It’s interesting how people can believe they are eating a certain food when in fact the truth is at the opposite pole.
In the case of the sweet potatoes vs yams war, these two vegetables are like twins: similar in apeareance but quite different on the inside.
Sweet Potatoes Vs Yams War
Let’s take each of these vegetables, see what they are, and in the end, compare them both in a table to see the actual differences.
What Exactly Is A Sweet Potato
The good old sweet potato is a sweet tasting vegetable, large and starchy, that has the origin coming from Central or South America.
It was first cultivated in America 5000 years ago and in South America, there were found some old potato remnants that were thought to be over 8000 years old.
Nowadays, sweet potatoes are cultivated in warm and tropical climates with the condition that sufficient water is available to support their growth.
The first mentions of a sweet potato as being a food crop was in Korea (1764) and Japan (1735).
Sweet potatoes have been a very important part of the general diet of Americans for a long time but nowadays, the average yearly consumption per capita in US is only about 2-3 kg – these figures are low but if you are like me, the numbers are way higher.
What Exactly Is A Yam
The yam is a common vegetable that’s similar with a sweet potato and that’s why there are so many people that mistake a yam with a sweet potato.
The yam is more popular in Carribean and Latin American markets and less popular in the common US markets.
The taste of a yam is in general sweeter than that of a sweet potato, and it was first discovered in America in 1676.
The yam tuber has a weird black/brown skin that is very similar to the bark of a tree.
They also contain more sugar when compared to the sweet potato (that’s why their taste is sweeter).
As you can see from the picture above, the differences between these two vegetables are not so big:
- Caloric content is a little higher in Yams with ~ +30 calories /100 grams
- Yams have a little more fiber +1g/100g
Nothing really ground breaking here
The biggest difference is the vitamin A content in sweet potatoes which is a lot higher than what you can find in a yam.
Vitamin A is a fat soluble vitamin that has many important functions in your body: optimizes cells in various parts of your eye, important for sperm development, placenta and ovaries and has an important part in cell reproduction.
Well, you can look for yourself at other differences in vitamin and mineral content – they are small
I really suggest you not to base your judge on the simple fact that sweet potatoes have higher vitamin A content because vitamin A is pretty common.
Before we rush into the conclusion, let’s see some of the more “technical” aspects when comparing sweet potatoes vs yams:
Which One Is Better?
Well, I believe that many people will expect a final answer, something like: “this type of potato is better than this because…”.
The real answer is: IT DEPENDS.
If you are interested in the differences between these two vegetables when looking at their effects on body composition, then you can eat whichever because at the end of the day, how many calories you eat will dictate the outcome, not some silly war between two vegetables.
If you look at them when it comes to “health benefits”, both of them are considered “healthy foods“
Yams have a slightly higher caloric content because of their additional sugar but they are a little sweeter.
In the end, the answer is to eat what you enjoy.