Sweet Potatoes & Diabetes

3 Jan

Here is a question that I received from Foodpicker.org

I was recently diagnosed with Pre-Diabetes and I’m trying to follow a low fat diet.  I have a question I hope that you can answer.  Are sweet potatoes considered a vegetable and are they ok to eat in my diet?

Sweet potatoes are considered starchy vegetables. According to the Mayo Clinic, 4 ounces or ½ of a sweet potato is approximately one starchy vegetable on the exchange list.  Sweet potatoes are definitely okay to include in your diet.

Reasons to Eat Sweet Potatoes:

  • Fat free, which will make following a low fat diet easier
  • Great source of fiber, which will help keep you fully satisfied and may also help lower your blood cholesterol
  • Great source of potassium, and vitamin B6, which helps with improvement of  energy metabolism to  improving cognitive performance
  • Great source of beta carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A and helps the immune system’s response to sickness and disease
  • Great source of vitamin C, which is a great antioxidant that protects tissues from oxidative stress

Sweet potatoes are definitely my favorite complex carbohydrate.  You can include them as your pre-workout snack, a side dish to your favorite protein and veggies, or as a dessert.  Desserts tend to be the hardest thing for me to avoid when I start a low-fat diet.  I have found that trading in cheesecake for sweet potatoes is a great way to satisfy my sweet tooth with much fewer calories.

A slice of cheesecake can be filled with 500-600 calories and up to 40 grams of fat.  One half of a sweet potato is filled with approximately 125 calories and is non-fat.  A great dessert idea for sweet potatoes is to peel them, dice them up, throw them in a Ziploc steamer bag or boil them, and then mash them up.  Add a few sprinkles of cinnamon, because it will help stabilize your blood sugar levels.  Mix in 1-2 tablespoons of crushed walnuts or pecans, because they are filled with just enough healthy fats. Top it off with one tablespoon of Fat-Free or Sugar-Free Cool Whip, because it’s a delicious topping.  Voila, you have a guilt-free delicious sweet dessert that fills you up and helps you lose weight!

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