How Sweet It Is! You Should Be Eating More Sweet Potatoes
It seems counterintuitive. Sweet potatoes are, well, sweet. And sugar is bad for you. so sweet potatoes can't be very good for you. Right? Wrong. It may be paradoxical, but sweet potatoes are not only better for you than ordinary white potatoes. They're extraordinarily good.
Mashed russet potatoes may rank high on most American's list of top comfort foods. But sweet potatoes are far more deserving of our adoration. Why? A lot of it has to do with the glycemic index (GI).
The glycemic index is a scale that assigns a value to carbohydrate-rich foods based on the food's ability to promote an increase in blood sugar levels when consumed. Foods with a high GI, such as table sugar, for example, cause rapid, sharp spikes in blood sugar, followed by sharp spikes in the hormone, insulin. This rapid increase is usually accompanied by an equally rapid decline in blood sugar levels. This is undesirable for a variety of reasons. For one thing, it can leave you feeling blah. Wild oscillations in blood sugar are bad for your metabolism, and can adversely affect your appetite. And that affects your bottom line. Your waistline, that is.
In contrast, foods with a low GI, such as whole oats, for example, tend to be digested slowly. Blood sugar levels rise gradually and steadily after eating these types of foods. You feel fuller longer after eating low-GI foods, and experience less of a change in energy levels as a result.
Foods with a low GI tend to be complex carbohydrates, such as grains and legumes, fruits, and vegetables. High GI foods tend to be simple carbs, such as sugar, white rice and...wait for it...white potatoes. Far from suppressing hunger, they seem to stimulate it.
Sweet potatoes are low GI foods. White potatoes are not. Sweet potatoes contains significant amounts of dietary fiber, potassium and magnesium (for blood pressure control), vitamin C and about 400% of your daily requirement for vitamin A. Although they contain more grams of sugar than white potatoes, white potatoes actually have more carbs and more calories than sweet potatoes! Sweet.