Sweet potatoes are frequently touted as being the “healthier” potato, so it is no surprise you might be wondering: are sweet potatoes lower in carbs? How many carbs in sweet potato? More importantly, is sweet potato keto-friendly?
Carbs in Sweet Potato
The best way to figure out the carb count in various foods is to do what I do best; look at the data! It is always important to listen to your body, but numbers don’t lie. And believe me, these numbers can make your life much easier.
In 100 grams of cooked, baked in skin, sweet potato flesh, there are 20.71 grams of carbohydrates (per USDA). In that same 100 grams, there is 3.3 grams of fiber and 6.48 grams of sugar.
To make it easier, a medium sweet potato is 5” long and 2” in diameter. A medium sweet potato weighs around 114 grams. This means the flesh of one baked sweet potato is 23.61 total carbs, with 3.8 grams of fiber and 7.39 grams of sugar.
Sweet Potato Net Carbs
To figure out the net carbs in sweet potato, we subtract the total fiber from the total carbs. Simple enough, right?
Based on the previous information, this means that 100 grams of sweet potato will have 17.41 net carbs.
A medium, 5” sweet potato will have roughly 19.81 net carbs. A sweet potato nutritional chart is provided below.
Is sweet potato okay on a low carb diet?
Depending on where you are at in your keto journey, your daily net carbohydrates will most likely fall somewhere between 20 grams and 50 grams.
What does this mean for you? One medium sweet potato could take up your entire carb limit for the day or even send you over the limit! Because of this, sweet potatoes are going to have to fall in the “not okay” category. Eating sweet potatoes puts you at risk of preventing ketosis from occurring.
Is sweet potato better than regular potato?
There is a reason that sweet potatoes are frequently found in healthy eating, even if they don’t have a place in the keto diet. Looking at it from a purely potato standpoint, the bright orange flesh isn’t just prettier than a regular ol’ potato.
In the ultimate battle between sweet potato versus potato, sweet potato is the winner (though it was a close call!). In comparing 100 grams of each, sweet potatoes have less total carbohydrates, more fiber, and less calories than potatoes. If your life mission is to find the perfect potato, sweet potatoes are a top contender.
Calories in Sweet Potato
In a dream world, calorie would just be an obscure word in the dictionary that had zero meaning to anyone’s life. In the real world, not so much. Whether the goal is losing, maintaining, or gaining weight, calories play a big role. So what do sweet potato calories look like?
- There are 90 calories in 100 grams of sweet potato.
- There are 103 calories in a medium sweet potato.
From a completely non-low carb standpoint, these numbers look pretty good.
Sweet Potato Keto Substitutes
Life can be hard, but food shouldn’t make it harder. If you are missing sweet potatoes in your keto diet, you have some options to achieve similar taste, texture, or nutritional benefits.
You may not be able to create an exact flavor replica of sweet potatoes; however, you do have some options! Pumpkin, carrot, and butternut squash will provide a similar experience with fewer carbs. Like sweet potatoes, these vegetables provide a natural sweetness. Remember, sweet potatoes have 20g of carbs per 100 grams. Pumpkin only has 7g total carbs per 100 grams. Carrots are a bit higher at 10g total carbs per 100 grams. Butternut squash has 12g total carbs per 100 grams. While they aren’t completely carb-free, these choices are definitely more keto friendly!
If you are desperate for that sweet potato flavor and these options just aren’t cutting it for you, try sweet potato extract. Because extract is highly concentrated, a little goes a long way.
If you are looking for the sweet potato texture, try cauliflower, rutabaga, or jicama. Each of these vegetables has less than 10g of total carbohydrates per 100 grams. These alternatives might lack the sweetness, but that can be improved with the addition of a low carb sweetener. You could even go so far as to add sweet potato extract to one of these options to greater improve the similarities.
Sweet Potato Nutrition
We've calculated the carbs in sweet potato, but what does the nutrition in a sweet potato really look like?
Sweet potatoes are absolutely loaded with that sweet, sweet Vitamin A. And some Vitamin B-6. And some Potassium, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Iron, and Calcium. Basically, sweet potatoes are full of good things.
Don’t let that get you down though! There are plenty of low-carb foods that will achieve your micronutrient dreams.
Low carb foods that feature similar nutritional benefits to sweet potatoes include: liver, turkey giblets, carrots, pumpkin, butternut squash, spinach, mustard greens, turnip greens, dandelion greens, collards, and swiss chard.
Sweet Potato Nutrition Per USDA
|Nutrient||Unit||1Value per 100 g||1 cup = 200.0g||1 large = 180.0g||1 medium (2" dia, 5" long, raw) = 114.0g||1 small = 60.0g|
|Total lipid (fat)||g||0.15||0.3||0.27||0.17||0.09|
|Carbohydrate, by difference||g||20.71||41.42||37.28||23.61||12.43|
|Fiber, total dietary||g||3.3||6.6||5.9||3.8||2|
|Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid||mg||19.6||39.2||35.3||22.3||11.8|
|Vitamin A, RAE||µg||961||1922||1730||1096||577|
|Vitamin A, IU||IU||19218||38436||34592||21909||11531|
|Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)||mg||0.71||1.42||1.28||0.81||0.43|
|Vitamin D (D2 + D3)||µg||0||0||0||0||0|
|Vitamin K (phylloquinone)||µg||2.3||4.6||4.1||2.6||1.4|
|Fatty acids, total saturated||g||0.052||0.104||0.094||0.059||0.031|
|Fatty acids, total monounsaturated||g||0.002||0.004||0.004||0.002||0.001|
|Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated||g||0.092||0.184||0.166||0.105||0.055|
|Fatty acids, total trans||g||0||0||0||0||0|
Hi, I'm Tasha–nutritionist, recipe developer, and multi-published cookbook author.
HI! It's Memorial Day and I'm already stressing about Thanksgiving, that I am hosting. Only one other person attending will be Keto with me. Everyone else will be expecting all the regular high carb dishes, for instance Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Praline top. It's not Thanksgiving around here without it. I'm fairly sure I can duplicate the topping Substituting almond flour and Swerve Brown Sugar Substitute. The Amoretti SP Extract is $30 and I love my people but I assure you I'm not buying that. Do you think going 50/50 with pumpkin and butternut squash will fool anyone? Maybe I should just make a mini one for my 1 keto guest and me, and the regular one for the rest of them. Any help with Keto holiday dishes will be much appreciated! I have company coming at least 3 different times this Summer. Yikes!
BTW I love so many of your recipes! Thanks so much for taking this venture on for us struggling at home to succeed!
If you cook any starches ie potatoe, sweet potatoe, pasta, rice etc leave it in the fridge overnight and eat it the next day. This will mean it transforms into resistant starch and effectively cuts the carb/calories in half. If you are not doing super strict keto you may be able to eat sweet potatoe this way.
Tasha Metcalf says
Thank you for taking the time to comment and add to the conversation!
I hadn't considered this, but it's certainly worth looking into further. I found this article that explores the concept: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0144861799001472
Hopefully I'll have time soon to do a deep dive and add more info to the post for other readers. Thanks again!
Van R McCardle says
Found you my chance and really loved the information you provide on diet.