Calories In Yams

Are There Calories in Yams?

Although most diets encourage the intake of a lot of fruit and vegetables, there are calories in yams. This does certainly not imply that you they should not be eaten, but it is always good to know what you are eating and what is in your food. Here is some interesting information about yams and how they compare to other similar foods.

Yams are native in Africa where they produce a massive amount for international export. It is a very important part of everyday farming because it secures the countries own supply as well as enable some national income by exporting it to industrialized countries such as the US. Many African countries rely on that income as most of them do not have many other things to offer such as coffee or other fruits that are interesting to the paying world.

But yams gained their popularity mainly through their convenient growth as they survive dry periods and can be harvested early on in critical seasons. In addition to their financial worth and convenient farming, yams are traditionally preferred in African cuisine as opposed to sweet potatoes and other similar varieties. The stark that is gained from yams is used in food but also for other purposes - other types of potatoes have a significantly smaller amount of stark which is one of the reasons why yams are more commonly used in Africa. The main producer of yams has been Nigeria followed by countries such as the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Togo. Yams can be found in Europe, but they are commonly exported worldwide as they are more popular in South- and North America. In fact, many Southern American countries have enhanced their yam production and Brazil is now a major producer of that region.


But what about nutrition? The amount of calories in yams is relatively high due to the fact that 95% consists of carbohydrates. Thus, 100g yam has about 114 calories. In comparison you will find that sweet potatoes are slightly lower in calories with approximately 100 per 100g, and normal potatoes have about 70 calories per 100g. But why are there so many calories in yams? As mentioned earlier, yams have a high amount of stark which is basically the carrier of calories. Furthermore, their slightly sweet taste is caused by fructose which is a sugar that occurs in fruit. Fructose is also present in sweet potatoes but in much higher amounts. Although there are many calories in yams it is still a great source of nutrition because your body needs both carbohydrates and sugar- and it is much better to consume sugar from fruits rather than cane sugar or sugar found in candy. It is definitely good to know that all types of potatoes including yams are classified as fruit, not vegetable. Thus, in weight loss diet they should all be treated as fruits and not as mainly water-based veggies.

Apart from the difference of calories in yams and sweet potato, what are other differences? The term yam actually refers to a starchy edible root of the Dioscorea family and its original African name is 'nyami' which was anglicized into 'yam'. The yams found in the US are very similar to the sweet potatoes and thus these two names are used interchangeably. However, there are various differences:


Sweet potatoes are part of the Convolvulaceae plant family which is a completely different one to yam. Furthermore, sweet potatoes originate in South America while yams are products of Africa. While both varieties date back to prehistoric times, yams are believed to be much older than sweet potatoes. Yams have a predominantly starchy taste, whereas sweet potatoes (as the name suggests) have a very dominant sweet taste.

Although they are technically different, both yams and sweet potatoes can be cooked in similar ways and are equally tasty.