Take control of your health: Learn more about our Plant-Based Nutrition CertificateLearn more about our Plant-Based Nutrition Certificate
Topics » Nutrition Science » How Sweet is a Sweet Potato? Pretty Sweet!
CNS Logo

How Sweet is a Sweet Potato? Pretty Sweet!

How sweet is a sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are a super food that I have only recently come to appreciate. While preparing a lecture on heart disease epidemiology, I found reports of several traditional cultures known for avoiding heart disease that subsist largely on this delicious tuber. In fact, a 1978 paper[1] cited a dietary survey finding that sweet potatoes supplied about 90% of total calorie intake in the traditional subsistence culture of the Papua New Guinea highlanders. 90%! Sinnett and Whyte write, “Indeed, non-tuberous vegetables accounted for less than 5% of the food consumed, while the intake of meat was negligible.” There was no evidence of malnutrition from this diet and no evidence for hypertensive heart disease.

Here are some facts to chew on. If HALF of your diet was solely baked sweet potatoes with no salt, you would get all the nutrients in the table. To top it off: you get all this in a package with a lower glycemic index than white potatoes and many grains[2].

Nutrients in 1000 calories of sweet potatoes (about 10)[3]

Percentage of daily requirements (2000kcal diet)*

* Nutrient amounts calculated from USDA, reference 3, using the average daily requirements listed on http://www.dsld.nlm.nih.gov/dsld/dailyvalue.jsp

References

  1. Sinnett P, Whyte M. Lifestyle, health and disease: a comparison between Papua New Guinea and Australia. Med J Aust 1978;1:1-5.
  2. Willcox DC, Willcox BJ, Todoriki H, Suzuki M. The Okinawan diet: health implications of a low-calorie, nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich dietary pattern low in glycemic load. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2009;28 Suppl:500S-16S.
  3. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 26. In: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service; 2014.

Copyright 2019 Center for Nutrition Studies. All rights reserved.

We’ve partnered with renowned online education provider eCornell, to offer a revolutionary program to help you understand the importance of diet and nutrition for your life. In a few short weeks arm yourself with the knowledge you need to improve your overall health, learn new skills, or even inspire a career change. Hear what people are saying.

100% online, work at your own pace
Attentive and interactive learning team
Science-based foundation
A trusted credential

Sign up for our free newsletter

Inspiring articles and recipes in your inbox