Toxins in Sweet Potatoes?

Toxins in Sweet Potatoes?
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Sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest known vegetables.

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What about sweet potatoes? Bad, eh, or good? They’re not good; they’re great! Ranked as one of the top ten healthiest foods on the planet by Mayo Clinic.

So, sweet potatoes good; white potatoes bad. If you insist on continuing to eat white potatoes, peel them, as that removes about three-quarters of the toxins.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

What about sweet potatoes? Bad, eh, or good? They’re not good; they’re great! Ranked as one of the top ten healthiest foods on the planet by Mayo Clinic.

So, sweet potatoes good; white potatoes bad. If you insist on continuing to eat white potatoes, peel them, as that removes about three-quarters of the toxins.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

Check out these videos to learn more about sweet potatoes:
Anti-Cancer Potential of Sweet Potato Proteins
The Best Way to Cook Sweet Potatoes

And check out my other “HHH” videos (Harmful, Harmless, or Helpful?) – listed below the post.

For more context, please check out my associated blog post: Soymilk: shake it up!

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

28 responses to “Toxins in Sweet Potatoes?

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    1. Hi Dave,
      You’re better off not eating the skins.  Although they may contain nutrients, potato skins are still not worth eating due to their toxic properties.  Peel the skin, and try to occasionally substitute white potatoes with sweet potatoes to boost your nutrient intake.
      I hope this helps!
      Alexandra

    1. I wonder the same thing. There are many different versions of sweet potatoes such as the purple sweet potato, the Japanese sweet potato, Okinawan sweet potato, and as you mentioned white sweet potatoes along with a few others. I’m not so much of a fan of the orange/reddish ones either.

      Also wondering if other sweet potato varieties are just as good.

  1. Could you clarify what you mean by white potatoes? Would this include russets, yukon golds, etc.?

    Thanks a lot! I love your website :)

  2. Now that we know we can eat nuts (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/nuts-and-obesity-the-weight-of-evidence/) and nut butters (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/testing-the-pistachio-principle/) without fear of weight gain we can use them to flavour this surprisingly amazing stew which just so happens to contain one of the healthiest vegetables
    (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/toxins-in-sweet-potatoes/).

    Peanut/Almond Butter Barley Stew

    -1 ½ cups barley*
    -3 cups water/homemade vegetable broth
    -1 red onion, chopped (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/carrots-vs-baby-carrots-2/)
    -2 cloves garlic, minced (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/1-anticancer-vegetable/)
    -½ inch piece of fresh gingerroot, minced
    -4 carrots, diced
    -1 large sweet potato, cubed
    -jar strained tomatoes
    -1 tsp cumin
    -pinch cayenne pepper
    -2 tbsp unsalted peanut or almond butter
    -chopped peanuts/almonds for garnish
    -sea salt and black pepper to taste

    Place all ingredients except peanut butter, peanuts, and salt into a large soup pot. Cook for 40 minutes until barley almost cooked. Add peanut butter and cook until it has melted and heated. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Serve garnished with peanuts.

    *If sensitive to gluten substitute with buckwheat

    ~Complements of lovestobevegan

  3. What about yams? I see sweet potatoes and yams used interchangeably in the store often. Following the rule of more colorful usually = better, I’d pick a garnet yam over the less colorful sweet potato. But which is actually better?

    We eat whole food/plant based in our family, and have a young child, so I’m conscious of what we eat. But the sweet potato/yam question is still unclear to me. Thanks!

    1. I would not worry about this, because both of these foods are quite healthy. Usually it is the case that the more colorful foods have more antioxidants but these foods are both very healthy so its not much concern.

  4. I always like to check sources. But in this case, there’s an apparent contradiction. Salmon is also in their top ten healthiest foods list, so by the exact same logic, salmon is also great for you! But I thought you were against all fish consumption (mercury, PCB’s, heterocyclic amines, etc.)?

  5. Dear Dr. Greger,

    I was wondering about the different types of sweet potato. In my local supermarket they sometimes have the ones with orange flesh but more often the red ones with white flesh, though they’re sold under the same name.

    Both ok, or just the orange ones?

    Thank you,

    Coen (from the netherlands)

  6. I had sweet potato lady week and since then I am having some symptoms related to brain fog, confusion, irritability. I am also feeling more calmer but overall feeling irritated and hyper. Please advise.

  7. Please tell me about Murasaki Sweet Potatoes, they have purple skin and white flesh – are these good for you? If you juice them for G-tube feeding, should the skin be left on? What variety of sweet potato are the purple ones the Dr. recommends?

  8. So apparently the skin on sweet potatoes is fine/safer? I don’t eat regular potatoes all that much (not a fan). Just wondering though about the skin on a sweet potato safe or not?

    1. I did a thorough search in Medline looking for studies specifically zeroing in on the safety of sweet potato skins and found that most studies focused on white potatoes. It appears the type of pesticides used on sweet v white potatoes and while washing can be effective in eliminating the pesticides fairly well Consider this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3907644/
      Effect of handling and processing on pesticide residues in food- a review
      Washing with tap water or aqueous solutions of acetic acid and/or NaCl, and blanching or frying of potatoes also removed most residues.
      I would suggest that washing might be more effective with sweet potatoes since the often do not have the additional “knobs’ that white pototoes have making thorough washing less effective. I was able to track down this study which may make you feel better about eating sweet potato skins than white:
      http://www.whatsonmyfood.org/food.jsp?food=PO/ You can compare the pesticides found with analysis of both sweet and white potatoes with 35 pesticides identified in the white, only 19 in the sweet and of those 6 known carcinogenic pesticides identified for white, only 3, in much less concentration in sweet.
      Carcinogenic of course sounds alarming, but I found many research studies validating the benefit of the fiber found in sweet potato skins which also should be considered. I can’t give you a yes or no answer, but these studies may help you determine whether to pell or sweet potatoes or not.

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