Lovely Potatoes vs Yams: What is the Difference?

Lovely Potatoes vs Yams: What is the Difference?

The terms “sweet potato” as well as “yam” are usually used interchangeably, causing a great deal of misunderstandings.

While both are actually underground tuber vegetables, they’re really completely different.

They belong to various plant families and are just distantly related.

So the reason why all of the confusion? This particular article clarify the primary differences between sweet potatoes & yams.

What exactly are Sweet Potatoes?

Hands Holding Sweet Potato

Share on Pinterest Sweet potatoes, likewise recognized by the scientific name Ipomoea batatas, are actually starchy root vegetables.

They’re believed to originate in South or central America, though North Carolina is presently the largest producer (1Trusted Source).

Amazingly, sweet potatoes are just remotely associated with potatoes.

Similar to a typical potato, the tuberous origins of the sweet potato grow are consumed as being a vegetable. The leaves of theirs as well as shoots are usually from time to time eaten as greens.

Nevertheless, sweet potatoes are a rather distinctive looking tuber.

They’re lengthy and tapered with a smooth skin which can differ in color, which range from yellow, red, orange, purple or brown to camel. Based on the kind, the flesh is able to range from cream to orange to actually purple.

You will find 2 primary types of cute potatoes:

Dark-Skinned, Orange Fleshed Sweet Potatoes

When compared with golden skinned sweet potatoes, these’re sweeter and softer with a darker, copper brown skin as well as bright orange flesh. They are generally moist and fluffy and are usually used in the US.

Sliced Orange Sweet Potato

Share on Pinterest

Golden-Skinned, Pale Fleshed Sweet Potatoes

This particular edition is actually firmer with a golden skin and light yellow-colored flesh. It has a tendency to have a drier consistency and it is much less sweet compared to dark skinned sweet potatoes.

White Sweet Potatoes

Share on Pinterest No matter the kind, sweet potatoes are moister and sweeter generally compared to regular potatoes.

They’re an incredibly powerful vegetable. The very long shelf life of theirs enables them to be offered year round. When stored properly in a cool, dry area, they are able to keep for as much as 2 3 months.

You are able to get them in a broad range of various kinds, most often entire or perhaps at times pre peeled, cooked as well as purchased in cans or even frozen.


Sweet potatoes are actually a starchy root vegetable originating in South or central America. You will find 2 primary varieties. They’ve a great deal of shelf life and are moister and sweeter usually compared to regular potatoes.

What exactly are Yams?

Yams are additionally a tuber vegetable.

The scientific name of theirs is actually Dioscorea, and they originate in Asia and Africa. They’re today generally used in the Caribbean and Latin America also. Over 600 varieties of yams are actually known, along with ninety five % of these’re currently cultivated in Africa.

In comparison to sweet potatoes, yams are able to develop huge. Size is able to differ from that of a little potato to up to five feet (1.5 meters). Never to mention, they could weigh as much as a remarkable 132 pounds (sixty kgs) (2Trusted Source).

Yams have a few unique attributes which help distinguish them from sweet potatoes, primarily their skin and size.

They’re cylindrical fit with brown, rough, bark like skin which is actually tough to peel, but it softens following heating. The flesh color varies from yellow or white to pink or purple in older yams.


Share on Pinterest Yams have a distinctive taste, also. In comparison to sweet potatoes, yams are much less cute and far more starchy and dried out.

Additionally, they generally have a great shelf life. Nevertheless, some variations shop better compared to others.

In the US, real yams may be hard to get. They’re imported and hardly ever present in local supermarkets. The greatest odds of yours of finding them are actually in ethnic or international food stores.


True yams are actually an edible tuber originating in Asia as well as Africa. You will find more than 600 varieties, which change widely in size. They’re drier and starchier compared to sweet potatoes & hardly ever present in local supermarkets.

So why do People Confuse Them?

A great deal of confusion surrounds the terms sweet potatoes & yams.

Both names are used often and interchangeably mislabeled in grocery stores.

Nevertheless, they’re different veggies.

A number of factors are able to explain exactly how this mix up happened.

African slaves which came to the US known as the local sweet potato “nyami,” which translates to “yam” in English. This’s since it reminded them of real yams, a food staple they knew in Africa.

Additionally, the darker skinned, orange fleshed sweet potato variety was just released to the US many decades before. To be able to set it apart from paler skinned sweet potatoes, producers labeled them “yams.”

The phrase “yam” is currently much more of a marketing phrase for producers to distinguish between the 2 kinds of sweet potatoes.

Many veggies marked as a “yam” within US supermarkets are in fact simply a bunch of sweet potato.


Confusion between sweet potatoes & yams arose when US producers started making use of the African phrase “nyami,” which translates to “yam,” to distinguish between various varieties of sweet potatoes.

They’re Prepared as well as Eaten Differently Both sweet potatoes as well as yams are incredibly flexible. They may be ready by boiling, steaming, frying or perhaps roasting.

The sweet potato is much more normally used in US supermarkets, so as you would expect, it’s utilized at a wider range of conventional Western dishes, both savory and sweet.

It’s usually baked, roasted or mashed. It’s often used to make sweet potato fries, a substitute to mashed or baked potatoes. It is able to additionally be pureed as well as used in desserts and soups.

As a staple on the Thanksgiving table, it is usually served as a sweet potato casserole with high sugar or marshmallows or even made into a sweet potato pie.

On the flip side, real yams are hardly ever present in Western supermarkets. Nevertheless, they’re a staple meal in some other countries, especially those in Africa.

The very long shelf life of theirs enables them to become a constant food supply during times of bad crop (3Trusted Source).

In Africa, they’re usually boiled, fried or roasted. Purple yams are much more normally used in Japan, Indonesia, Vietnam and also the Philippines and sometimes utilized in desserts.

Yams can be obtained in a selection of forms, including entire, flour or powder and as a health supplement.

Yam flour can be purchased in the West from grocers specializing in African products. It may be utilized to create a dough that’s served as a side with casseroles or perhaps stews. It is able to additionally be used similarly to instant mashed potatoes.

Untamed yam powder is discovered in certain health food as well as supplement retailers under different labels. These include wild Mexican yam, Chinese yam or perhaps colic root.


Both sweet potatoes & yams are boiled, fried or roasted. Sweet potatoes are actually used to make casseroles, soups, pies, and fries. Yams tend to be more normally used in the West as a powdered or maybe dietary supplement.

The Nutrient Content of theirs Varies

washing machine repair Dubai

A raw sweet potato has water (seventy seven %), carbohydrates (20.1 %), protein (1.6 %), fiber (three %) and practically no fat (four).

In comparison, a raw yam includes water (seventy %), carbohydrates (twenty four %), protein (1.5 %), fiber (four %) and practically no fat (five).

A 3.5 ounce (100 gram) serving of baked sweet potato with the epidermis on includes (4):

Calories: ninety Carbohydrates: 20.7 grams

Dietary fiber: 3.3 grams

Fat: 0.2 grams

Protein: two grams

Vitamin A: 384 % DV

Vitamin C: 33 % DV

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): 7% DV

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 6% DV

Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 7% DV

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid): 9% DV

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): 14 % DV

Iron: 4% DV

Magnesium: 7% DV

Phosphorus: 5% DV

Potassium: 14 % DV

Copper: 8% DV

Manganese: 25 % DV

A 3.5 ounce (100 gram) helping of boiled or maybe baked yam has (5):

Calories: 116 Carbohydrates: 27.5 grams

Dietary fiber: 3.9 grams

Fat: 0.1 grams

Protein: 1.5 grams

Vitamin A: 2% DV

Vitamin C: 20 % DV

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine): 6% DV

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 2% DV

Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 3% DV

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid): 3% DV

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine): 11 % DV

Iron: 3% DV

Magnesium: 5% DV

Phosphorus: 5% DV

Potassium: 19 % DV

Copper: 8% DV

Manganese: nineteen % DV Sweet potatoes are likely to have a bit fewer calories per serving compared to yams. Additionally, they have a little much more vitamin C and much more than triple the quantity of beta carotene, which changes to vitamin A within the body.

In reality, one 3.5 ounce (100 gram) helping of sweet potato is going to supply you with just about all of your daily recommended amount of vitamin A, which is essential for regular vision as well as the immune system (four).

On the flip side, raw yams are somewhat richer in manganese and potassium. These nutrients are essential for good bone health, proper performance of the heart, metabolism as well as growth (6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).

Both sweet potatoes & yams have good quantities of various other micronutrients, for instance B vitamins, which are actually essential for numerous bodily functions, such as creating electrical power and making DNA.

It’s likewise essential to think about the glycemic index (GI) of each. The GI of a food will provide a concept of exactly how gradually or perhaps rapidly it affects the blood glucose levels of yours.

GI is calculated on a scale of 0 100. A food has a low GI in case it brings about blood sugars to increase gradually, whereas a high GI food causes blood sugars to increase immediately.

Cooking as well as preparation techniques are able to result in a food’s GI to vary. For instance, sweet potatoes have a medium-to-high GI, varying from 44 96, while yams have a low-to-high GI, which range from 35 77 (eight).

Boiling, instead of baking, roasting or even frying, is actually connected to a lower GI (9Trusted Source).


Sweet potatoes are actually lower in calories and greater on beta carotene as well as vitamin C than yams. Yams have somewhat more potassium as well as manganese. They both have good quantities of B vitamins.

The Potential Health Benefits of theirs Actually are Different

Sweet potatoes are a terrific source of extremely obtainable beta carotene, that has the capability to boost the vitamin of yours A levels. This may be extremely essential in developing countries where vitamin A deficiency is actually typical (10Trusted Source).

Sweet potatoes can also be full of antioxidants, especially carotenoids, that are believed to help safeguard against heart problems and reduce the danger of cancer (11Trusted Source, 12Trusted Source).

Certain kinds of sweet potatoes, particularly purple varieties, are believed to be probably the highest in antioxidants – higher than a number of other vegetables and fruits (thirteen).

Additionally, several studies recommend that specific kinds of sweet potatoes are able to help enhance blood sugar regulation and lessen “bad” LDL cholesterol of individuals with type two diabetes (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source).

Meanwhile, the health advantages of yams haven’t been thoroughly studied.

There’s minimal evidence that yam extract might be a very helpful treatment for several of the distressing symptoms of menopause.

One study in twenty two postmenopausal females discovered that a high consumption of yams more than thirty days enhanced hormone levels, decreased LDL cholesterol and improved antioxidant levels (17Trusted Source).

It is crucial to keep in mind that it was a little study, and much more research is necessary to verify these health advantages.


The high antioxidant content of sweet potatoes might guard against illness, and also boost blood glucose regulation and lessen “bad” LDL cholesterol. Yams might help alleviate symptoms of menopause.

Negative Effects

Though sweet potatoes as well as yams are believed to be safe and healthy food to consume for a lot of people, it can be a good idea to follow specific precautions.

For instance, sweet potatoes have pretty high levels of oxalates. These’re naturally occurring substances which are generally harmless. Nevertheless, whenever they build up in the entire body, they could create problems for individuals in danger of kidney stones (18Trusted Source).

Precautions should be also used when creating yams.

While sweet potatoes could easily be eaten raw, some kinds of yams are just safe to consume when prepared.

Naturally occurring plant proteins found in yams may be toxic and cause illness in case consumed raw. Peeling as well as making yams completely will eliminate some damaging substances (19Trusted Source).


Sweet potatoes have oxalates which could boost the danger of kidney stones. Yams must be cooked completely to get rid of naturally occurring poisonous substances.

The Bottom Line

Sweet potatoes as well as yams are different veggies.

Nevertheless, they are both healthy, versatile and tasty additions to the diet.

Sweet potatoes have a tendency to be being sold and are nutritionally superior to yams – albeit just somewhat. In case you want a sweeter, moister and fluffier consistency, choose sweet potatoes.

Yams possess a starchier, more dry consistency but may be more difficult to find.

You actually cannot fail with either.