is sweet potato good for diabetes
Nutrition
Medically Reviewed iconMedically Reviewedcevron icon

Is Sweet Potato Good for Diabetes?

Sweet potato is considered one of the most nutritious vegetables you can get out there. If eaten in moderation, sweet potato can be highly beneficial for you. It could help you manage diabetes and control glucose levels because of its high fibre content. Can diabetics eat sweet potatoes? You can eat sweet potatoes daily even if you have diabetes. Sweet potato is also good to taste. This vegetable is filled not only with nutrients but also medicinal benefits.

Nutritional value of sweet potato

Sweet potato is  high in fibre and rich in antioxidants (beta carotene) and helps in increasing Vitamin A levels.

100 grams of Sweet Potato contains-

  • Water: 77%
  • Fat: 0.1grams
  • Fibre: 3 grams
  • Sugar: 4.2 grams
  • Carbs: 20.1 grams
  • Proteins: 1.6 grams 
  • Calories: 86

Sweet potato also contains

  • Vitamin C
  • Potassium
  • Manganese
  • Vitamin B6
  • Vitamin B5
  • Vitamin E
  • Chlorogenic Acid
  • Anthocyanins

With carbohydrates comprising 37 grams per 100 grams of this vegetable, it is the most significant nutrient with 5 grams of natural sugar and 4 grams fibre. A big baked sweet potato will provide you with around 3.6 grams of protein. So, can diabetics eat sweet potatoes? Going by these nutritional facts, the answer would be yes.

Also read about are grapes good for diabetes

Different Varieties of Sweet Potato

The several varieties of sweet potatoes include:

  • Beauregard: This is the most common type of sweet potato that you might get in the market.
  • Jewel: The colour of this sweet potato is copper skin and has light-coloured orange flesh.
  • Red garnet: This sweet potato has reddish-orange skin and a more savory taste, but the sweetness is the least in this variety.
  • Covington: This variety has orange skin with dark brown spots and malty sweetness.
  • Centennial: This variety of sweet potatoes has a copper-orange skin.
  • Hernandez: This variety has moist orange flesh and is sweeter than Beauregards.
  • O’Henry: This sweet potato is tan skin-coloured and has a sweet taste. It has a firm, dense, and creamy texture.
  • Jersey: This sweet potato is tan skin-coloured, has white flesh, and is moderately sweet. It has a dry texture and can maintain its shape while getting fried.
  • Japanese white: This sweet potato has dark purple skin and creamy yellow flesh; the colour of this variety tends to get deeper when cooked. They are starchy, moist, dense, and sweet. 

How do Sweet Potatoes affect Blood Sugar?

Eating in moderation is the key when you have diabetes. This vegetable is high in fibre, antioxidants and minerals. Because sweet potatoes have high carbohydrates, they have the potential to spike your sugar levels to new heights. The fibre of this vegetable helps in slowing down this process. A high GI containing sweet potato, like Orange sweet potato, should be avoided or eaten in minimum quantities because these can boost your sugar levels compared to any other variety. So, is sweet potato good for diabetes? Yes, it is, provided that you plan a proper diet. Read more to know about diet for diabetes.

Also read about which is the best sugar free options are there for you if you have diabetes

Book a Free Session

Benefits to eating Sweet Potatoes with Diabetes

For diabetic people who often wonder is sweet potato good for diabetes type 2, let us tell you that it is exceptionally beneficial for type 2 diabetic people because of its low glycemic index value when compared to white potatoes. Let's take a look at some of the top health benefits of sweet potatoes for diabetic people:

  • The pigment beta-carotene that is present in sweet potatoes is responsible for this root vegetable's distinctively vivid orange colour. It is full of vitamin A, and this helps in promoting good eye health in diabetic people.
  • Sweet potatoes have a glycemic index of about 54, which makes them a perfect alternative to normal white potatoes. These help in stabilizing the blood sugar level and increase the cell’s insulin resistance. Hence, sweet potato and diabetes get a nod from the doctors. 
  • Sweet potatoes boost immunity because they are rich in vitamin C.
  • The high fibre and protein content of sweet potatoes help in keeping diabetic people feeling full for a long time, by this they contribute to weight management.
  • Sweet potatoes are also known to be rich in iron which aids in the production of oxygen by red blood cells and the distribution of nutrients throughout the body.

Risks to eating Sweet Potatoes with Diabetes

Is sweet potato good for diabetic patients? For people with diabetes, the variety of sweet potato makes little difference in how safe it is to consume. People with diabetes should limit this vegetable. Sweet potatoes should always be eaten in moderation; otherwise, they may harm your health. Sweet potatoes have many carbohydrates in them, which increases blood sugar levels and may harm your health.

Ways to eat sweet potatoes

Meal planning is an integral part of a diabetic person’s life. They have to watch out for the amount of carbohydrates they are consuming through various food items to avoid spiking blood sugar. Having said that, sweet potato is good for diabetes, provided that it is consumed in a limited amount. Whether it is per meal or snack, keep servings to no more than half a sweet potato. Let’s take a look at 5 tasty ways to include this in your diet.

1. Add to your soup: To give your soup a creamy texture, add sweet potato to it. Boil together lentils, veggies like carrots, cabbage, spices, herbs, and sweet potato. This soup is very high in nutrients and will keep you full for a long time.

2. Add to smoothie: A delicious way to consume sweet potato is to make it into a smoothie. Yes, you can add cooked sweet potato, banana, yogurt, and a pinch of cinnamon powder and blend it. This is best enjoyed when chilled.

3. Add fruit and nut butter on top:  This on-the-go snack is a great choice for breakfast. Bake the sweet potato, allow it cool, then layer it with peanut butter, and a few slices of strawberries, grapes, or any other fruit of your choice.

4. Sweet potato as a cracker: Another innovative way to consume sweet potato is to first slice the sweet potato, and toast it nicely. This acts like a cracker base, and then add high-protein toppings like scrambled eggs, or paneer bhurji.

5. Sweet potato salad: If you are looking for a low calories option, then sweet potato salad should be your go-to. Simply cut the baked sweet potato into cubes, and add diced tomatoes, onions, cucumber, and lettuce. Sprinkle salt, pepper, herbs, squeeze half the lemon, and mix it well. You can also add roasted flax seeds to it.

How Much and How Frequently to Consume Sweet Potato

Sweet potato for diabetes has been known to be very beneficial, but it is also crucial to balance it in your diet because it is a rich source of carbohydrates. According to experts, the serving size should be no more than half a cup, since half a cup of sweet potato has 15 gms of carbohydrates in it. However, as recommendations differ from person to person, consult your doctor or nutritionist to determine the optimal portion for you. Include sweet potato twice or three a week to enjoy its benefits to the maximum.

Risks of Overconsumption of Sweet Potato

In general, sweet potatoes are packed with fibre, and antioxidants. Owing to their lower GI value, sweet potato benefits for diabetes when consumed in a controlled manner. However, there are certain risks involved when overconsumed. Let’s take a look.

  • This root vegetable contains a lot of oxalate, its overconsumption may lead to the formation of stones in the kidney and gallbladder. It’s recommended to meet a dietician to understand the right consumption amount.
  • Sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin A, and their overconsumption may cause Vitamin A toxicity, which is characterized by symptoms like extreme headaches and skin rashes.
  • You will be giving your body too much potassium if you over consume sweet potatoes, which can disrupt your heart rhythm and increase your risk of heart attack or hyperkalemia.

Other Health Benefits of Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes have earned their name as a superfood because of how many nutrients and benefits it has in general. Studies show that they:

  • Can prevent cancer: Sweet potatoes have carotenoids which may reduce your risk of developing cancer. Another natural substance called anthocyanin, which is abundant in purple sweet potatoes, may reduce your risk of developing colorectal cancer.
  • Lower bad cholesterol: Research shows that regular, controlled consumption of sweet potatoes lowers the low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which is often referred to as “bad” cholesterol, thus reducing the associated heart problems.
  • Aid weight loss: Purple sweet potatoes may help you lose weight by reducing inflammation in your body and preventing the growth of fat cells.

Reduce aging of the retina: Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A, which help reduce your risk of developing glaucoma, the most common cause of visual loss. Also know more about diabetes diet chart.

Bottomline

Can diabetic patients eat sweet potatoes? Starchy food items like potatoes are usually not recommended for people who have diabetes. But sweet potatoes are often used to treat heart diseases by lowering blood cholesterol levels. Sweet potato is filled with vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals and is considered a healthy diet for people with diabetes. They also help lower blood sugar levels because of the slow-release fibre and carbohydrates. Despite these advantages, having this "superfood" in moderation is recommended. 

FAQs

Sweet potato benefits for diabetes

Sweet potatoes are one of the most nutritious vegetables grown in different regions of the world. However, whether they would be suitable for people with illnesses and conditions like diabetes would be a question. The sweet potato diabetes relation would have to be explored at the individual level before beginning the consumption of this vegetable. There are several benefits associated with the consumption of sweet potatoes:

  • It is nutritious in Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Potassium, Fiber, Zinc, Magnesium, etc
  • While they are high in carbs, they have a low glycemic index. 
  • For a person with type 2 diabetes, sweet potatoes can be beneficial as they can help with insulin resistance and can also stabilize blood sugar levels.

Can diabetics eat sweet potato

How a particular food is consumed would be an important factor to consider for a person with diabetes. At times the carbs and overall glycemic index of food might change depending on how it is being eaten. Not enough studies have been conducted to check how the consumption of sweet potatoes might play a role in the overall blood sugar spike. However, the limited information available does suggest that sweet potatoes can be healthy when consumed in moderation. This vegetable is high in antioxidants and many vitamins. The sweet potato benefits for diabetes might help.

Are sweet potatoes good for diabetics type 2?

The higher levels of magnesium and fiber in sweet potatoes can make them a good addition to the diet chart of a person with type 2 diabetes. Owing to the high levels of magnesium and fiber in this vegetable, there is lesser insulin resistance, and higher stability regarding blood sugar levels is observed. These potatoes have a lower glycemic index and also contain more fiber than regular white potatoes.

Can sweet potato increase blood sugar?

Yes, sweet potatoes are known to increase blood sugars in the body. Therefore, to check “Is sweet potato good for diabetes?” you may have to look at it individually by checking your sugar levels before and after the consumption of this vegetable. The spike in the blood sugars often happens due to the high levels of carbs. However, this does not mean that you will have to completely restrict the consumption of this vegetable. You can choose to have it in moderate amounts limiting the frequency thus not witnessing a huge rise in the sugar levels. Boiling this vegetable would lower its glycemic index even more.

What's the Glycemic Index of sweet potato?

The sweet potato glycemic index is 54 – this falls in the medium range. What is even better is that the glycemic load of this vegetable is 11.3. The values are for ½ cup of sweet potatoes. Boiling these vegetables would help lower the GI even more. The more you boil it, the lower the GI falls. Therefore, try to consume sweet potatoes after spending a significant amount of time boiling them. Avoid having them in the fried form.

Is sweet potato good for diabetes?

When eaten in moderation, sweet potatoes can be good for diabetes. Is sweet potato good for diabetes, this is a common question. Certain properties can make them healthy and helpful like – high antioxidants, rich in vitamins, many minerals, etc. It can be safely included in the diet of a person with diabetes when it is paired with other high-fiber fruits to lower the overall glycemic load.

References

  • https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/sweet-potato-diabetes
  • https://www.everydayhealth.com/type-2-diabetes/diet/delicious-sweet-potato-recipes-diabetics/
  • https://www.everydayhealth.com/type-2-diabetes/diet/top-health-benefits-sweet-potatoes-diabetics/

Disclaimer

This website's content is provided only for educational reasons and is not meant to be a replacement for professional medical advice. Due to individual differences, the reader should contact their physician to decide whether the material is applicable to their case.