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Are Sweet Potato Fries Healthy?

Sweet potato fries are becoming more and more popular. Not only are they being served as an alternative to traditional french fries, but now are becoming a side dish on their own. Before jumping on the sweet potato fry bandwagon, however, it is important that you understand more about their nutritional status. Learn how their calorie and fiber content, as well as the manner in which they are cooked, can affect your health.

Calories

While sweet potato fries can vary quite a bit in size, thereby making it difficult to discuss their actual calorie content, it is possible to discuss their calories in broad terms. First, it is important to understand that sweet potatoes are composed almost entirely from carbohydrates. Per gram, carbohydrates contain approximately four calories. Compared to fat, which contains nine calories per gram, foods that are rich is carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes, are a relatively low-calorie food.

Fiber Content

One of the other reasons that sweet potatoes are often touted as a "healthy" food is due to their high fiber content. Fiber is neither fat, protein or a carbohydrate source, but is rather a type of indigestible compound that is found primarily in fruits, vegetables and grains. Fiber is important for a number of reasons. First, research has found that fiber is important in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and even some types of cancer. In addition, fiber is very important for people who are trying to lose weight.

Fiber is a relatively "bulky" food, meaning that it takes up a lot of room in your stomach. This helps to make you feel full and prevents overeating. In addition, fiber is relatively slow digesting. This means that it takes a long time for fiber to leave your stomach and enter your digestive tract, thereby keeping you full between meals, and preventing snacking and potential weight gain. Finally, foods that contain high amounts of dietary fiber have been found to be beneficial to blood sugar control. This is not only important for people who suffer from diabetes, but all individuals. Large spikes and drops in blood sugar can result in fatigue, dizziness and nausea.

Method of Cooking

Finally, the manner in which sweet potato fries are cooked can dramatically influence their nutritional status. For best results, sweet potato fries should be baked, grilled or broiled. Avoid sweet potato fries that have been either pan fried or deep fried. This not only increases the calorie content of the fries, but typically also increases their fat content. Unfortunately, saturated fats, such as butter or oils, are typically used to fry sweet potatoes. Saturated fats can lead to cardiovascular disease, stroke and even Alzheimer's disease.

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