Can Diabetics Eat Sweet Potatoes?
Can diabetics eat sweet potatoes?

Sweet potatoes can be enjoyed in many ways, including baked, roasted, mashed, or even in a smoothie. Who would have thought?

While they contain carbohydrates, they also provide fiber, vitamins, and minerals, so are sweet potatoes good for diabetics?

You may be surprised to learn that sweet potatoes are a healthy food choice for people with diabetes. Because sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber, they can help to regulate blood sugar levels.

They are also an excellent source of vitamins A and C and potassium and magnesium. These nutrients are essential for people with diabetes as they help control blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. This blog post will discuss the nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes in detail and provide some tips for incorporating them into your diet.

Nutritional Content of Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes with the scientific name Ipomoea batatas have many varieties that serve as healthy substitutes for white potatoes. Sweet potatoes have a higher fiber concentration and other nutrients, such as beta carotene than white potatoes.

They also have a lower glycemic load, which means it will only slightly impact a person's blood sugar levels. Similar to white potatoes, sweet potatoes have a high carbohydrate content. Despite this, diabetics can still enjoy these foods if they do so in moderation. 

There are several varieties of sweet potatoes, some of which have been demonstrated to be beneficial for individuals concerned about their blood sugar levels and weight. 

Sweet potatoes are rich in nutrients such as vitamin A in the form of beta carotene, vitamins C, B6, and K, protein, fiber, and folate. It is also a good source of minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. Sweet potatoes also have anti-diabetic qualities in addition to being nutrient-dense food.

Varieties of Sweet Potatoes

Can diabetics eat sweet potatoes?

Purple sweet potatoes

Lavender-colored sweet potatoes, both inside and out, are commonly known as purple sweet potatoes. They are also called Stokes Purple and Okinawan potatoes. 

In comparison to orange sweet potatoes, purple sweet potatoes are lower in GL. A specific nutrient called Anthocyanins is also found in purple sweet potatoes. 

Anthocyanins, a polyphenolic molecule, have been shown in trials to improve insulin resistance, which may reduce or prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes.  According to some studies, one-way anthocyanins function in the body is by reducing glucose digestion in the gut.

Orange sweet potatoes

The most prevalent form of sweet potato seen in supermarkets is the orange sweet potatoes. They have a reddish-brown covering and a bright orange pulp.  

According to several studies, boiling orange sweet potatoes appears to have a lower GI than baking or roasting them. Additionally, orange sweet potatoes offer more fiber than typical white potatoes. 

Japanese sweet potatoes

Even though they are purple on the outside and yellow on the inside, Japanese sweet potatoes are frequently referred to as "white sweet potatoes." It is also known as Satsuma Imo. Caiapo is a component of this sweet potato variety. 

Research indicated that Caiapo extracts dramatically lowered respondents' fasting and two-hour blood glucose levels compared to a placebo. Caiapo has been demonstrated to reduce cholesterol levels as well.

How to Choose the Best Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes come in all shapes and sizes, from the small, waxy sweet potatoes to the large, fluffy ones. Some have dark skin, while others are light-skinned. And they all have different flavors, from the sweet and earthy to the nutty and starchy.

So which sweet potato is the best? Well, that all depends on what you're looking for. If you want a sweet potato that's good for roasting, you'll choose one of the larger, fluffier varieties. But if you're looking for a sweet potato that's good for mashing or baking, you'll want to choose one of the smaller, waxy varieties.

No matter which sweet potato you choose, you're sure to end up with a delicious and nutritious dish. So go ahead and experiment with different varieties until you find your favorite!

How to Include Sweet Potatoes in Your Diet for a Nutritious Meal

One way to include sweet potatoes in your diet is to eat them as a side dish. Sweet potatoes can be boiled, baked, mashed, or grilled. You can also add sweet potatoes to stews and soups. Another way to include sweet potatoes in your diet is to make them into a main dish. 

For example, you can make sweet potato fries, sweet potato pie, or sweet potato casserole.

If you're looking for a nutritious and delicious way to include sweet potatoes in your diet, try one of these recipes:

  • Sweet Potato Fries: Cut sweet potatoes into fry shapes, coat with olive oil, and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius) for 25 minutes.
  • Sweet Potato Pie: Combine cooked sweet potatoes, milk, sugar, eggs, and spices, and pour into an unbaked pie crust. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius) for 50 minutes.
  • Sweet Potato Casserole: Combine cooked sweet potatoes, butter, sugar, eggs, and spices. Pour into a casserole dish and bake at 350 degrees (180 degrees Celsius) Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.

What is the effect of sweet potatoes on blood glucose? 

Can diabetics eat sweet potatoes?

Sweet potatoes can cause a surge in blood sugar levels due to their high carbohydrate content. However, its high fiber content aids in delaying this process. Also, the glycemic index of orange sweet potatoes is higher than other varieties. Therefore, it can raise your blood sugar levels faster than other types of sweet potato. 

Limit the quantity of sweet potatoes you consume and choose to boil or steam them rather than baking them regardless of the kind you select. When consumed in moderation, sweet potatoes of any variety are beneficial to one's health. It is safe to include in a diabetes-friendly diet because they contain a very high concentration of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

Key Takeaways

Sweet potatoes are a versatile and delicious food that can be part of a healthy diet for people with diabetes. While all types of sweet potatoes are nutritious, some varieties, such as Japanese sweet potatoes and purple sweet potatoes, may offer additional benefits for blood sugar control. 

So can diabetics eat sweet potatoes? The answer is yes! But, to make sure your blood sugar stays on track, it's essential to eat them in moderation and choose boiled over baked.