For those seeking to lose weight or maintain the pounds they lost, mention of “sweet potato” may send them running the other way. However, the sweet potato falls into the “healthy” carb category, one that people need not shun.
Bad carbs, which come from refined and processed foods, have been deemed by the National Institutes for Health (NIH) as having empty calories, little nutrient benefit, and the ability to pack on extra weight in those who consume them frequently (1). Consider white rice, white breads and white pasta, along with sugary foods like cakes, a red flag when it comes to weight loss and overall health.
Instead, select fresh, whole foods that will benefit health and lead to weight loss.
Why sweet potatoes are a weight loss superstar
When it comes to regulating weight, the sweet potato has several benefits. Its high water and fiber content make it an ideal way to stave off hunger pangs, so people are less inclined to reach for excess portions or junk foods (2).
Additionally, sweet potatoes help regulate blood sugar levels so that spikes are reduced; since fluctuating blood sugar levels have been associated with excess belly fat, eating this fiber-filled food is a wise choice (2).
Eating sweet potatoes helped woman lose 90 pounds
Sweet potato consumption has proven beneficial for Jamie Berube, who attributes eating one a day to her 90-pound weight loss (3). She explains how she went from eating sweet potatoes covered in syrups, butter and brown sugar to simply cooking them and topping with cinnamon, a healthier sweetening alternative. She’s kept her weight off, saying, “I owe this to healthy lifestyle habits like exercise and portion control, and eating a sweet potato almost every day, of course (3).”
While it took some getting used to, she ultimately came to enjoy a dietary lifestyle that no longer included sweet, buttery sweet potato toppings or French fries and pizza, which she also had a fondness for. “If I was going to lose weight,” she says, “I had to re-teach myself how and what to eat which meant gradually weaning myself off of excess fat and sugar. In return, I began to crave healthy foods like fruits and veggies (3).”
Additional health benefits of sweet potatoes
Not only are sweet potatoes a wise choice when it comes to weight control, but they have a host of other health benefits. In fact, The World’s Healthiest Foods web site says that “In some studies, sweet potatoes have been shown to be a better source of bioavailable beta-carotene than green leafy vegetables (4).” Beta-carotene is helpful for fighting certain cancers, boosting heart health and protecting vision, to name just a few benefits.
They also have anti-inflammatory properties which are known to help nerve and tissue growth (4).
I recently came across a sweet potato peach smoothie on Shape.com which I wrote about.
It’s filling, healthy and very tasty. Furthermore, with some creativity, variations on the recipe can make weight loss or its maintenance a fun way to explore new food combinations.
Sources for this article include: