Q: How do sweet potatoes affect diabetes? Are they a good substitute for white potatoes?
A: The same amount of white potatoes and sweet potatoes contain about the same amount of carbohydrates (1/2 cup = 15 grams of carbs). Sweet potatoes, however, have more fiber and are slightly lower on the glycemic index than white potatoes. For this reason, blood glucose will rise a little more gradually with sweet potatoes than with white potatoes.
As far as nutrients go, sweet potatoes are a rich source of vitamin A and beta-carotene. As with all foods containing carbohydrates, keep in mind the importance of portion size and distribution throughout the day.
Virginia Zamudio Lange, a member of Diabetic Living's editorial advisory board, is a founding partner of Alamo Diabetes Team, LLP in San Antonio.