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. As compared to white potatoes, sweet potatoes rank lower on the glycemic index chart, meaning they tend to raise blood sugar at a slower pace. They also contain less calories and carbohydrate and contain more vitamin A and fiber than white potatoes.

Sweet potatoes are chock-full of nutrients, 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.

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 270% · Vitamin C 25%
Calcium 2% · Iron 4%

*Based on a 2,000 calorie diet

One medium sweet potato contains about 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. It also contains nearly three times the daily recommended intake for vitamin A, racking in about 18,443 IU of vitamin A in one medium sized potato.

Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes 

Sweet potatoes are sweeter than yams, but they can be used interchangeably. They 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 an excellent source of the plant form of vitamin A. In fact, one medium sweet potato racks in well 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 carotenoids lutein and beta carotene, as well as vitamin C, whose antioxidant affects can help to ward our cells from damage. In addition, lutein and beta carotene are important for eye health. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of manganese, as well as vitamin B6 and potassium, and a good source of copper, and fiber. 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.

You can also purchase vacuum packed sweet potatoes, which are typically found in a spiced or sugary sauce. To the extent available, choose the unsweetened variety because it contains less sugar and carbohydrate.

Lastly, purchase frozen sweet potatoes if you are not using them right away. Simply steam or saute them for a convenient and nutrient dense side dish. Typically, frozen foods can last in the freezer for about a year. Check the best buy date for more information.

Do not store raw sweet 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.

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.

To save time, you can easily 'bake" your sweet potatoes in the microwave. The skin won't be as crispy, but still will be delicious. 

If you are mashing or whipping your sweet potatoes, skip ingredients like heavy cream, orange juice, and add some rosemary and Parmesan instead for a savory flare.

Make a mock "sweet potato French fry" in the oven by baking them at high heat with some herbs and spices. 

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 healthy meal plan.

A Word From Verywell

Sweet potatoes are a nutritious and delicious food choice that is easy to prepare and available all year long. If you are looking for an all-natural source of quality carbohydrate that is gluten free and chock-full of nutrition, then get cooking with sweet potatoes. Bake, grill, mash, roast, or boil them, but as with all foods remember to keep your portions controlled.

Sources: 

Failla ML, Thakkar SK and Kim JY. In vitro bioaccessibility of beta-carotene in orange fleshed sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas, Lam.). J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Nov 25;57(22):10922-7. 2009.

Harvard Health Publications. Glycemic index and glycemic load of 100+ foods. 

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.

USDA National Nutrition Database for Standard Reference 28. 

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