What are sweet potato benefits and side effects? Are sweet potatoes low fodmap? Do sweet potatoes have gluten? Or are they gluten free? Acidic or alkaline? Vegan? Good for you? Healthy? Sustainable? Here are sweet potato pros and cons: all the info on sweet potatoes that every ethical consumer wants to know…
Food is something we consume every day and if you’re like me, you do all the research you can to make sure you don’t hurt yourself, the planet, animals or others when shopping. As an ethical consumer myself, I am giving you all the info I’ve found on sweet potato benefits and side effects.
You are going to learn all about sweet potato benefits and side effects. This will include sweet potato benefits for your health and potential risks, sweet potato water footprint and carbon footprint, sustainability, if sweet potatoes are vegan or impact animals in other ways, and much more.
After learning if sweet potatoes are good or bad for you, the environment, animals and human rights, you will be able to make the best choices you can the next time you buy food.
This post is all about sweet potato benefits and side effects that every ethical consumer should know.
Sweet Potato Benefits And Side Effects
Sweet potato benefits for health may include:
- boosted metabolism
- brain function
- improved digestion
- eye health/vision
- lowered risk of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- regular bowel movements
- regulated blood sugar levels
- boosted immune system
- gut health
- lowered risk of colon cancer
- lowered risk of disease
- prevent and fight cancer
- heart disease prevention
- promote healthy gut bacteria
- reduced inflammation
- hair health
- reduce bloating
- speed up the rate of hair growth
- weight loss
Sweet potato side effects may include:
- pesticide consumption if not organic
- do not over-consume, be sure to eat in moderation as with any food
- wash thoroughly before consuming to avoid harmful bacteria and parasites
Additionally, sweet potatoes are…
- Alkaline 9.0 pH level once digested
- Gluten Free
- Not a common Food Allergen
- Not a Nightshade Food
- Easy cooking.
- Delicious results.
- Reduce your oil intake.
- Best of pressure cooking and air frying all in one pot!
- Nesting Broil Rack, 5 Quart, Stainless Steel
- We love it!
Water footprint: low, it takes 383 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of sweet potatoes / 46 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of sweet potatoes
Carbon footprint: low, 0.43 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of fresh sweet potatoes, a car driving equivalent of 1 mile or 1.5 kilometers
Destruction: low, sweet potato production is relatively sustainable, there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. as long as pesticides have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc.
Sweet potatoes are…
Kills: none, sweet potato production does not require any animals to be killed
Harms: none, sweet potato production does not require any animals to be used
Indirectly kills or harms: none, no animals are indirectly killed or harmed from sweet potato production as long as toxic chemicals have not been used, be sure to buy Non-GMO/organic, as pesticides harm and kill wildlife and ecosystems by contaminating soil, water, air and plants that animals eat
Sweet potatoes are…
- Harmful to wildlife and ecosystems unless organic
- Perfect for children ages 2-8.
- Available in paperback, ebook, audio formats.
- Suitable for vegan kids and vegan families (does not include farm animals, animal food products or byproducts).
- Written + Illustrated by HEALabel's Adriane Marie.
Health and safety: varies, overall, agriculture continues to be one of the most dangerous industries, farmworkers may be subject to dehydration, heat stroke, unprotected exposure to harmful, toxic chemicals and pesticides, unsafe machinery and clean drinking water may not always accessible
Living conditions: varies, laborers are often exploited, they may face tough working conditions including long hours in the sun and heat performing physically exhausting tasks, labor laws and rights may or may not be in place, even if worker protection exists, employer violations may go unreported, refugees and migrant workers are especially vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment, fearing consequences of job loss or deportation
Wages: varies, generally farmworkers earn meager wages, there are many cases of underpaid agricultural workers, wage theft and no overtime payment or benefits
- May involve worker exploitation, laborer issues, human rights concerns
The world’s top sweet potato producing country is China, followed by Malawi and Nigeria.
In the United States, North Carolina is the leading sweet potato production state, producing approximately 60% of all sweet potatoes grown in the country.
The world’s top sweet potato exporting country is USA, followed by Spain, Netherlands, Egypt, China, Japan, UK, Portugal, Vietnam and Germany.
Yes! Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, potassium, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium and copper.
Are sweet potatoes alkaline or acidic?
Sweet potatoes are alkaline.
What is the pH level of sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes have a 9.0 pH level, once digested.
When you eat food, it breaks down to an ash residue that can be neutral, acidic or alkaline. Minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium, zinc, silver, copper and iron produce an alkaline ash; whereas sulfur, phosphorus, chlorine and iodine, which are in meat, coffee, dairy and alcohol, leave an acid ash.
Going alkaline easier than ever with this: Acidic and Alkaline Foods List
Are sweet potatoes gluten free?
Yes, sweet potatoes are gluten free. Sweet potatoes do not contain gluten. Sweet potatoes are a type of root vegetable, therefore making it a naturally gluten free food.
While celiac disease may not be as rampant as many marketing trends lead us to believe, you may have a gluten sensitivity…
Celiac and gluten sensitivity symptoms are similar and may include:
- recurring abdominal pain
- chronic diarrhea
- numbness in hands and feet
- chronic fatigue
- joint pain
- unexplained infertility
- low bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
There are hundreds of potential symptoms, many of which are also symptoms of other conditions.
Going gluten-free easier than ever with this: Gluten and Gluten Free Foods List
Are sweet potatoes a common food allergen?
No, sweet potatoes are not a common food allergen. Some people may experience allergic reactions to sweet potatoes but it is relatively rare by comparison.
A group of the eight major allergenic foods, AKA the Big-8, include:
Severe food allergies can be life threatening. Following ingestion of a food allergen, a person with food allergies can experience a severe, life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis.
Persons may still be allergic to and have serious reactions to foods other than the eight foods identified by the law.
Be aware of common dietary restrictions and food allergens with this: The Big 8 Most Common Food Allergens List
Are sweet potatoes low FODMAP?
Yes, sweet potatoes are low-FODMAP, a food ok to eat if on a low-FODMAP diet.
A low FODMAP diet may help those with bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain, and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
It’s all about knowing your body. Observe what works and what doesn’t. You body might even react negatively to a low-FODMAP food simply due to intolerance. Everyone is different! Be mindful and patient. Take time to get to know what’s best for your physical health and overall wellbeing.
See this High-FODMAP and Low-FODMAP List of Food
Water footprint of sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes have a relatively low water footprint compared to other foods.
It takes 383 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of sweet potatoes / 46 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of sweet potatoes.
Did you know that water is a finite, non-renewable resource? Once it’s gone, it’s gone!
How much water does it take to produce an apple? A serving of rice? A steak dinner?
We need to be aware of something referred to as a “water footprint”. That is, the amount of fresh water utilized in the production or supply of goods we consume. As it turns out it takes significantly more water to yield foods that come from animals than foods that come from plants. Imagine how much water a cow needs to consume to generate a piece of beef. Not only how much water a single cow drinks, rather all the water that went into producing the crops that the cow ate.
Find out how much water your food consumes with this: Water Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
Carbon footprint of sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes has a relatively low carbon footprint compared to other foods.
It takes around 0.43 kg CO2e to produce 1 kilogram or 2.2 pounds of fresh sweet potatoes, a car driving equivalent of 1 mile or 1.5 kilometers.
Food not only has a water footprint but also a carbon footprint, known as CO2e, which stands for carbon dioxide equivalent. Since carbon measurements are a bit more difficult to comprehend, it is common to equate CO2e to the distance which a car drives in miles or kilometers.
When calculating carbon emissions, some factors may include…
- farm equipment
- animal feed production
- hothouses (greenhouses)
- food processing
- package waste and more
But that’s not all!
It’s best to keep the following in mind when grocery shopping:
- shopping locally reduces transportation emissions
- food without packaging reduces waste as well as the carbon footprint
- refrigerated and frozen foods increase carbon emissions
- seasonal foods reduce carbon emissions from hothouses (greenhouses)
- growing plant-based foods at home is the most environmentally sustainable method with zero carbon footprint
Find out how much carbon your food emits with this: Carbon Footprints of Foods and Ingredients List
Are sweet potatoes sustainable?
Sweet potato production is relatively sustainable since there is no known significant damage to air, water, land, soil, forests, etc. Be sure to buy non GMO/organic, as toxic, chemical pesticides contaminate air, water, soil, etc. when using regenerative practices.
A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.
Consuming animal products and byproducts is not environmentally friendly and is one of the worst things for the Earth. Not only is meat production wasteful, it causes enormous amounts of pollution. The industry is one of the biggest causes of climate change.
Read more about ‘What Makes Food Sustainable Or Unsustainable?’
Are sweet potatoes vegan?
Yes, sweet potatoes are vegan. Sweet potatoes are a root vegetable and not an animal product or byproduct, therefore making it a vegan food.
Animals of factory farming are suffering. They live in horrific conditions that often include confinement, physical abuse and unnatural environments…so much so that they need to receive antibiotics to keep from getting ill or spreading disease. Growth hormones allow all kinds of animals to become fatter faster and live short lives.
Because we cannot see for ourselves how these animals live and what they endure does not mean it isn’t happening. The meat, poultry and dairy industries do everything they can to distance us from knowing how our food comes to be in order to keep us in the dark about what we support each time we buy animal derived products and byproducts.
Go vegan for animals!
It’s the best way to help animals and it’s not as difficult as you may think. Speak for animals with your actions, for they cannot speak at all.
Going vegan is easier than ever, at a glance with this: Vegan and Non Vegan Foods List
Do sweet potatoes have human rights issues?
At this time there are no major concerns with sweet potato production but that doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!
It’s important to stay aware of human rights concerns and worker exploitation that may come with specific brands.
Did you know the single largest employer in the world is agriculture? The labor involved behind each and every product cannot go unrecognized.
Some known problems include workplace health and safety, child labor, gender inequality, inadequate pay, wage theft and exploitation. Workers can even experience harassment, humiliation and violence and unfair employers often fail to provide laborers with access to shade, drinking water, restrooms and breaks. Consequently, laborers can face nausea, dizziness, heat exhaustion, dehydration and heat stroke -the leading cause of farmworker death!
Such mistreatment is like modern day slavery. Workers are often afraid to report issues because they fear it will result in losing their jobs or deportation.
Fair trade organizations fight to ensure better social, environmental and economic standards.
We can improve people’s lives with foods we eat every day simply by buying products that are certified fair trade.
Be sure to read up on this list of ‘Foods You Should Always Buy Fair Trade‘
This post was all about sweet potato benefits and side effects.
Harvard, The Nutrition Source, Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potato, cooked, boiled, without skin – FoodData Central
Sweet Potatoes & Yams – SNAP-Ed Connection
Agricultural marketing resource center: sweet potatoes
Adriane MarieHi, I'm Adriane, creator of HEALabel! I organize info for you to comprehensively see how purchases impact health, environment, animals and laborers. Stay aware because you care! Subscribe below to get my weekly newsletter with tips, new info and other ethical consumer insight.
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