FODMAPs are short-chain carbs that are poorly digested in the human gut and cause severe stomach discomfort including constipation, gassiness, and bloating in persons with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (
The term “FODMAP” is an acronym for fermentable, oligo-, di-, monosaccharides, and polyols. They’re found in a wide variety of foods.
Thus, a diet that eliminates or limits FODMAP-rich foods may help manage IBS (
High carb foods like root vegetables contain varying levels of FODMAPs, so you may wonder whether sweet potato counts are low or high in FODMAPs.
This article provides details on FODMAPs in sweet potatoes, as well as tips for eating them on a low FODMAP diet.
Sweet potatoes contain FODMAPs but only in small amounts.
This root vegetable, also called ground provision in the Caribbean, is a rich source of fiber and beta carotene, a compound that your body converts into vitamin A. It may have anti-inflammatory, blood sugar lowering, and antioxidant effects (
Up to 80% of sweet potato is carbs, which include resistant starches, fiber, and sugars like fructose and glucose (
Fructose is one of the FODMAPs that triggers stomach discomfort in people with IBS — but only when the food eaten has higher levels of fructose than glucose (
Sweet potatoes’ predominant sugars are sucrose, maltose, and glucose, with smaller amounts of fructose than glucose — making it a low FODMAP food (
Furthermore, Monash University, which created the low FODMAP diet, generally lists potatoes as low FODMAP foods (10).
However, serving size matters. A low FODMAP food can become high FODMAP if eaten in large amounts (
Some resources, such as the Monash University FODMAP app, suggest that 1/2 cup (75 grams) and 2/3 cup (100 grams) of cooked sweet potato are low and moderate in FODMAPs, respectively.
Sweet potato contains the FODMAP fructose, but it’s a low FODMAP food when eaten in small amounts because it contains more glucose than fructose.
Sweet potato and yam are both root vegetables but have several differences.
Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) may have white, purple, orange, or yellow flesh with red or brown skin while yam (Dioscorea species) has white or purple flesh and brown skin. Yams have textured skin and are larger than sweet potatoes.
Nutritionally, sweet potato is richer in vitamin A and lower in starches, but yam provides more fiber and vitamin C per 3/4 raw cup (100 grams) (
Both are rich in carbs, but yam has more resistant starches — up to 85% starch compared with 50% in sweet potato (, ).
Yam also contains the FODMAP fructan. Although data regarding its fructose to glucose content isn’t readily available, yam contains eight times less sugar than sweet potato and likely harbors less fructose as well (
Both veggies are low FODMAP when eaten in small amounts like 1/2 cup (75 grams) cooked.
Yet, according to the Monash University app mentioned above, yam is lower in FODMAPs and only becomes a moderate FODMAP food at 2 cups cooked (300 grams), compared with sweet potato which is moderate in FODMAPs at 2/3 cups cooked (100 grams).
Thus, if you need to keep your FODMAP intake particularly low, yams are a better choice than sweet potatoes.
Yam is lower in FODMAPs than sweet potato, only becoming a moderate FODMAP food at 2 cups cooked (300 grams), compared with sweet potato’s 2/3 cups cooked (100 grams).
Here are some ways you can enjoy sweet potato while on a low FODMAP diet:
- Seek guidance from a registered dietitian (RD). Research shows greater adherence to the low FODMAP diet when a dietitian helps you with meal planning (
- Serving size matters. Limit your serving size to 1/2 cup (75 grams) cooked, or half of a large sweet potato. Consider this root veggie a side dish instead of the main carb.
- Limit high FODMAP ingredients. Avoid preparing sweet potato with high FODMAP seasonings like onions and garlic (
- Make sure the rest of your meal is low in FODMAP meal. Pair sweet potato with other low FODMAP foods to ensure that your symptoms stay contained.
Include sweet potato in your low FODMAP diet in small servings, without seasonings like garlic and onion, alongside other low FODMAP foods. If you need extra assistance, consult an RD or nutritionist.
FODMAPs are short-chain carbs that may cause severe symptoms of bloating, gassiness, and constipation in people with IBS.
Sweet potato contains fructose, a type of FODMAP, but in small amounts. It’s considered a low FODMAP food, but you should consider keeping your intake to 1/2 cup (75 grams) cooked.
Comparatively, yam is lower in FODMAPs. You may be able to eat larger amounts of it on a low FODMAP diet.
Overall, it’s important to consider sweet potato as a side dish — never the main course — on a low FODMAP diet. Be sure to pair it with other low FODMAP foods.