How Many Calories Are in Sweet Potatoes?

It is very important to understand the foods you consume daily and weekly when planning your meals. While many foods may seem to be the healthy choice, and as a stand-alone food they are in fact just that. Always be aware of additives, such as sugars and fats when maintaining a healthy diet.

Sweet potatoes come in a number of varieties and are also referred to as a yam. These hearty plants usually thrive in the south, and include varieties such as the Covington, O Henry, and the Japanese. The yam can have the appearance of a white skin, or a red skin depending on the type you choose. While searching for calories in a sweet potato, calculate the margarine or butter you wish to add as well.

The calorie content of the sweet potato is between 103-111 calories will depend on the size of the potato. While the yam is generally a low calorie food item, many people add high fat content butter to it when preparing this food, as well as high calorie sugar. When served alone in its natural state is highly nutritious.

    • Baked – 180 calories or 200 grams, per 1 cup serving.
    • Raw – 103 calories or 114 grams, per medium size Sweet Potato.
    • Raw – 54 calories or 60 grams, per small size Sweet Potato.

Nutritional Facts

The yam contains vitamin B-6, as well as vitamin C and D, as well as the minerals iron and magnesium. The sweet potato alone is very healthy, when butter or margarine is added it can become unhealthy. The natural fat content in the yam is only 1g. Per serving, when adding butter to a large yam the fat content jumps to 140 with 139 fat g. per 1 ounce of butter, and 143 calories added from an ounce of butter alone. When considering how many calories are in any prepared dish, always add the calories for the butter or margarine; if used.

Health Benefits

Vitamin B-6 in the sweet potato offers the benefit of reducing the risk of degenerative diseases as well as heart disease. The health benefits of vitamin C include protection against certain types of cancer, as well as protective collagen that promotes healthy skin. Vitamin C offer immunity assistance from certain viruses such as the common cold and influenza. The yam offers a dose of iron that contains health benefits such as relief from fatigue, while at the same time promoting a healthy immune system. Health benefits from eating this super food, include healthy skin and healthy skin tone as well. Consider the health benefits as well when considering how many calories in sweet potatoes.

How to Store

When storing yams it is important to remember not to get them wet, simply wipe off the dirt. Place them in a bag with apples to prevent budding. Always keep sweet potatoes in a pantry or cellar in order to keep them cool and dry. Sweet potatoes left in a cool dry place can be kept for a month, however if stored in room temperature should be used within a week.

Smoothie Recipe

    • 1 Cup of pureed sweet potato ( canned or fresh)
    • 1 Cup of skim milk or soy milk
    • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
    • 1 tbsp. ground ginger
    • 1 tbsp. of ground nutmeg


Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until creamy smooth, pour into a large glass and top with a pitch of cinnamon and serve.

Understanding the foods you eat is not always easy and if you do not know the nutritional value of a food, you could be jeopardising your health and diet achievements.

African American Botanist Sowed Seeds of Good Health

There is a long list of “power foods,” and at the top of the heap you’ll find sweet potatoes and peanuts. Surprisingly the two have more in common than their popularity on the “hot” list. Both of the foodstuffs were studied by Dr. George Washington Carver who invented numerous uses for them. Carver was an African American botanist and inventor in Alabama during the early twentieth century. His life’s work focused on agriculture and these foods among others.

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Panel recently released its report that will be used as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) review the Recommended Dietary Guidelines for Americans (RDA), for the 2015 guideline update. The report advises:

  • A higher consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and nuts.
  • More plant-based foods that are generally lower in calories.
  • Consuming those nutrients counted as shortfall nutrients, including vitamins A, D, E and C, along with folate, calcium, magnesium, potassium and fiber.

Peanuts and sweet potatoes fall into the groups of food choices that the panel advises are beneficial for good health.

Peanuts in reality are legumes; they are in the same family as beans and lentils. They are an excellent source of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, unsaturated fat, vitamins and minerals. Peanuts are high in vitamin E, and folate, other vitamins include thiamin, niacin, riboflavin. Minerals include calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc. They do contain fat; however it is unsaturated which is the better-for-you fat. Calories from eating nuts can add up quickly but remember moderation is the key. The recommended serving is one-ounce, or about 28 peanuts.

These groundnuts can be enjoyed as snacks, as an ingredient in other dishes, or processed into peanut butter (invented by Dr. Carver). For those on vegetarian or vegan diets, peanuts are an excellent option.

The sweet potato itself is low-fat-it’s the ingredients we add that can tilt the scales in the opposite direction. The sweet potato is high in beta carotene and vitamins A and C. It is a good source of manganese which helps control blood sugar. The tuber is also an excellent source of antioxidants, carbohydrates and fiber. Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet tasting however the sugars are slowly released which aids in maintaining a consistent source of energy and avoiding a “avoiding a sugar rush” which can lead to fatigue and weight gain.

Sometimes referred to as the super spud, sweet potatoes are very versatile—they can be served baked, boiled, mashed or fried. You can also serve them raw and sliced to pair with and served raw with other vegetables as a snack with a low-fat dip.

In counseling clients I include both peanuts and sweet potatoes-they are readily available, easy to add to any meal plan, and most people like them. When Dr. Carver worked with them, his focus was on their benefit to improve the health of the soil where they were grown. Today we recognize the bonus of his work in boosting the health of both farmland and people.

Sweets After Weight Loss Sugery: Smart Choices

Sweets are a real problem for people who have undergone gastric bypass or lap-band weight loss surgery. Patients report feelings of loss for sweets and strong cravings. Yet patients know sweets pose several problems after weight loss surgery including dumping syndrome and weight gain. Patients who indulge in sweets not only get physically ill they also suffer feelings of failure and self-loathing for lack of will power.

According to Dr. David Katz in his book The Way to Eat a sweet tooth is not a matter of will power it is a matter of genetics. Early humans found sugar was a quick source of energy when they consumed it in the form of fruit, honey and sugar cane. So the tendency to like sweet is in our genetic code. But the difference today from then: sugar is now highly processed and in abundant supply.

Dieters consider sugar evil and blame sweets for weight gain. According to Dr. Katz “Sugary foods are often high-fat, calorie-dense foods as well; the pleasant taste of sugar stimulates high intake while the fat does much of the damage in terms of calories, weight gain and adverse health affects.”

I like that Dr. Katz’s attributes our genetic code for the sweet tooth – in my pre-WLS dieting life I considered myself a weak failure for having a sweet tooth. Unfortunately, my bariatric surgeon didn’t fix my genetic code for sweets. But what did happen during the early post-op and the weight loss phases is my interest in sweets waned. I believe once I was off the carb-fat-sugar roller coaster my body adapted to the more nutritional diet without processed sweets.

Limit Sugar For Health:
General health guidelines indicate we should limit sugar intake, particularly processed sugar. Dr. Katz advises “Make some general commitment about the acceptable place of sweet foods in your diet.” He adds, “Such a commitment is only as good as your follow-through, of course. But making decisions about tempting foods at a time other than when you are tempted is a good strategy in general.”

For WLS people with gastric bypass that commitment is firm – most patients will get sick (dumping) if they consume sugary products. Lap-band patients don’t live with that fear, they need some personal resolve to limit or avoid sugar products. For all of us the desire to maintain our weight loss should be a good motivator.

Sugar Substitutes:
So far we have two facts: 1- We are genetically coded to desire sweets and 2- We need to limit sugar intake for our health. Could two facts be more contradictory?

A variety of artificial sweeteners are available from the sugar alcohols (Sorbitol, Xylitol and Mannitol) that cause gas and bloating problems to the non-nutritive sweeteners such as Saccharine, Aspartame and Sucralose (Splenda). Dr. Andrew Weil, author of “The Healthy Kitchen” is concerned about the use of artificial sweeteners. In his book he says, “In the first place, there is no evidence that they help anyone lose weight, although that is why people use them…Second, most of them taste funny. And, most important, the highly popular ones may be harmful.” He sites studies that link Saccharin and Aspartamine to health problems.

Dr. Weil recommends sucralose, sold under the band name Splenda. He said, “It tastes better than aspartame and appears safer.”

Splenda, Sugar and WLS Diet:
In general nutritionists working with WLS patients agree Splenda is an acceptable sweetener for patients when used in moderation. (Moderation – that word comes up a lot in our WLS food discussions!)

Many recipes can be adjusted to use all Splenda or a blend of Splenda and sugar. Using a blend of sugar and Splenda produces the best results for texture and moistness yet cuts half of the calories and carbohydrates. Using all Splenda eliminates all sugar calories, however, some consumers say using all Splenda results in an unpleasant after taste and unappealing texture. Using all sugar is not an acceptable option for WLS patients for reasons already noted.

Knowledge, Moderation, Occasion
Ultimately, the key to including sweets in the WLS lifestyle is knowledge, moderation and occasion.

  • Know what is in the sweet product you are eating. Find sweets recipes that contain other nutritionally beneficial ingredients while eliminating or at least decreasing the sugar and fat.
  • Moderation: a small serving is fine. Scientific studies indicate a craving can be satiated with a modest portion eaten slowly and savored. I have found my occasional chocolate craving can be satiated with one Andes’ thin mint – think about it! One mint – 26 calories and 2.6 grams of sugar, 1.6 grams of fat.
  • Plan your occasions when you know you will indulge and then indulge wisely. Know the kind of sweetener used in your treat, know your serving size and know you will stop when that serving is consumed. At first it isn’t easy but with diligence planned occasional treats can be included in your WLS lifestyle.
  • Love your new diet:
    Finally, rather than focusing on all the beloved lost foods spend time enjoying and loving your new way of eating. Dr. Katz said, “Even though you were born to like sugar, if your diet shifts, step-by-step to one richer in nutrient-dense, calorie-dilute, natural foods, there will simply be less place for processed sugar in your diet.”