The Real Reason You're Craving Sweet Potatoes

Do you ever feel like you can't get enough of sweet potatoes? While we're all familiar with salt and sugar cravings, succumbing to a sweet potato seems somewhat unusual. Even though they're ubiquitous for being a side dish, craving sweet potatoes may be your body's way of clueing you in on what it really needs.

One of the biggest reasons you're craving this orange vegetable is simple — you're hungry. According to Simply Called Food it's possible that when you're hungry you long for a sweet potato because you like the taste or you need a food high in carbohydrates. In fact, sweet potatoes are loaded with carbohydrates and fiber too. One 100-gram baked sweet potato without salt is 90 calories and contains approximately 20.7 grams of carbs and 3.3 grams of dietary fiber, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). 

Carbs are extremely important for our overall health and help us function properly. "They play an important part in a balanced eating plan. We want carbs because they're our body's favorite fuel source, especially for activity and exercise," registered dietitian Anna Taylor tells the Cleveland Clinic. In other words, carbs aren't bad, and neither is craving sweet potatoes.

Other reasons you're craving sweet potatoes

Beyond being high-carb, sweet potatoes also contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (per Simply Called Food). So, if you're craving sweet potatoes your body may be saying it needs more nutrients. Think vitamin C, A, B, and E, potassium, and manganese — this orange vegetable is abundant in nutrients, shares Healthline. What's more is that sweet potatoes also contain plant compounds, such as chlorogenic acid, anthocyanins, and beta-carotene, which is what gives it its bright orange color. But nutrient deficiencies aren't always the culprit.

According to registered dietitian nutritionist, Vandana Sheth, cravings "may also be caused by a combination of social, emotional, cultural, and environmental cues" (via Shape). Oftentimes food is linked synonymously with different cues to reward us when things are going well or to self-soothe when they're not, like when we're heartbroken or land our dream job. 

Keep in mind, blood sugar fluctuations may also have you surrendering to the delight of sweet potatoes. This could be the result of low blood sugar levels or high insulin levels. Sweet potatoes are somewhat in the middle of the glycemic index chart (per Harvard Health Publishing). Foods higher up on the list are faster absorbed and rapidly increase glucose levels. Whereas foods lower down release steady levels of glucose. All in all, you could be craving sweet potatoes because you're in need of energy.