Difference Between Sweet Potato and Yams

Contrary to popular belief, sweet potatoes and yams are not related. A lot of grocery stores and vendors sell either of the two sometimes labeled incorrectly or just as one type. These two tubers grow in different regions, which are worlds apart. Below are the differences between sweet potatoes and yams.


Yams are cylindrical vegetable tubers with a black-brown skin that resembles the bark. It has a reddish, white or purple fresh. Yams are drier and starchier when compared to sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, range from a white fresh to a yellow, orange fresh. The sweet potato has different colors of the skin ranging from red, white, purple, brown, and yellow.

The texture of the two tubers is their biggest difference since the sweet potatoes are soft while yams are harder almost being crisp.

Nutrient Content

Sweet potatoes for the longest time have been a favorite to many people because of the high quantities of vitamin A. This vital nutrient maintains good eyesight. It also packs high levels of vitamin E, calcium, and iron. Yams have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and a higher ratio of fatty acids essential for better health.

Sweet potatoes have a higher content of anti-inflammatory compounds and people with diabetes, arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases should eat more of them. It has a higher content of omega-6 fats, which inhibit the use of omega-3 fats that are in abundance in yams.


In the beginning, before there was the mass exodus of people around the world, originally, growing of sweet potatoes was in Central and South America. Yams, on the other hand, had their origins in Africa and Asia. West Africa still has the highest production of yams in the world standing at 95%.

Now grown in other parts of the world China is on track to be the biggest exporter of Sweet potatoes that has tempered edges.


The method of cooking can make the taste of these tubers to vary, but there are distinctions when it comes to taste. Yams have a rich flavor with a creamy texture. Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, are sweeter than yams, and the texture is different for each variety of sweet potatoes.

Many people cross the thick line between these two tubers on so many occasions that it is now an issue of contention, which is which. Visit specialty grocery stores for real yams and sweet potatoes.

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