For all of us, sweet potatoes offer solid all-around benefits such as vitamins A and C, fiber, potassium, copper and manganese. That’s always been clear. But according to registered dietitian Delia Hammock, M.S., R.D., recent research brings surprising news on the nutrition front: these root veggies may be a good choice even for someone on a diabetic diet, playing a role in stabilizing or lowering blood sugar.
Besides benefiting from the myriad nutrients found in sweet potatoes, diabetic patients can profit from the sweet potato’s low or moderate glycemic index. Compared to high-GI foods, sweet potatoes break down more slowly in the body, producing smaller fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin levels. In addition, sweet potatoes are low in calories. A medium baked sweet potato eaten with the skin is a mere 105 calories, about the same as half a cup of brown rice.
- For a low to medium glycemic index, eat sweet potatoes cooked with the skins on or raw, such as in a slaw.
- When eating sweet potatoes without the skins, know that they fall into the medium glycemic zone, between 63 and 66, which is still lower than other starchy foods such as instant mashed potatoes and even whole-wheat bread.