Sweet Potato Nutrition Facts

Calories in Sweet Potatoes and Their Health Benefits

Directly Above Shot Of Roasted Sweet Potatoes Served In Bowl
Julia Murray / EyeEm/Getty

Although sweet potatoes also belong to the tuber family, they are different than white potatoes, both nutritionally and in appearance. Sweet potatoes are sweeter than yams but they can be used interchangeably.

Sweet potatoes come in two varieties: one that has a dry mealy texture (known as the bonaito), white or Cuban sweet potato, and another that has a darker orange and moister flesh and is higher in sugar.

This type is known as a red sweet potato. Both varieties have thick skins that range in color, from light tan to brownish red.

Sweet potatoes are very nutritious, packing in multiple vitamins and minerals. They are also rich in carbohydrates. Therefore, if you are looking to monitor your carbohydrate intake, it is a good idea to be able to accurately count the carbohydrates in sweet potatoes.

You can fill your craving for sweet potatoes whenever you'd like because sweet potatoes are available for purchase all year long.

Sweet Potato Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 medium (2" dia, 5" long, raw) (130 g)
Per Serving% Daily Value*
Calories 112 
Calories from Fat 2 
Total Fat 0.1g0%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g 
Monounsaturated Fat 0g 
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 72mg2%
Potassium 438mg9%
Carbohydrates 26.2g10%
Dietary Fiber 3.9g15%
Sugars 5,4g 
Protein 2g 
Vitamin A 102% · Vitamin C 4%
Calcium 0% · Iron 10%

*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

One medium sweet potato contains 112 calories and 26 grams of carbohydrate (equivalent to almost two slices of bread). Sweet potatoes are also rich in fiber, racking in about 15 percent in one medium sized.

Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes 

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of the plant form of vitamin A.

In fact, one medium sweet potato racks in more than a day's worth of vitamin A. Vitamin A is an essential fat soluble vitamin that is critical in maintaining eye health and is essential for immune function. Vitamin A is also important in cell development.

Sweet potatoes are also a good source of  vitamin C, manganese, as well as vitamin B6 and potassium, and a good source of copper and fiber. They are also an excellent source of antioxidants, which may help protect our cells from damage. The phytonutrients in sweet potatoes also have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Common Questions About Sweet Potatoes: 

How many calories are in sweet potato fries?

Sweet potato fries contain about the same amount of calories as white potato French fries. The difference is that sweet potatoes contain more vitamin A than white potatoes and they have a lower glycemic index, which means they are likely to raise blood sugars at a slower rate. 

How many calories are in a yam?

One cup of raw yams contains about 158 calories, whereas 1 cup of raw sweet potatoes contains about 114 calories. Therefore, yams contain about 44 more calories than sweet potatoes for an equal portion.

Picking and Storing Sweet Potatoes

Choose potatoes that are heavy and firm with clean skin and few eyes.

 Avoid potatoes that have sprouts, soft spots, cracks, or cut edges.

Do not store potatoes in the refrigerator. Instead, store them in a dark place between 50-65 degrees Fahrenheit. Most potatoes will last about a month this way, some longer. Do not wash potatoes until they are ready to be used.

Canned sweet potatoes are available and typically are in a spiced or sugary sauce. This type of sweet potato is not the best choice as it is high in sugar and calories.

Healthy Ways to Prepare Sweet Potatoes 

Add sweet potatoes to your meal plan for a vitamin and fiber rich, gluten-free natural source of carbohydrates.

 Sweet potatoes can be boiled, baked, roasted, grilled, whipped, pureed, and less ideally fried. They can serve as a side dish or be tossed into salads, chili, protein-packed muffins, and breads. Make them spicy or slightly sweet by using cinnamon and nutmeg to flavor them.

Recipes With Sweet Potatoes 

Try using sweet potatoes for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They are an easy, inexpensive and versatile ingredient that can be incorporated into a health meal plan.

Sources: 

Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrients for Health.http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/sites/lpi.oregonstate.edu/files/pdf/mic/micronutrients_for_health.pdf

Labensky, SR, Hause, AM. On Cooking: A textbook of Culinary Fundamentals. 3rd ed. Upper Sadle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003: 687-689.

Continue Reading