Can Sweet Potatoes Help You Lose Weight?
If you are trying to lose weight by cutting calories, adding sweet potatoes to your diet may help you get a maximum amount of nutrition. Although a sweet potato contains only about 112 calories, none of which are from fat, it has 2 grams of protein and more than 100 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A, a nutrient that helps your eyes, bones and immune system stay healthy. It also gives you small amounts of vitamins C, B-6 and folate. Its mineral content is also beneficial. It provides about 20 percent of your recommended daily intake of iron, 25 percent of phosphorous and 10 percent or more of zinc, magnesium and calcium.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that men get 38 grams of fiber per day and women get 25 grams. A medium sweet potato provides 4 grams of fiber, more than a bowl of oatmeal, which contains about 3. Getting enough fiber in your diet can keep your cholesterol levels low, protect you from cardiovascular disease and regulate your blood sugar, but it also helps with weight loss. High-fiber foods, like sweet potatoes, make you feel full after eating, keeping your appetite satisfied for longer periods.
Each cup of sweet potatoes gives you 28 grams of complex carbohydrates, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Nutrient Database. This may not sound beneficial for weight loss, but because it is low in calories and high in nutrients, a sweet potato can give you extra energy, causing you to burn more calories between meals. The carbohydrate content helps your brain produce glucose, which can keep you alert and energetic, avoiding the lethargy that often accompanies weight-loss regimens.
Purple Sweet Patatoes
In the United States, sweet potatoes typically have a yellow or orange flesh, but in Asia, sweet potatoes with a purple flesh are common. They contain compounds called anthocyanins, which have powerful antioxidant properties. Researchers at the Pusan National University in Korea studied the effects of purple sweet potato extract on adipocytes, or fat calls, in 2011. They found that the extract caused a decrease in the secretion of leptin, a hormone that plays a role in controlling your body’s metabolism of fat, indicating that purple sweet potato extract could promote weight loss and prevent obesity.
Sweet potatoes are versatile and can be used in place of more-fattening foods to make your meals lower in calories. Add sweet potato to a soup, stew or casserole to thicken it naturally without adding high-fat creams. Add it to quick breads for a sweet treat that isn’t full of fat and calories. It can replace the starchy portion of your meal as a low-calorie, nutrient-dense substitute for baked potatoes, pasta or rice dishes.