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Articles Fitness Nutrition

Do Sweet Potatoes Contain Sugar?

In a word, yes, sweet potatoes do indeed contain sugar. The tuberous roots of this plant--which are sweet-tasting, starchy and big--that belong to the family called Convolvulaceae are a noteworthy root vegetable. The younger shoots, as well as the leaves of the sweet potato plant, are occasionally consumed as greens. The history of sweet potatoes goes back almost 5,000 years to the tropical areas of the continent of South America, where they were domesticated.

Nowadays, the distribution and range of sweet potatoes is such that they are actually cultivated in many warm and tropical regions across the world where there is water to encourage their growth. While sweet potatoes do contain sugar, they also contain beneficial elements that are complimentary to your health and body.

Sugar Content

The sugar content in sweet potatoes is 4.2 grams for every 3.5 ounces of sweet potatoes that you ingest. While not terribly high or alarming, this confirms the presence of sugar just the same in sweet potatoes. As with all things, excess is bad, and this applies also to your sugar intake. While eating 3.5 ounces of sweet potatoes likely will have a negligible impact on your health, if you eat additional helpings of sweet potatoes, the sugar count can quickly add up. Besides being tied to tooth decay in excessive quantities, sugar excess is also linked with obesity and diabetes in an indirect way.

Good Source of Calcium

A 3.5-ounce serving of sweet potatoes will net you 30 milligrams of calcium, which is not enough to replace a glass of milk, but it is a nice benefit of having some sweet potatoes. As most people know, calcium is the stuff that makes bones stronger and denser, especially in a person's early life; calcium also plays an important part in later life, still helping your bones remain strong and healthy then, too.

In addition, calcium performs functions that are absolutely essential to all living organisms. For example, in the area of cell processes, calcium ions move in and outside of the cytoplasm, which is integral as a signal for various cellular processes. So, while sweet potatoes do add to your sugar intake, the fact they are a good source of calcium helps to balance the more deleterious effects of the sugar content.

Blood Sugar and Diabetics

The name "sweet potatoes" is misleading because it makes it seem like a food that is going to be intolerable for certain people, such as diabetics. However, research has demonstrated that sweet potatoes are anything but: sweet potatoes have been shown to stabilize the blood sugar levels and also to lower resistance to insulin. Consequently, diabetics may be interested in adding sweet potatoes to their diet or already increasing their intake quantities, if they already are consuming them. The reason may be the presence of soluble fiber in sweet potatoes, which itself acts to lower both cholesterol and blood sugar.

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