Sweet potato toast. Sweet potato rice. Sweet potato noodles. No doubt sweet potato creations are taking over your plate, and for good reason: this tuber is a terrific source of energizing and filling complex carbohydrates. It"s why active folks love them.
But potatoes are naturally starchy, since they"re...well, a starch. Which might make you wonder if they"re as good for you as all the paleo bloggers say.
Thankfully, they"re one health food that actually lives up to the hype. If you"re curious about the calories in a sweet potato: there are 103 in one, medium-sized sweet potato, according to the USDA. If you go for a large, you’ll get 162 calories. That’s not bad, so if you’ve been avoiding sweet taters because you’re worried about the calories, know that they can play an important role on your plate.
Plus, they’re loaded with nutrients. Check out the other stats per medium tater, courtesy of the USDA:Carbohydrates: 24 gFat: 0 gFiber: 4 gProtein: 2 g Vitamin A: 157% of women"s RDA Vitamin C: 30% of women"s RDAVitamin B6: 25% of women"s RDAPotassium: 12% of women"s RDA
On the other hand, a same-sized baked white potato has nearly an identical number of calories (106), protein (2 g), carbohydrates (24 g) and fat (0 g).
The key difference between the two (besides color) lies in the nutrients. The sweet potato has nearly twice as much fiber as a regular potato. That’s important if you"re looking to slim down, since studies have shown that upping the fiber intake in your diet (women should aim for 25 g a day) can aid weight loss efforts. Plus, fiber helps keep you full and satisfied—making you less likely to mindlessly snack during the day.
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Sweet potatoes have more vitamin C than their regular counterparts. And unlike a sweet potato, a regular potato doesn"t have any vitamin A—important for sharp vision and smooth skin.
So basically, sweet potatoes are a great choice for your health and your plate. But remember: They can be vehicles for loads of butter and sour cream or sugary ketchup. Of course these things are fine to incorporate in your diet, but it also pays to read labels to choose the lowest sugar ketchup available, for instance. Or sub that dollop of sour cream with Greek yogurt for a bigger protein punch.
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