A ketogenic, or keto, diet is a diet that is high in fat, moderate in protein, and very low in carbohydrates, and is used to treat a variety of diseases, including epilepsy, obesity, and diabetes.
Given that it is very carbohydrate-limited, many people wonder if high-carbohydrate foods, such as sweet potato (or sweet potato), can still be included in the keto diet.
This article discusses whether you can still eat sweet potato on keto.
One of the main goals of a ketogenic diet is to help your body switch to ketosis.
Ketosis is a metabolic condition in which your body relies on energy produced from fats, not carbohydrates, to perform all its basic functions.
When you consume a varied diet, your body by default uses glucose – a type of carbohydrate – as the main source of fuel. But when carbohydrates are unavailable, your body produces energy from fatty compounds called ketones ( 1 ).
Your body’s ability to maintain ketosis depends on a lack of dietary carbohydrates. If you consume too many carbohydrates, your body returns to using glucose for energy, thereby saving you from ketosis.
This is why many types of foods high in carbohydrates, including starchy vegetables such as sweet potato, are generally considered banned on a ketogenic diet.
However, the extent to which a person needs to limit their total carbohydrate intake to maintain ketosis can vary.
Most people on a ketogenic diet limit their carbohydrate intake to no more than 5–10% of their daily calorie needs, or a maximum of 50 grams. carbohydrates per day ( 2 ).
How exactly you get into this spectrum depends on how easily your body enters and leaves ketosis.
A very low carbohydrate intake is very important for maintaining ketosis while following a keto diet. This is why many people choose to exclude sweet potato keto.
Sweet potato contains a lot of carbohydrates
Sweet potato is a type of starchy root crop that is often excluded from the ketogenic diet due to its high carbohydrate content.
However, with proper planning, some people can still successfully include small portions of sweet potato in the keto diet.
A medium-sized sweet potato (150 grams) contains a total of 26 grams of carbohydrates. After subtracting 4 grams derived from fiber, you get a net value of about 21 grams of carbohydrates per fetus ( 3 ).
If you follow a keto diet that limits you to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day, you can spend about 42% carbohydrates on a whole sweet potato if you want.
You can also consider splitting the sweet potato into smaller portions to further reduce your carbohydrate intake, without completely eliminating it from your diet.
However, if you follow a diet that requires a much lower carbohydrate limit, even a very small portion of sweet potato can make it harder to stay in your carbohydrates during the day.
Ultimately, whether you should include sweet potato on keto depends on your personal goals for carbohydrates and your ability to constantly adhere to the limits necessary to maintain ketosis.
Sweet potato contains quite a lot of carbohydrates, but some people can include it in small portions, while remaining within their limitations on keto-carbohydrates.
How to cook sweet potato
If you decide to include sweet potato in your keto diet plan, it’s also important to consider how different cooking methods can affect your overall carbohydrate content in your final meal.
For example, sweet potato made with very high carbohydrate ingredients such as brown sugar, maple syrup or fruit juices is not suitable for a ketogenic diet.
Cooking methods that are more suitable for keto can include slicing into thin slices and frying them to make french fries or frying them whole and serving in butter, coconut oil or cream cheese.
Some sweet potato cooking methods are not keto-friendly, especially those that use high-carbohydrate ingredients such as brown sugar or maple syrup.
Keto diets are high in fat and very low in carbohydrates.
Sweet potato is a carbohydrate product and, as a rule, is excluded from the keto diet, because it can prevent many people from supporting ketosis.
However, you may not have to exclude sweet potato from your diet if you limit your intake and plan ahead so that they do not lead to excessive consumption of carbohydrates throughout the day.
When making a diet, avoid making sweet potato with high-carb foods like brown sugar or maple syrup.
Instead, choose fatter options, such as frying sweet potatoes in coconut oil, for example.