How Many Calories Are In Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet Potatoes are a staple food in many parts of the world, but how nutritious and calorific are they?
Firstly, potatoes are a type of tuber that grow underground and store a lot of energy in the form of starch. Starch is a complex carbohydrate that consists of many glucose molecules linked together. When we eat potatoes, our digestive enzymes break down the starch into glucose, which is then absorbed into our bloodstream and used as fuel for our cells.
However, not all starches are created equal. Some starches are more resistant to digestion than others, meaning they take longer to break down and release glucose more slowly. This can help us feel fuller for longer and prevent blood sugar spikes and crashes. Resistant starch can also feed the good bacteria in our gut and improve our digestive health.
Unfortunately, most potato foods are not high in resistant starch. Instead, they are high in rapidly digestible starch, which means they quickly raise our blood sugar levels and trigger a surge of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps our cells take up glucose from the blood, but it also signals our body to store excess glucose as fat. Therefore, eating too many potato foods can lead to weight gain over time.
Moreover, potato foods are often prepared in unhealthy ways that add extra fat to our diet. For example, french fries are deep-fried in oil, baked potatoes are topped with butter and sour cream, and mashed potatoes are mixed with milk and butter. These ingredients can increase our calorie intake and make us gain weight even faster.
So, if you were to sit down and eat 1 Sweet Potato. In 1 potato (114 g), you would consume 105 calories.
Most Calorific Potato Foods
Remember, one of the most calorific potato products are fries. They are also one of the most popular ways to enjoy potatoes, but they are also high in fat and calories. A medium serving of fries (117 g) contains about 365 calories, 17 g of fat, 48 g of carbohydrates and 4 g of protein. Fries also provide some vitamin C, potassium and iron, but they are low in fibre and other vitamins and minerals. Frying potatoes also increases the formation of acrylamide, a chemical that may be linked to cancer.
More Healthy Potato Foods
In contrast, baked potatoes are a simple and more healthy way to enjoy potatoes. A medium baked potato (173 g) with skin contains about 161 calories, 0.2 g of fat, 37 g of carbohydrates and 4 g of protein. Baked potatoes also provide a good amount of vitamin C, potassium, magnesium and iron, as well as some fibre and other nutrients. Baked potatoes can be topped with various ingredients to make them more nutritious and delicious, such as cheese, sour cream, beans, broccoli or salsa.
How To Eat Potatoes Without Gaining Weight
So, what can we do to enjoy potatoes without gaining weight? Here are some tips:
- Choose potatoes with more resistant starch, such as sweet potatoes or purple potatoes. These varieties have more fibre and antioxidants than white potatoes and can help lower your blood sugar levels.
- Eat potatoes with their skin on. The skin contains more fibre and nutrients than the flesh and can help you feel more satisfied.
- Cook potatoes in healthier ways, such as boiling, steaming, roasting, or microwaving. Avoid frying or adding too much fat or salt to your potatoes.
- Eat Sweet Potatoes in moderation and balance them with other foods. Don’t make Sweet Potato the main part of your meal, but rather a side dish. Pair them with lean protein and non-starchy vegetables to create a balanced plate.
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