While frequently mistaken for each other, there are several differences between sweet potatoes and yams besides just their colors (sweet potatoes have bright yellow or orange flesh, and yams have pale flesh). Let’s look at their nutritional differences to help you determine which is healthier.
Sweet Potatoes Or Yams—Which Is The Healthier Starch Option?
At just 150 calories per 8 ounces, yams are slightly lower in calories than sweet potatoes (200 calories per 8-ounce serving).
If you’re looking for more protein, then you should opt for sweet potatoes. You’ll get 5 grams of protein for every 8-ounce serving vs. 2 grams of protein for every 8-ounce serving of yams.
While each is a healthy carbohydrate and both are awesome sources of fiber, sweet potatoes have a bit more fiber and more carbs vs. yams. With each 8-ounce serving, you’ll get 45 grams of carbs and 7.5 grams of fiber when eating sweet potatoes and 40 grams of carbs/5 grams of fiber for yams.
Both sweet potatoes and yams are very low in fat (less than half a gram per serving).
Vitamins and Minerals
Looking for healthy eyes and skin? Sweet potatoes offer more than 250 percent of your daily requirement of Vitamin A. Yams don’t even surpass 1 percent of this requirement. And while sweet potatoes offer more value than yams for other vitamins such as vitamin C, B6 and thiamine, both are still considered to be a good source of each. When looking at minerals, sweet potatoes edge out yams for copper and potassium.
So which is healthier—a sweet potato or yam? While sweet potatoes surpass yams in certain categories, it’s truly up to you and what your dietary needs entail. Both are great options—nutrient-dense foods low in fat as well as calories!
Written By: Blaire Rummel