Sweet potatoes are a staple in diets all across the world. They are wonderfully versatile, packed full of health benefits, and they’re incredibly delicious!
From fries to pies and everything in between, the humble sweet potato can do it all.
But, are sweet potatoes low carb and keto-friendly?
To find out, take a look at the ultimate guide below. We’ve included everything you need to know so that you can make the most informed dietary decisions possible. Check it out.
About Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are root vegetables that have a sweet and starchy nature. They are grown all across the world and come in a variety of sizes and colors. They can be white and purple, but they are most commonly orange.
Sweet potatoes are a staple in many different cuisines thanks to their versatility. You can cook sweet potatoes using pretty much any cooking method, from roasting them to turning them into pastries.
Sweet Potato Nutrition Profile
Sweet potatoes boast a wide range of nutritional benefits. They are a great source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Take a look at the table below to learn more about the specific nutritional profile of 200g of baked sweet potatoes.
|Vitamin A||769% of Daily Value|
|Vitamin C||65% of Daily Value|
|Vitamin B6||29% of Daily Value|
|Potassium||27% of Daily Value|
|Pantothenic Acid||18% of Daily Value|
|Manganese||50% of Daily Value|
|Copper||16% of Daily Value|
|Niacin||15% of Daily Value|
It is important to remember that the nutritional profile of sweet potato that has been cooked using other methods will differ slightly.
We recommend cooking methods such as baking or boiling to ensure that they remain as nutritionally beneficial as possible.
Health Benefits Of Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes boast a huge range of health benefits. Check out some of the most important ones below.
Promotes Gut Health
Sweet potatoes have a lot of fiber and antioxidants. These are potentially very beneficial for your gut health. In fact, diets that are rich in fiber have been linked to a much lower risk of colon cancer.
Additionally, test-tube studies have concluded that some of the antioxidants found in purple sweet potatoes help to promote the growth of good gut bacteria, such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus.
Reduce Risk Of Cancer
As previously mentioned, sweet potatoes are rich in various types of antioxidants. These may help to protect you from some types of cancer.
For instance, anthocyanins have been found to reduce the growth of some cancer cells.
Additionally, in a study that was based on mice, they found that diets that were rich in purple sweet potatoes helped to prevent colon cancer. This suggests that some antioxidants may also have a protective effect.
Promotes Good Vision
Sweet potatoes are very rich in an antioxidant called beta-carotene. This is actually the antioxidant that is responsible for the vegetable’s orange color.
When digested, beta-carotene becomes vitamin A, which helps to form light-detecting receptors in the eyes.
Other types of sweet potatoes, such as purple sweet potatoes, also seem to have benefits for vision.
The antioxidants present in these potatoes have been found to potentially protect eye cells from damage, which is great for overall eye health.
Increase Brain Function
Some studies have found that eating purple sweet potatoes may actually improve brain function.
Specifically, using animal studies, scientists have concluded that anthocyanins reduce inflammation and prevent free radical damage, which protects the brain.
Additionally, the same antioxidant has been shown to improve learning and memory in mice.
Whilst more studies need to be done, particularly on humans, animal studies exploring this area have provided some very promising results.
Strengthen Immune System
Finally, it has been found that consuming sweet potatoes may work to strengthen the immune system. This is due to the presence of beta-carotene which turns into vitamin A when digested.
Vitamin A is very important when it comes to maintaining a healthy immune system. It has been linked to reduced immunity and low blood levels. It is also very important for maintaining a healthy lining in your gut.
It is worth mentioning that no studies have looked into whether eating sweet potatoes, in particular, helps with immunity. However, eating them regularly has been proven to prevent a vitamin A deficiency, which will benefit the immune system.
GI Of Sweet Potato
Glycemic Index is a number that tells you how fast your blood sugar will rise after eating a certain food. Generally speaking, food is categorized into one of three groups: low GI, medium GI, or high GI.
The GI of a food will be a number between 1 and 100. When boiled, it has a GI of around 63 (plus or minus 6). This places them in the medium GI category.
Are Sweet Potatoes Keto-Friendly?
As discussed above, sweet potatoes are dense in many beneficial nutrients and antioxidants. However, unfortunately, they are also high in carbohydrates.
In fact, in ⅔ of a sweet potato, there is almost a keto-dieters daily allowance of carbohydrates.
As such, it would be very difficult for someone following the keto diet to incorporate sweet potato in their diet. Additionally, sweet potatoes are very starchy, and starchy foods aren’t generally allowed on a low-carb or keto diet.
If you’re not following a super strict low-carb or keto diet, then you may be able to incorporate small amounts of sweet potato into your diet. However, you should proceed with caution because your blood sugar may rise.
Keto-Friendly Sweet Potato Substitutes
If you are following a strict keto diet, don’t worry! There are a number of keto-friendly substitutes out there! Check out our favorites below.
Cauliflower has just 2g of carbs per 100g. It is an excellent replacement for potatoes due to its versatility. It can be used to make cauliflower mash and rice. It can also be used to make low-carb pizza bases!
Zucchini has just 2g of carbs and it is very good for you. It can be used to imitate a huge range of high-carb foods, from pasta to chips. As such, it makes for an excellent sweet potato substitute.
3. Celery Root
This is often an overlooked vegetable. However, it is super versatile, has a lot of health benefits, and can be used to make chips! It has around 7g of carbs per 100g, making it a much more keto-friendly option than potato.
Rutabaga is essentially the lovechild of a cabbage and a turnip. They have around 5g of carbs per 100g, and they are an excellent replacement for potatoes. They work well in soups, stews, and a whole load of side dishes.
There are around 4g of carbs in 100g of turnip. This makes turnip a great substitute for potatoes. They can be boiled, baked, steamed, or even mashed. The texture of turnips is quite similar to that of potatoes.
Daikon is a large kind of radish. It is a staple food in many Asain cuisines. IT has just 2g of carbs per 100g, and it takes on potato-like qualities when it is cooked. However, it is also delicious when raw or pickled.
Finally, if you’ve never heard of kohlrabi, you are missing out! It is a bit of an odd-looking vegetable, but it is absolutely delicious. It has a very delicate flavor that works beautifully when you boil or fry it. And, it has just 2g of carbs per 100g!
Following a keto diet can be hard, especially when some of your favorite foods are eliminated!
We hope that this article has helped you understand why sweet potatoes are not keto-friendly and has inspired you to use some awesome alternatives!