Are Sweet Potatoes Good for Diabetes?

Updated on & Medically Reviewed by Dr Lalitha

Sweet potatoes, highly nutritious and commonly grown in subtropical and tropical regions, offer valuable health benefits. However, just because they are nutritious does not mean that they are always best for diabetics.

When incorporating sweet potatoes into a diabetic meal plan, it's crucial to consider factors such as portion size, variety, cooking techniques, seasonings, and the choice of accompanying side dishes. Although sweet potatoes can still be enjoyed, it's important to consume them carefully and pay attention to these factors to achieve the best possible diabetes management.

Types of Sweet Potatoes:

Sweet potatoes come in various delightful varieties, each with its own unique characteristics:

  1. Beauregard: The most common type found in markets.
  2. Jewel: Known for its copper skin and light orange flesh.
  3. Red Garnet: Featuring reddish-orange skin and a slightly savory taste with less sweetness.
  4. Covington: Recognizable by its orange skin with dark brown spots and a malty sweetness.
  5. Centennial: Exhibits a copper-orange skin.
  6. Hernandez: Offers moist orange flesh and a sweeter taste than Beauregards.
  7. O'Henry: With tan skin, it boasts a sweet flavor and a firm, creamy texture.
  8. Jersey: Tan-skinned with white flesh, moderately sweet, and a dry texture, making it great for frying.
  9. Japanese White: Dark purple skin and creamy yellow flesh, intensifying in color when cooked. These sweet potatoes are starchy, moist, dense, and sweet.

Nutritional Value of Sweet Potatoes:

Sweet potato is abundant in fiber and antioxidants (beta carotene), and it helps in increasing Vitamin A levels. 100 gms of Sweet Potato consists of:




86 K.Cal


1.57 gms


20.1 gms


0.1 gms


3 gms



Natural Sugars

4.2 gms




3 gms


55 mgs


47 mgs

Beta Carotene

8510 µg

Vitamin A

709 µg

Vitamin K

1.8 µg


30 mg


Are Sweet Potatoes Good For Diabetics?

Yes, But When you have diabetes, moderation is essential when eating. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are often confused for their nutritional similarities, but they differ significantly. Sweet potatoes have a medium Glycemic Index (GI), while regular potatoes have a high GI.

Sweet potatoes offer more vitamin C, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus, while regular potatoes provide higher levels of potassium, Vitamin B1, and folic acid. For a diabetes-friendly diet, nutritionists recommend low-GI foods with good carbs, ample fiber, and essential vitamins. Sweet potatoes are an excellent choice, being low in carbs, medium GI, fiber-rich, and vitamin-packed. With proper dietary planning, individuals with diabetes can enjoy the benefits of this nutritious vegetable while managing their blood sugar effectively.

Glycemic Index of Sweet Potato:

The Glycemic Index (GI) measures how quickly carbohydrates in food are digested and raise blood glucose levels. Foods with a low GI (55 or less) are digested slowly and lead to gradual increases in blood sugar. Those with a medium GI (between 55 and 69) have a moderate impact, while foods with a high GI (70 or more) cause rapid spikes in blood sugar.

Now, considering sweet potatoes, their GI varies depending on how they're prepared. Boiled sweet potatoes have a relatively low GI of 46, and the duration of boiling can influence this index. Longer boiling leads to an even lower GI. Conversely, roasted sweet potatoes have a high GI, exceeding 82. Baking them raises the GI to around 94 while frying results in a GI of approximately 76.

Boiled sweet potatoes have a low GI and are a suitable choice for individuals with diabetes. So, can people with diabetes enjoy sweet potatoes? Absolutely, as long as they are prepared in a way that keeps their GI within the desired range.

Benefits of Sweet Potatoes for Diabetics:

Sweet potatoes offer several benefits for individuals with diabetes.

1. Enhanced Vision:

The presence of beta-carotene, responsible for the orange hue in sweet potatoes, supports the production of Vitamin A. This nutrient is vital for maintaining good eye health, particularly crucial for those with diabetes, who are at risk of vision issues.

2. Blood Sugar Regulation:

Sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index (GI), making them an excellent choice for managing blood sugar levels. They release glucose into the bloodstream gradually, preventing sudden spikes.

3. Fiber for Satiety and Weight Management:

A high-fiber diet is beneficial for people with diabetes, particularly those with type 2 diabetes. It not only reduces the risk of diabetes but also promotes satiety, helping individuals consume fewer calories and maintain a healthy weight.

4. Inflammation Reduction:

Diabetes often leads to inflammation due to insulin resistance and elevated glucose levels. Sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin C, which can help reduce inflammation, supporting overall health.

5. Improved Insulin Sensitivity:

Despite being starchy, sweet potatoes contain a type of starch that can enhance insulin sensitivity and facilitate better insulin management. This is crucial for maintaining appropriate glucose and insulin levels in the body.

Incorporating sweet potatoes into a diabetes-friendly diet can offer these multifaceted benefits, promoting overall well-being and better blood sugar control.

Ways to have Sweet Potatoes in Your Diet:

For those with diabetes, managing meals is essential, especially when it comes to keeping an eye on carbohydrate intake. If eaten in moderation and in small servings, sweet potatoes can be a healthy addition to a diet that is friendly to people with diabetes. Here are five delicious ways to use them:

1. Soups:

Enhance the texture of your soup by boiling sweet potatoes along with lentils, vegetables like carrots and cabbage, spices, and herbs. This nutrient-rich soup can keep you satisfied for longer.

2. Sweet Potato "Crackers":

Slice and toast sweet potatoes to use as a cracker base. Top them with high-protein options like scrambled eggs or paneer bhurji for a satisfying treat.

3. Sweet Potato Salads:

Opt for a low-calorie option with a sweet potato salad. Boil sweet potatoes and mix them with diced tomatoes, onions, cucumber, and lettuce. Season with salt, pepper, herbs, anda squeeze of lemon, and consider adding roasted flax seeds for an extra twist.

These creative ways to enjoy sweet potatoes can add variety to your diabetes-friendly meal plan.

Are There Any Risks of Overconsumption of Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potatoes, with their fiber and antioxidants, are beneficial when consumed in moderation, especially for diabetes due to their low GI. However, excessive intake carries risks:

  • Oxalates: Overconsumption may lead to kidney and gallbladder stone formation due to high oxalate content.
  • Vitamin A: Too much Vitamin A from sweet potatoes can cause headaches and skin rashes.
  • Potassium: Excessive sweet potato intake can disrupt heart rhythm and raise the risk of heart-related issues.

Consume sweet potatoes in moderation and, if necessary, get nutritionist advice to maintain good health.

How Much and How Frequently Diabetes can Consume Sweet Potatoes?

While incorporating sweet potatoes into your diabetes diet, moderation is key due to their carbohydrate content. Experts suggest a serving size of no more than half a cup, containing 15 grams of carbohydrates. It's advisable to consult with your doctor or nutritionist to determine your ideal portion size. To maximise benefits and stabilise blood sugar, aim to include sweet potatoes in your diet two to three times a week.

Some Other Benefits of Sweet Potatoes:

Sweet potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse, often considered a superfood due to their abundance of nutrients and health benefits.

  • Cholesterol Control: Regular consumption can lower "bad" LDL cholesterol, reducing heart-related risks.
  • Weight Management: Purple sweet potatoes, in particular, may aid in weight loss by reducing inflammation in the body and inhibiting the growth of fat cells.
  • Eye Health: Sweet potatoes are abundant in beta-carotene and vitamin A, which can lower the risk of developing glaucoma, a leading cause of visual impairment.

Sweet potatoes offer a lot of health benefits, making them a valuable addition to your diet.

Can diabetic patients eat sweet potatoes? Yes, individuals with diabetes can enjoy sweet potatoes in moderation. Unlike regular potatoes, sweet potatoes are considered a healthy choice for people with diabetes due to their high fibre content, slow-release carbohydrates, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. They may help lower blood cholesterol and stabilise blood sugar levels. However, it's essential to consume them in controlled portions to maintain balanced blood sugar levels.


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Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please talk to a healthcare professional.

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