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The benefits of eating sweet potatoes for weight loss

Sweet potatoes may be a great addition to your diet if you’re looking to lose weight.

Is Sweet Potato Good For Weight Loss? | Juniper

We know eating plenty of fruit and veg is good for your health, but what about sweet potato in particular?

The humble sweet potato is touted by many as a superfood, packed with vitamins and minerals and able to provide loads of health benefits, including reducing inflammation and boosting immunity.

Sweet potatoes may also be a great addition to your diet if you’re looking to lose weight. Here’s why.

Nutritional facts of sweet potato

There’s lots to love about sweet potato, nutritionally speaking. It’s high in vitamins A, B6 and C, contains good amounts of potassium, fibre and iron, and is low in fat and energy (1 cup of cooked sweet potato delivers about 180 calories) [1][2].

However, there is some difference between the various colours of sweet potato — which comes in shades of orange, yellow, cream, and purple. The orange variety is especially high in carotenoids, while the purple type is higher in anthocyanins [1].

These 2 phytonutrients are what give the different kinds of sweet potato their colour: carotenoids provide orange and yellow pigments and anthocyanins give fruits and veg a purple-blue hue. Each has distinct health benefits, too, which we’ll go into a little further down.

What are the health benefits of sweet potatoes?

Thanks to its high vitamin and nutrient content, sweet potato offers a bunch of health benefits, including:

It’s beneficial for eye health

Sweet potato is high in the carotenoid known as beta-carotene — particularly the orange type of sweet potato. Beta-carotene gets converted to vitamin A when it enters the body, an essential vitamin when it comes to maintaining eye health, eye function, and vision [3].

Eating just 1 cup of sweet potato delivers 1920mcg of vitamin A, or about 274% of your recommended daily intake of 700mg if you’re a woman [2][4].

It can support your immunity

Vitamin A is also crucial for supporting your immune system, as is another vitamin that sweet potato has in abundance: vitamin C.

Vitamin C plays a key role in immunity by supporting the function of the epithelial barrier (found in your intestine) to ward off pathogens, aiding your skin when it comes to fighting oxidants, and even killing off microbes. On the other hand, a lack of vitamin C can worsen your immunity and create a higher risk of infections [5].

In a cup of sweet potato, there’s 39.2mg of vitamin C — just over half the recommended daily intake of 75mg for women [2][6].

It has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer powers

The carotenoids in sweet potatoes offer numerous health benefits. 

They’re anti-inflammatory, they act as antioxidants, they can protect your cardiovascular system and boost your brain power, and they may even have anticancer properties. In fact, different studies have shown that purple sweet potato extract has the potential to inhibit the growth of cancer cells in several types of cancer [7].

Is a sweet potato good for weight loss?

Absolutely. Besides their health benefits, sweet potatoes are a great addition to any weight loss diet.

First up, they’re very high in fibre — especially soluble fibre. Soluble fibre is excellent because it slows down your digestion and helps you feel full, which can curb the urge to snack between meals. Research shows that getting just 30g of fibre each day can help with weight loss, and 1 cup of sweet potato contains 6.6g [2][8].

Eating less also reduces your overall calorie intake. Losing weight is usually as simple as consuming fewer calories than you burn, resulting in what’s called a ‘calorie deficit’. Sweet potato is beneficial on both fronts because it makes you feel full but doesn’t contain a huge number of calories.

Can sweet potato help you burn stomach fat?

The stomach is a common target among those trying to lose weight, often because it’s where excess fat accumulates. There are several reasons for this, including genetics, getting older, stress, and hormonal changes.

Stomach fat is problematic because it’s mostly made up of visceral fat, which lies around your organs and increases your risk of certain health problems including heart disease, stroke, and several types of cancer [9].

We’re sorry to be the bearers of bad news, though: there’s no one single food that’ll make belly fat disappear. However, you can look to improve your diet as a way to reduce your overall weight, including around your mid-section [10].

As we know, sweet potato has several benefits that make it worth including in your weight loss diet. So, by incorporating it into healthy meals and watching your portion sizes, you may find that it does support your weight loss goals and results in getting rid of unwanted belly fat.

Are sweet potatoes better than regular potatoes for weight loss?

Wondering whether you should opt for regular or sweet potatoes when trying to lose weight?

It’s first worth noting that sweet potatoes and regular white potatoes aren’t technically the same kind of vegetable. Sweet potatoes are root vegetables that sit in the morning glory family, whereas regular potatoes are tubers within the nightshade family. Sweet potatoes aren’t the same as yams, either; these are edible tubers from the lily family.

As far as weight loss goes, there are also some key differences. Sweet potatoes contain more fibre and are lower in calories, potentially making them more beneficial for losing weight.

All of this being said, you don’t want to go overboard with sweet potato. Just like regular white potato, it has a high glycemic index and glycemic load, which basically means it contains a large amount of glucose in each serving and can make your blood sugar rise pretty rapidly [1][11].

This fires up your pancreas to release more insulin, which then drops rapidly, and in turn, encourages cravings and overeating, potentially resulting in weight gain [12].

Can you eat sweet potatoes every day?

You sure can. But, for the sake of ensuring you meet your nutritional needs, you ideally don’t want to rely on sweet potatoes as your only vegetable. Instead, try to maintain a diverse diet that includes all kinds of foods, including vegetables, so you’re getting a variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.

You also want to keep portion sizes in mind. One sweet potato about the size of your fist is considered a single serving of vegetables, so you probably don’t need to eat any more than that [13].

What is the healthiest way to eat sweet potatoes?

Needless to say, loading it up with sour cream, bacon and cheese, or deep-frying it to make sweet potato fries, aren’t exactly the healthiest ways to eat sweet potato. However, these cooking methods are.

Steamed or boiled

Steaming and boiling are both quick and easy ways to prepare sweet potatoes. They also don’t require the use of any fat.

Simply chop your sweet potato into cubes, then place it into a steamer basket over a pot of boiling water, or directly into a pot of water. Once the sweet potato cubes are fully cooked through, remove from the heat and drain.

You can use the steamed or boiled sweet potato in myriad ways: in a salad, mashed (ideally with minimal other ingredients), or as an addition to soups and stews.


Microwaving a sweet potato is another way to avoid added fat. You just need to prick a whole sweet potato with a fork several times, pop it on a plate, and then microwave it for 5 or so minutes.

You can then use your sweet potato as a side or top it with healthy toppings (think beans and other veg, avocado or yoghurt) to create a loaded sweet potato.


You can bake sweet potato whole or chop it up.

If leaving whole, prick the potato several times with a fork and place it in a 200°C oven for an hour – there’s no need to use oil.

If you’re chopping up your sweet potato, use a little olive oil to coat the pieces and bake at 200°C for 30-40 minutes.


Yep, that’s right! While sweet potato is most often served cooked, it’s perfectly safe to eat raw. 

However, you might want to cut it into very small chunks or grate it first, as raw sweet potato can be tough to digest. You can use then it in a salad or slaw, or even throw some into your smoothies.

Used in place of white potatoes

Given its higher fibre content and lower calorie count, you might be inclined to use sweet potato instead of white potatoes in certain recipes.

Sweet potatoes make brilliant oven-baked chips and mash, can be put in potato bakes and rissoles, and used for loaded potatoes.

Looking to lose weight?

By now, you probably know that sweet potato can be a fantastic addition to your weight loss diet. But how exactly do you go about establishing that weight loss diet?

This is where Juniper’s Weight Reset Programme comes in.

The programme gives you access to a team of weight loss experts, including dietitians, clinicians and health coaches, who deliver the knowledge and guidance you need to navigate your weight loss journey, including what you eat. 

As part of the programme, and if eligible, you'll also receive breakthrough GLP-1 weight loss medication delivered to your door, which has the potential to help you lose up to 20% of your body weight in just 16 months.

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