract healthy, and the nutrient also aids in the promotion of satiety and stable blood sugar levels. Women should consume 25 grams of fiber daily, while men should consume 38 grams.
If you want to increase your daily protein intake, neither spinach nor baby spinach offer an efficient means of doing so. Both provide just 1 gram of protein per cup, a relatively insignificant amount considering the National Institutes of Health's daily suggested intake of 50 to 65 grams.
Both baby spinach and regular spinach are fat-free. This helps keep the food low in calories, as fat is the most calorie-dense nutrient, providing 9 calories per gram.
Vitamins and Minerals
Baby spinach and regular spinach are both rich sources of vitamins and minerals. A cup of baby spinach contains 160 percent of the recommended dietary allowance of vitamin A based on a 2,000-calorie diet, 40 percent of the RDA for vitamin C, 15 percent of the RDA for iron and 8 percent of the RDA for calcium. Meanwhile, 1 cup of spinach contains 56 percent of the RDA for vitamin A, 14 percent of the RDA for vitamin C, 5 percent of the RDA for iron and 3 percent of the RDA for calcium.