Saturday, 16 April 2011

Eating starchy tubers - introducing the sweet potato

Many a Paleo expert have rejected starchy tubers as part of the Paleo diet, such as Loren Cordain who is quite absolutist; he will have said that if it wasn’t a regular part of the Paleolithic diet don’t eat it. Even Mark Sisson, who is more relaxed on borderline foods, says that starchy tubers such as sweet potatoes and potatoes are best avoided unless you are very active, so today I’m going to investigate the sweet potato, since it’s almost synonymous with the potato and it has become a regular part of my diet. Pick your favourite though. For me, sweet potatoes are so easy to prepare, I wait for them to boil and then I mash them up and add some butter – which is not technically Paleo but delicious and dairy is obviously another borderline topic to discuss.

First of all let’s clear up why we shouldn’t eat grains. For a start they contain lectins and phytites along with legumes and are generally not very nutritious for us despite what many nutritionists may tell us. So absolutely no grains I say but here for us a better source of carbohydrate is the sweet potato – they’re rich in dietary fibre and many other nutrients such as Vitamins C and B2 as well as a good antioxidant and are better for diabetics – whereas pasta and bread may cause insulin levels to skyrocket.

Supposing we’re aiming to consume around 100g of carbohydrates today, the average sweet potato will contain around 20g of carbohydrate per 100g. So for me, that was about 2 and half sweet potatoes and it’s still under a shade fewer than 100g.

Personally, I believe that most authors don’t advocate sweet potatoes because it’s easy to go over the limit with them as far as limiting our carbohydrate consumption are concerned. Perhaps if I do have that heavy portion of sweet potatoes it may be wise to limit carbs throughout the rest of the day. Eat very low carb vegetables with your meat and fish – a good example is spinach with only 1g of carbohydrate per cup.

It’s important to know quantities like this, but not to keep a constant log, because ultimately if we’re sensible and prudent about what we eat it can only bear fruit.
Sweet potatoes are a good food source if taken in moderation.