Last updated on November 21st, 2022
Diabetics may scratch their heads when the name “sweet potato” comes. They may wonder can I eat sweet potato, is it safe for my sugar levels? The answer is, yes… to some extent. Read this blog to know “Can Diabetics Eat Sweet Potatoes?”
While heading a trip to a superstore, there are more than 400 variations of sweet potatoes existing worldwide. Few of them might be good for diabetic patients than others. Their cooking approach and portion size are two important factors.
Also, it is important to know about the GI and the GL values of a chosen sweet potato variety. GI is a scale for food products comprising carbs. The ranking allotted to a portion of food shows its effect on blood glucose levels. Also, glycemic load (GL) is a ranking evaluation. It considers a food’s GI and its portion size, or grams per serving. Read further to know everything any diabetic person must be aware of sweet potatoes. This info will certainly give you an idea about how to enjoy them without fear.
Can Diabetics Eat Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet potato is scientifically Ipomoea batatas. Sweet potatoes of all types are excellent options over white forms. This veggie contains rich fiber and nutrients like beta carotene. Also, they contain a low glycemic load. Similar to white potatoes, sweet potatoes are loaded with carbs. Even then, diabetic patients may consume them in moderate amounts.
There are various forms of sweet potatoes that benefit individuals worried about their obesity and glucose levels. Together with their nutritional value, sweet potatoes consist of properties that might reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Few nutrients present in sweet potatoes may include:
- vitamin A in the form of beta carotene
- vitamin B6, K, C
Sweet potato is found to exert beneficial properties to type 2 diabetics. This is so because of the high levels of fibre and magnesium in them. And, this helps in lowering insulin resistance and stabilizing the levels of blood sugar.
Effect of Sweet Potatoes on Blood Glucose Levels
Sweet potato is rich in carbs, so they can raise the blood glucose levels. But, fiber content in them aids in slowing down this process.
Orange sweet potato has a higher glycemic index value. This may enhance the levels of blood glucose than other sweet potato varieties. Regardless of the kind of sweet potato a person selects, it is important to limit its amount. And, choose boiling or steaming rather than baking.
Also Read: Can Diabetics Eat Potatoes?
Types of Sweet Potatoes and their Effects on Diabetes
Purple Sweet Potatoes
These pack several health benefits. The color is owing to the presence of anthocyanins, a water-soluble ingredient in them. It is also known for pigmenting other fruits and veggies (blue, purple, or red in color).
Anthocyanin contains rich amounts of antioxidants. They help in:
- lowering the risk of ailments.
- improving vision.
- treating and managing diabetes.
A study compared yellow and purple forms of sweet potatoes. It was observed that the polyphenol-rich purple potatoes reduced inflammation, blood sugar, and insulin. The GI value of the purple sweet potato is around 77.
Japanese Sweet Potatoes
These are characteristically purple externally and white or yellow internally. They have a sweet taste. Caiapo is the Japanese sweet potato form. And, its extract is known to help diabetic patients.
It was concluded that Caiapo is a constituent that may aid in treating type 2 diabetes. The study found that this sweet potato variety had a positive effect on the cholesterol and plasma glucose levels in type 2 diabetics.
Orange Sweet Potatoes
This variety is the most common form and contains:
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
Also, they contain a high GI and nutrients like beta-carotene. Another constituent is anthocyanin, beneficial for its antioxidant properties. Normally, a boiled potato contains a GI of about 44. Sweet potatoes control the blood sugar concentration as well.
Also Read: Best glucometer in India
Sweet Potatoes for Diabetics
The major reason why they work great for people with diabetes is its low GI value. Food products with high GI value increase the glucose levels. And, they are a big no-no for people with type-2 diabetes. Furthermore, sweet potatoes consist of a carotenoid known as beta-carotene. It is a rich source of vitamin A and offers this vegetable an orange color.
Also, sweet potato comprises high amounts of vitamin C. This vitamin is found to strengthen immunity. Besides, sweet potatoes contain high amounts of iron. And, it aids the RBCs produce oxygen and transfer nutrients all over the body.
In addition, this superfood delivers plant-based protein. It aids in keeping a person full for long and speeds up weight loss. This is great news for people who wish to increase their insulin sensitivity. Finally, sweet potatoes contain fiber, which spells astonishing news for people’s gut.
All these properties make sweet potatoes a superfood. They contain high amounts of vitamins A and C that aid in fighting off inflammation. However, people must remember to control portion size, which is very important.
Sweet potatoes packs vital vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. They pack slow-release carbs and fibre, which maintain proper glucose control. The anti-diabetic activity of sweet potato comes from phytochemical adiponectin. It reduces the levels of blood sugar in type 2 diabetics. Also, veggie comprises fibre and aid in lowering cholesterol levels.
What is the Suggested Quantity of Sweet Potato for Diabetics?
Even if, a sweet potato is a good option for diabetics, it’s vital to remember that they comprise carbs! For this reason, it becomes important to exercise portion control. It is also suggested that one-half cup of sweet potatoes is good enough. It is equal to 15 grams of carbs. Thus, it is good to discuss with a doctor, as the best portion size may vary from individual to individual.
Also Read: Can Quitting Alcohol Reverses Diabetes?
Benefits of Sweet Potatoes for Diabetics
Sweet potatoes (of all types) in moderation are healthy. Also, they are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. People may safely add them in their diabetes-friendly meal plan.
Below are a few diabetes-friendly recipes a person can try:
- Broccoli-stuffed sweet potatoes
- Sweet potato casserole cups
- Avocado and sweet potato salad
- Crispy oven-roasted purple sweet potato fries
- Baked sweet potato fries
Also Read: Normal Sugar Level
Ways to Enjoy Sweet Potatoes
For diabetics, sweet potato is a safe alternative to include in their diets in moderation. These comprise high amounts of fibre and have a low GI. This gives rise to a less instant impact on blood sugar levels. Even, this may aid diabetics in better controlling their blood glucose.
For any diabetic to consume sweet potatoes, the amount and way of preparation is vital. There was a study that found that out of 71000 individuals having 3 servings per week of mashed, baked, or boiled potatoes, the risk of type 2 diabetes increased by 4%.
Also, the study explored the intake of French fries, and the risk increased to 19%. Intake of fried potatoes may give rise to weight gain and other medical problems. For diabetic patients, weight control plays a key role.
Cooking means carry a huge impact on the GI of sweet potatoes. Boiled forms contain a low GI score of 46 than a high GI of 94 for baked forms and 82 for roasted sweet potatoes.
Any Risks of Having Sweet Potatoes for Diabetics?
Sweet potato is an improved nutritional alternative in comparison to white potatoes. Even so, people enjoy this veggie in moderation. Or, sweet potatoes can have a negative impact on people’s blood sugar levels. Few sweet potatoes are very huge in size, making it simpler to consume in excess. It is always better to choose a medium-sized potato. Also, people must ensure to add other healthy food products in their diets more often.
Sweet potatoes in moderate limits may be a part of a healthy food plan for any diabetic person. Few kinds of sweet potatoes might even offer great benefits to managing their condition. These involve purple and Japanese forms of sweet potatoes. Sweet potato is completely packed with nutrients but comprises carbs as well. Keeping its portions small and using the boil method rather than baking helps in maintaining a lower GL.
Also Read: Can Diabetics Eat Grapes?
When is not a good time to have sweet potatoes?
Mostly, sweet potatoes would not rot or become damaged. However, their taste alters with time. A person would not enjoy having wrinkled or soppy vegetables that have turned brown or black.
Is there any side effect of sweet potato?
Sweet potato comprises good amounts of oxalates. These might enhance the risk of calcium-oxalate kidney stones. Also, the vegetable consists of beta-carotene, and their unnecessary intake may cause toxicity of vitamin A. In this condition, too much vitamin A builds up in the liver.
Can people with diabetes consume sweet potato daily?
If a person has diabetes, he or she can have sweet potatoes every day. As far as a person calculates the carb count of the veggie into their meal planning. Sweet potato is a good source of carbs, which elevates the blood sugars.
What is the suggested number of sweet potatoes for a diabetic per day?
A characteristic serving size is half a cup. Studies recommend ½ of a medium-size sweet potato for many diabetics as it is equal to 15 grams of carbs.
Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal
The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.