Sweet Potato VS Yam

Aren’t sweet potatoes the same thing as yams? No, they’re actually not and in this case, the perception is not the reality. The nutritional debate between sweet potatoes vs. yams is characterized by misinformation, carbo-phobia, and baseless interpretation. As one of the most common nutritional misconceptions, sweet potatoes are not the same thing as yams. We’re going to examine the nutritional differences between yams and sweet potatoes and their individual benefits so you can decide which one you want in your diet.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a sweet, starchy, and fibrous root vegetable. They come in a variety of oblong shapes and sizes, including orange, purple, and white, and are rich in antioxidants, minerals, and fiber.

Sweet Potato Benefits

One of the biggest sweet potatoes benefits is that they are rich in antioxidants, particularly beta-carotene which helps relegate free radical damage and oxidative stress. Free radicals have been linked to chronic disease states including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Including antioxidant-rich foods in your diet, can help negate these harmful effects, and provide influential health benefits [R].

Beta-carotene is also very effective at raising blood plasma levels of Vitamin A. Vitamin A supports healthy vision and is used by the body to form light-detecting receptors in the eye [R].

Sweet potatoes are also rich in soluble and insoluble fiber, with nearly 7g per cup. Fiber is not absorbed and passes straight through your digestive tract, meaning that it will not spike blood glucose levels, like simple carbohydrates. More fiber in your diet can help reduce your chances for heart disease, improve digestive health, and fight obesity, and colon cancer [R, R]

RELATED ARTICLE 12 Fiber-Rich Foods That Will Improve Your Gut Health

Purple sweet potatoes are unique and contain a powerful antioxidant called Anthocyanins. Animal studies have shown that Anthocyanins may improve memory and learning aptitude [R].


Often times mistaken for sweet potatoes, yams are a distinctly different species altogether. Yams are less sweet and more starchy than sweet potatoes. Yams have an exterior that resembles bark on a tree and an inside flesh that comes in a variety of different colors namely white, yellow, purple, or pink. One cup boasts 5g of fiber, which also makes them a great source of fiber to improve digestive health and keep you fuller for a longer period of time.

Yams Benefits

Like sweet potatoes, the benefits of yams are that they are a great complex carbohydrate and a source of fiber. Yams are also a great source of B-complex vitamins, which have a direct impact on your energy levels, brain function, and cell metabolism. 92% of Americans have vitamin deficiencies, with B vitamins being one of the most common, therefore including yams in your diet, is a great way to increase your vitamins and micronutrients.  

Sweet Potato Vs. Yams – Nutritional Comparison























Vitamin A

796% DV

Vitamin A

8% DV

Vitamin B6

30% DV

Vitamin B6

25% DV

Vitamin C

 65% DV

Vitamin C

29% DV


50% DV


22% DV


27% DV


19% DV


Sweet Potato Vs. Yams – Similarities And Differences

Both sweet potatoes and yams are a great source of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are the preferred type of carbohydrates when you’re looking to improve body composition, improve weight loss, or increase muscle gain. Complex carbs such as sweet potatoes and yams provide longer-lasting sustained energy as compared to simple carbohydrates, which can cause spikes in blood glucose contributing to energy crash and weight gain.  

Both are also excellent sources of fiber contributing to better digestive health. Sweet potatoes and yams also both fall right in the middle of the glycemic index causing a slower rise in blood sugar and improved satiety. Less processed and higher-fiber foods are generally lower on the glycemic index, therefore including foods such as sweet potatoes and yams in your diet will improve energy levels and improve body composition.

In summary, studies suggest that sweet potatoes and yams have both been shown to  

  • Improve brain function [R]
  • Have anti-cancer properties [R, R]
  • Reduce inflammation [R]
  • Improve digestive health
  • Aid in weight loss [R]
  • Improve energy levels
  • Control blood sugar levels

Sweet Potatoes Vs. Yams - Taste

Sweet potatoes are naturally sweeter than yams and have a rich and savory taste. However, a majority of people do not like the taste of yams, or sweet potatoes and prefer eating regular potatoes, such as russet, or Yukon potatoes. If you don't enjoy the taste of sweet potatoes, or yams, yet would like to include them in your diet, try out Clean Carbs.

Clean carbs are made with sweet potatoes, yams, oats, and blueberries, packed in tons of vitamins, nutrients, antioxidants, and minerals. And most importantly, they taste delicious. It's an easy way to get your complex carbs in to help with energy, exercise recovery, and improved body composition. 


Sweet Potatoes Vs. Yams – Which One Is Better? 

Interpreted strictly on a nutritional basis, sweet potatoes provide more nutrition and benefits than yams. They contain more Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Fiber, and Protein. That does not however mean that Yams are a bad source of those vitamins and minerals. The bottom line is that both sweet potatoes and yams are excellent sources of fiber and nutrients, and have been linked to numerous health benefits. Including either sweet potatoes or yams in your diet, is an effective way to control appetite, improve energy, and improve your body composition.  

Ready To Add Some Complex Carbs To Your Diet?

Your body needs carbohydrates for optimal performance and recovery during high-intensity and endurance training. But, not all carbohydrates are created equal. Swolverine's Clean Carbs is made with 100% natural whole-foods from complex carbohydrates, including Sweet potatoes, Yams, Oats, and Blueberries to provide the long-lasting and sustained energy your body needs to fuel performance and optimize recovery. Delicious and rich you can add it to your smoothies, shakes, or mix with water, for a rich and tasty treat.


We believe that everyone can optimize not only their athletic performance but their human potential. The way we believe we can optimize performance is through transparency, clinically effective doses, and clinically proven ingredients with evidence-based outcomes. We provide the nutrients you need to power your active lifestyle.



Rautenbach F, Faber M, Laurie S, Laurie R. Antioxidant capacity and antioxidant content in roots of 4 sweetpotato varieties. J Food Sci. 2010 Jun;75(5):C400-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01631.x. PMID: 20629859.

Lim S, Xu J, Kim J, Chen TY, Su X, Standard J, Carey E, Griffin J, Herndon B, Katz B, Tomich J, Wang W. Role of anthocyanin-enriched purple-fleshed sweet potato p40 in colorectal cancer prevention. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2013 Nov;57(11):1908-17. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201300040. Epub 2013 Jun 19. PMID: 23784800; PMCID: PMC3980565

Slavin JL. Dietary fiber and body weight. Nutrition. 2005 Mar;21(3):411-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2004.08.018. PMID: 15797686.

Tohda, Chihiro et al. “Diosgenin-Rich Yam Extract Enhances Cognitive Function: A Placebo-Controlled, Randomized, Double-Blind, Crossover Study of Healthy Adults.” Nutrients vol. 9,10 1160. 24 Oct. 2017, doi:10.3390/nu9101160

Dawson MI. The importance of vitamin A in nutrition. Curr Pharm Des. 2000 Feb;6(3):311-25. doi: 10.2174/1381612003401190. PMID: 10637381.

Cho J, Kang JS, Long PH, Jing J, Back Y, Chung KS. Antioxidant and memory enhancing effects of purple sweet potato anthocyanin and cordyceps mushroom extract. Arch Pharm Res. 2003 Oct;26(10):821-5. doi: 10.1007/BF02980027. PMID: 14609130.

Li WL, Yu HY, Zhang XJ, Ke M, Hong T. Purple sweet potato anthocyanin exerts antitumor effect in bladder cancer. Oncol Rep. 2018 Jul;40(1):73-82. doi: 10.3892/or.2018.6421. Epub 2018 May 8. PMID: 29749527; PMCID: PMC6059756.

Shin, Mee-Young et al. “The supplementation of yam powder products can give the nutritional benefits of the antioxidant mineral (cu, zn, mn, fe and se) intakes.” Preventive nutrition and food science vol. 17,4 (2012): 299-305. doi:10.3746/pnf.2012.17.4.299

Gregor MF, Hotamisligil GS. Inflammatory mechanisms in obesity. Annu Rev Immunol. 2011;29:415-45. doi: 10.1146/annurev-immunol-031210-101322. PMID: 21219177.


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