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Calorie Count for Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are probably most often thought of as that yummy side dish at Thanksgiving dinner with all the nuts, brown sugar and marshmallows, but sweet potatoes can be a lot more than a once-a-year treat. Whether you find them fresh, canned or made into chips, sweet potatoes offer a tasty, nutritious food that is filling, high in fiber and modest in calories.

Calorie Counts

Fresh sweet potatoes can be eaten baked in their own skin. If prepared that way, a 1 cup serving has 184 calories. Canned sweet potatoes can be purchased plain, but are often packed in syrup. If they are canned with syrup, the calorie count increases to 203 per cup. While sweet potato chips are an unusual and reasonably nutritious snack, they are much higher in calories than either fresh or canned potatoes, at 281 calories for a 2 oz. serving, which is a similar amount of dry potato weight to the fresh and canned.

Fat Content

The reason sweet potato chips have so many more calories is, of course, because they are fried. The high level of starch in a potato readily absorbs the frying medium so that the 2 oz. serving of chips contains a whopping 14 grams of fat, the equivalent of more than 1 tbsp. of oil. A fresh sweet potato, on the other hand, will have only the natural fat found in this vegetable, which is minimal. There is less than a gram of fat in a cup of plain, fresh, or even syrup-packed canned sweet potatoes.

Carbohydrate Content

Sweet potatoes are certainly no friend to the low carbohydrate dieter, however, as they contain, in any form, a hefty serving of starch. The fresh potatoes have about 41 grams of carbohydrate in a 1 cup serving, while the syrup-packed variety have just slightly more at 47.7, due to the highly concentrated sugars found in the added sweetener. The sweet potato chips, on the other hand, actually have fewer grams of carbohydrate, because a larger percentage of their weight comes from fat. The gram count on these is 36.8 in a 2 oz. serving.

Sweet potatoes also offer a healthy serving of dietary fiber. The fresh ones include 6.6 grams of fiber in a 1 cup serving; the canned have only a little less at 5.7 grams, while the fried chips have only 1 gram per ounce, for a total of 2 grams in a 2 oz. serving.

Protein Content

Unlike some vegetables, which have only a nominal amount of protein, sweet potatoes have a decent protein content. There are 4 grams in a cupful of fresh potato, and 2.2 grams in a cup of canned. Even the chips have 2 grams of protein per 2 oz. serving.

Sweet Potato Nutrition Summary

While fresh sweet potatoes may require a little time to prepare in the oven or on the stove, canned sweet potatoes, or even sweet potato chips are a snap, and all offer a flavorful and colorful way to sneak a little extra nutrition into your diet. If you don't mind the higher carbohydrate content, you can count on sweet potatoes as a way to add fiber and protein to your daily intake with very little fat and a reasonable calorie count.

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