Sweet Potatoes are sweet. But they aren't potatoes. They're better. They raise your blood sugar and insulin a lot less than real potatoes do. Sweet potatoes have a low glycemic indexof 54, while baked potatoes have a high glycemic index of 85....
This can be important if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic, have heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglycerides. Because, as I've learned, a lot of damage to your heart happens right after a meal that raises your blood sugar too much. And Sweet Potatoes are good sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, B6, iron, potassium, and fiber.
Sweet potatoes are not yams, though orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are often called yams. Some people don't like the "pumpkin" flavor and moist, soft texture of orange sweet potatoes. Fortunately, there are other sweet potato choices, from the white-fleshed "Japanese" or "Kotobuki", to the pale yellow "Jersey", to the purple-fleshed "Okinawan". These all have a drier, fluffier flesh, with a mild to slightly nutty flavor.
Sweet potato muffins are still a big favorite of mine, but, more and more, I'm buying the Jerseys and the Japanese to replace baked or roasted potatoes at the dinner table. I think the Japanese "Kotobuki" would make a nice fluffy mash, but I haven't tried it yet.
A 100-gram serving of baked sweet potato has the same amount of carbohydrates (21g) as a 100g serving of baking potato. But the sweet potato has 3g of fiber, 6.5g of sugar, and 7g of starch (is it just me, or are there about 4g of carb missing from that equation?), while the baking potato has 2g of fiber, 1.2g of sugar, and 17.3g of starch.
Photo from Nakashima Farms, Ditty's Saturday Market, Livingston, CA.