Yams Vs. Sweet Potatoes: Yes, There Is A Difference



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If you’re like me, at first glance you can’t tell the difference between a yam and a sweet potato. They both are orange on the inside and both taste great in a pie or mashed or in a casserole. Even though they may look the same, technically, they’re two different vegetables–especially how your body digests them.

Yams sold in the United States are actually a type of sweet potato. Sweet potatoes originated in South America and are grown in the United States. True yams are native to Africa and are seldom sold in your local grocery store. The two potatoes also do not share similar carbohydrate profiles. As a result, sweet potatoes boost blood sugar, while yams help keep it balanced.

After you eat sweet potatoes and yams, their carbohydrates are digested into simple sugars that enter your bloodstream, causing a post-meal boost in blood sugar. For most people, this isn’t a problem because insulin escorts sugar into cells, which returns blood levels to normal. However, if you have health conditions that interfere with normal secretion or use of insulin — insulin resistance, prediabetes or diabetes — your body struggles to …