Here's What Happens to Your Body if You Eat Sweet Potatoes Every Day

If sweet potatoes are your favorite food group, it's easy to see why. This root vegetable is rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, and lends itself to so many different recipes, from power bowls and healthified sweet potato fries to sweet potato toasts for breakfast. They also make for a filling lunch or snack on their own, simply roasted and topped with your choice of mix-ins.

More reasons we love them? Sweet potatoes will stay nice and fresh on your countertop or in a dark place until you're ready to use them, and they're a super cheap ingredient that can be tossed into casseroles, soups and stews to be frozen or consumed later on. It's the ultimate meal prep pantry item—and a delicious one at that.

A starchy, sweeter cousin to the average white potato, these tuberous spuds seem superior on every level, but what happens to your body if you eat sweet potatoes every day? We spoke with registered dieticians and nutrition experts to find out.

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What Happens to Your Body if You Eat Sweet Potatoes Every Day?

According to Kaytee Hadley, MSc, RDN, IFMCP, CPT, a functional medicine dietitian and founder of Holistic Health and Wellness in Richmond, Virginia, eating sweet potatoes daily is a great way to get your vitamin A dose. "45 percent of American adults don’t get enough vitamin A daily, which can decrease immune system function and cause vision problems," she explains. "Fortunately, a single sweet potato contains more than the daily requirement for vitamin A in the form of beta-carotene, so even if you didn’t eat any other vitamin A-rich foods, you’d still meet your body’s minimum need."

Upping your sweet potato consumption can strengthen your immune system by boosting your vitamin A levels, says Hadley, which means you will get sick less often and recover faster when you do. And more good news for sweet spud lovers: you will be more regular. "Their fiber content can help prevent constipation," shares Vandana Sheth, RDN, CDCES, FAND, a registered dietitian nutritionist and author of My Indian Table: Quick & Tasty Vegetarian Recipes.

Other reasons she cosigns the daily sweet potato pledge are:

  • You may feel fuller and longer.

  • They may help lower blood pressure and improve heart health.

  • They can help with blood sugar balance. ("Sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index and won’t cause a quick spike in blood sugar compared to other refined carbs," she says.)

  • They may help decrease inflammation because they contain anti-inflammatory compounds.

  • They may help reduce the risk of some types of cancer, such as bladder cancer. According to a recent study, purple sweet potatoes have been shown to have antitumor abilities.

What's the Difference Between Yams and Sweet Potatoes?

While yams and sweet potatoes may seem interchangeable given their similar coloring, shape and nutritional profile, there are a few key exceptions. "They are both good sources of B vitamins and have about 3 grams of gut-healthy fiber per serving," says Hadley. "However, yams do not have the same high level of vitamin A that sweet potatoes contain." She also notes that yams have more potassium, making sweet potatoes a better option for people with kidney disease who need to limit this nutrient.

Related: 50 Easy Sweet Potato Recipes for the Holidays

What Happens if You Eat Too Many Sweet Potatoes?

If you've been on a sweet potato kick lately, adding them to breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert (we see you, sweet potato casserole), you may be wondering if you're consuming too many 'taters. While Hadley says it’s practically impossible to overdose on vitamin A from plants, it is possible for your skin to turn orange—a condition otherwise known as carotenemia.

"Some people have a specific genetic variation that makes it difficult for their body to convert beta-carotene to the active form of vitamin A, which causes a buildup and turns the skin a yellowish-orange hue," she explains. The first signs of this are usually around the palms of the hands, bottoms of the feet and around the nostrils. "This inability to make enough vitamin A (or simply not eating enough foods rich in this nutrient) is also one of the reasons that people develop bumps on the back of their arms, known as 'keratosis pilaris,'” she adds.

Not into Oompa-Loompa skin? Hadley says the key to avoiding this is to eat plenty of plants rich in beta-carotene and get the active form of vitamin A in some animal products or through supplementation.

Will You Lose Weight if You Eat Sweet Potatoes Every Day?

"Since sweet potatoes are high in fiber and water content, they promote an increased feeling of fullness and potentially help with weight loss," shares Sheth.

Hadley agrees, saying, "Contrary to popular opinion, sweet potatoes can be a part of a well-rounded, nourishing eating pattern promoting weight loss." Her #1 tip for this is to make sure you balance your plate with other colorful food groups besides sweet potato. "The colors in food represent the nutrients that they contain and sweet potatoes provide the vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients of orange foods, so be sure to include green, yellow, red, blue and brown foods during the day as well."

While no specific amount of sweet potatoes is recommended, Sheth encourages her clients to enjoy no more than one sweet potato daily to allow for various other vegetables in their diet.

The Healthiest Ways To Eat Sweet Potatoes

Don't get us wrong; we love sweet potato fries, but if you're eating one sweet potato a day, this isn't the best way to digest them—especially if frying is involved. Hadley suggests eating sweet potatoes with heart-healthy fats because vitamin A is a "fat-soluble" nutrient. "Pairing sweet potatoes with a source of healthy fats allows the body to utilize the nutrients better," she explains. "Olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds are all great options to pair with sweet potatoes and protein."

Next up: What Happens to Your Body if You Eat Peanut Butter Every Day?