Okay, so if you’ve been reading or following along with my articles, you have a pretty good idea of how much I love sweet potatoes. So today I’ve decided to make my case for why they’re my favorite food, so that you too may fall in love with them.
As a general rule you want to eat a high fat diet where your body runs on ketones (the organic compounds produced when the body burns fat for fuel), as opposed to a high carb diet, where your body runs on glucose. But athletes (and women) do need more carbs than non-athletes (or men), and this is where sweet potatoes come in handy.
Many people are scared of sweet potatoes because they are… well, quite sweet. In the case of sugary fruits, which have high fructose content, when you overeat them, this fructose gets send to your liver and gets stored as fat, due to a spike in insulin.
Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, are not only PACKED with nutrients (such as *beta-carotene, manganese, and copper), but are are low in fructose. This means they get processed by every cell in your body, rather than causing that insulin spike.
Remember to keep the skins on whenever you eat sweet potatoes, as they contribute to significant amounts of fiber, potassium, and quercetin! Sweet potatoes were one of the foods I started eating before bed to keep my blood sugar from dropping so low that it would wake me up too early, still groggy, and unable to fall back asleep. They can also aid in weight-loss (or weight gain, depending on how you time them), athletic recovery, brain function, inflammation, etc.
*Note that beta-carotene is not the same as vitamin A, although the two are commonly, incorrectly, used interchangeably. Beta-carotene gets converted into vitamin A in the body, but not very efficiently, so it is important to try to get enough, already converted, vitamin A in your diet, which may need to be done through supplementation, as this can be difficult to achieve.
Another important thing to note is how you cook sweet potatoes. As a general rule, the less cooked, the slower the release of energy. So if you’re eating a sweet potato in the middle of the day, you would want to cook it less than if you were eating it during or after a workout. Lots of fat also slows the uptake of carbs. So if you want that super cooked sweet potato, that taste like dessert, just falls apart in your mouth, and is dripping in butter and cinnamon, the best time to eat it would be 15-30 min after a workout to replenish glycogen levels in cells without the insulin spike.
Now that I’ve got you hyped on sweet potatoes, here are some of my favorite sweet potato recipes:
Paleo: Grilled Chipotle Chicken Sweet Potatoes
Snack Attack: Garlic Dill Sweet Potato Wedges
Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet Potato Spaghetti
Sweet Potato & Kale Hash With A Fried Egg
What’s you’re favorite food (there’s only one right answer btw)?