sweet potato keto

Are Sweet Potatoes Low Carb and Keto-friendly?

Sweet potatoes are well-known as comfort food. No matter how you cook it, it can warm your mouth- and heart. It is calorie-dense, it goes with everything, and it is filling. That means that it is the perfect food for family dinners with a lot of mouths to feed. 

However, if you are on the keto or a low-carb diet, you might be concerned about eating this delicious vegetable and not staying in ketosis. So, it is understandable that questions such as “are they keto-friendly?” and “can I have this on the keto diet” might pop into your head. 

To get all your questions answered and more, keep on reading!

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What Are Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potato is a delicious and versatile root vegetable, also known by its Latin name Ipomoea batatas. Sometimes it is called “yam” in parts of North America. However, this vegetable is unrelated to the true yam. 

It is dicotyledonous plants that belong to the morning glory family or the bindweed family. It is related to the family of typical potatoes, and they both belong to the order of Solanales. 

Sweet potato is a large, sweet-tasting, starchy root vegetable with origins in South or Central America. Today, this vegetable is common all around the Globe. It is cooked in many ways and is a staple ingredient in many cuisines. 

It is also very variable. People have found many ways to cook it. For example, they boil it, roast it, bake it, make it into pastries and even soups. 

Sweet Potato Nutrition Facts

One of the most common ways people consume this food is by baking it. In the table, we have included the nutritional information on 100 grams of baked sweet potato. (*)

Calories95 kcal
Protein2.11 grams
Fat0.15 grams
Total Carbs21.83 grams
Fiber3.5 grams
Net Carbs18.33 grams

What is the GI of Sweet Potato?

The GI or glycemic index is a value assigned to food that refers to how fast blood sugar rises after consumption. The GI scale compares the results to those of pure glucose. The range can be from 0 to 100, with pure glucose having a GI of 100. 

We categorize the foods into three categories: low GI, medium GI, and high GI. According to Harvard Medical School’s list of the glycemic index of 60+ foods, boiled sweet potato has a GI of 63 ± 6. That means that they are a medium GI food. (*)

Is Sweet Potato Healthy?

These nutritiously dense root vegetables are the perfect combination of sweet and starchy. However, are they healthy?

Apart from their macronutrients, they are rich in essential micronutrients. They contain a large amount of beta-carotene, which the body turns to vitamin A. They also have relatively high amounts of vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, manganese, and copper. 

They also have a fair amount of fiber, which comes in soluble and insoluble forms. Soluble fiber absorbs water and will make stool softer, while insoluble fiber adds bulk to stool. (*)

Studies have shown that soluble and insoluble fiber can be beneficial to gut health. That is because they feed the gut bacteria, and they ferment. This process causes short-chain fatty acids to form. They are helpful to cells of the lining of our intestines. (*) (*)

These vegetables are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that bind to free radicals and help combat oxidative stress. Purple sweet potatoes contain a group of antioxidants called anthocyanins, which show cancer-fighting properties for breast cancer, colon cancer, stomach cancer, and bladder cancer in test tubes. (*) (*) (*)

Other studies also show that antioxidants in these vegetables may help improve brain function. (*) (*) (*)

Can You Eat Sweet Potatoes On The Keto Diet?

In the sections above, we have mentioned that this vegetable is a nutrient-dense food. For a 100 gram serving of a baked sweet potato, there are 95 calories, 2.11 grams of protein, 0.15 grams of fat, 22 grams of total carbs, out of which 3.5 grams are fiber, and 18.33 grams of net carbs. 

Just by looking at the number of net carbs, you can notice that in 100 grams or ⅔ of a medium potato, you consume almost all the carbs of a strict keto dieters’ daily allowance. That means that this vegetable is hard to incorporate into a strict keto diet. 

Additionally, it is a root vegetable, and most root vegetables are starchy, including this one. Starchy vegetables and most root vegetables are not allowed on a keto or a low-carb diet. This vegetable also has a glycemic index of 63 ± 6, which means that it raises blood sugar fast, and it will easily kick you out of ketosis. 

Consuming this vegetable has many health benefits, and it contains many antioxidants. However, it is safe to say that this root vegetable is NOT ketogenic, and you should avoid it if you are on a keto or a low-carb diet. Most of its carbs come from starch, it raises blood sugar quickly, and it contains almost all of a keto dieters’ carb allowance. 

Despite this information, if you are not on a strict keto diet, and maybe you still want to consume this vegetable. If that is the case, make sure that you control the portion size carefully. Otherwise, your blood sugar will rise, and it will kick you out of ketosis fast. 

Bottom line:

Are sweet potatoes keto-friendly?

No, it is not keto-friendly. It contains starch, which is not ketogenic.

How many net carbs are in sweet potato?

In 100 grams of sweet potato, there are about 18 grams of net carbs. 

Conclusion

Sweet potato is a starchy root vegetable with origins in Central and South America. It is very versatile, and you can prepare it in many ways. Today, it is used all around the world by many people. 

It is rich in beta-carotene, which our bodies turn to vitamin A. It also contains other nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, manganese, and copper. It also has both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps our gut. 

Despite the benefits, this vegetable is starchy and is not ketogenic. It contains too many carbs for you to consume on a strict keto or a low-carb diet. If you are not on a strict keto diet and want to have this vegetable, you can. However, you would need to carefully watch your serving size to make sure you do not eat too many carbs.

Are Sweet Potatoes Low Carb and Keto-friendly?
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