Curejoy Expert James Dudley Explains:
Many cases of diabetes, especially type 1 diabetes, occur due to the inability of the pancreas to regulate insulin, which is important in controlling blood sugar. Sweet potato actually helps to balance blood sugar in diabetics. Research shows that sweet potatoes contain adiponectin, a protein hormone produced by our fat cells. People with diabetes tend to have lower levels of adiponectin, and sweet potato extracts have been shown to significantly increase adiponectin levels in persons with type 2 diabetes.
So, diabetic patients are better off choosing carbohydrate-containing foods with a low or moderate glycemic index compared to high-GI foods, because they break down more slowly in the body, producing smaller fluctuations in blood glucose and insulin levels. Sweet potatoes eaten cooked with the skins on or raw (as in a slaw) are considered low to medium glycemic foods. Cooked sweet potatoes eaten without the skins fall into the medium glycemic zone, between 63 and 66, lower than some other starchy foods such as instant mashed potatoes and whole-wheat bread.
In fact the American Diabetes Association (AMA) considers sweet potatoes as a superfood. Its high fibre content contributes to a lower glycemic index (44). The amount of fiber in a food slows down the rate of digestion of the starches. This action in turn lowers the glycemic index of the sweet potato and helps keep blood sugar levels within a manageable range.
Cooking methods also affect the glycemic index of sweet potato. For diabetics, certain cooking methods are more conducive to managing blood sugar levels. So, you must prepare your sweet potatoes without all the added sugar or butter that some recipes may call for. Go beyond the conventional style and try sweet potatoes roasted, mashed or even pureed into soup.