Gluten is the general name for a group of proteins commonly found in wheat, rye, and barley.
It acts as a kind of glue, helping the foods keep their shape.
An immune reaction to eating gluten can exacerbate celiac disease.
The sweet potato, or Ipomoea batatas, is an underground tuber rich in beta carotene.
Beta carotene that metabolizes into vitamin A is usually found in red and orange vegetables.
Vitamin A is essential for good vision, preventing eye infections, and supporting the immune system.
Sweet potatoes are jam-packed with nutrients and high in fiber, carbohydrates, and essential minerals.
They can be boiled, baked, steamed, or fried. Sweet potato fries, anyone?
A distant cousin to the potato, a boiled, medium-sized sweet potato contains:
Sweet potatoes have a medium to high glycemic index (GI), depending on cooking methods.
The GI is a ranking system of all foods from 0 to 100 based on their effects on blood sugar levels.
Boiled potatoes start at 44, while fried potatoes shoot the GI up to 96.
People with type-2 diabetes should not eat large amounts of sweet potatoes.
In addition, they are a starchy vegetable that is 80% rapidly digested starch. 9% slowly digested starch and 11% resistant starch.
Our bodies have difficulties digesting resistant starch, so it travels down from the stomach through the small intestine and into the colon, where they meet 100 trillion beneficial gut bacteria called probiotics.
These healthy good guys are responsible for maintaining good digestive health, strengthening the immune system, and fighting against infections.
Can You Eat Sweet Potatoes On A Gluten-Free Diet?
About 5% of the world’s population suffers from gluten intolerance, with roughly a third of Americans stating they actively avoid gluten.
The most severe form of gluten intolerance is celiac disease, affecting less than 1% of the population.
Symptoms of gluten intolerance are:
- Weight loss
- Iron deficiency
- Itchy rash
- Bone and joint pain
Gluten is a group of proteins usually present in wheat, rye, barley, and spelt.
The two main proteins are gliadin and glutenin.
When flour mixes with water, these proteins bind into a sticky lump giving it a similar consistency to glue.
Gluten is what makes dough sticky and elastic.
In addition, it traps air molecules in bread, making it rise when heated.
Many things can look like gluten intolerance.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), wheat allergies, and diets high in FODMAPs can cause similar symptoms.
The good news for gluten intolerance sufferers, sweet potatoes make a highly nutritious, gluten-free addition to your diet!
The sweet potato has the potential to be a great new source of natural health-promoting chemicals.
Its leaves and roots are excellent protein sources, ranging from 4.0 percent to 27.0 percent and 1.0 percent to 9.0 percent, respectively.
In addition, some studies have shown that regular consumption of sweet potatoes over 12 months can help reduce weight by at least 5%.
Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber and water, helping you feel fuller for longer and reducing your overall food consumption.
They make an excellent addition to a weight-loss diet.
Some potential health benefits from sweet potatoes include:
- Enhancing brain function by lowering inflammation and slowing mental decline.
- They contain anthocyanins, an antioxidant that helps balance free radicals and reduces the risk of oxidative stress that can lead to severe illnesses like heart disease and cancer.
- The high fiber content in sweet potatoes helps maintain a healthy digestive system, prevents constipation, and ensures good bowel movements.
- They contain beta carotene that metabolizes into vitamin A, improving eye health and preventing infections.
Sweet potatoes can be prepared in various ways, including baking, boiling, frying, steaming, or pan-frying.
While the most healthy cooking methods exclude the use of cooking oil, sweet potato fries are a more nutritious option than french fries.
Baked sweet potatoes are gluten-free when cooked on their own, while some commercially available sweet potato chips or fries might contain small levels of gluten.
If you suffer from a gluten allergy, it’s best to prepare your own sweet potato chips or fries.
Are Sweet Potato Fries Gluten-Free?
Folks with gluten sensitivities should prepare their own fries at home.
Sweet potatoes are healthy foods with loads of complex carbohydrates, vitamin A, potassium, beta carotene, magnesium, and phosphorus.
In addition, they are rich in antioxidants that can help combat free radicals and prevent oxidative stress.
They are a healthier choice with their high vitamin A content and lower Glycemic Index than regular potatoes.
Although frying usually increases the GI and fat content, sweet potato fries are absolutely dee-lish!
If you’re making homemade fries, you’ll also have control over the oil you use and can use healthier oils like sunflower, saffron, or sesame.
To make sweet potato fries:
- Peel and slice the sweet potatoes into matchsticks around a quarter-inch thick.
- Soak the sweet potato sticks in water for a few hours. Because of the starchy, high moisture content, sweet potatoes might get soggy when fried. Soaking will some of the starch and will give you crispy fries.
- Dry off the matchsticks and dust off with gluten-free cornstarch.
- Heat healthy oils like sunflower or sesame in a skillet or pan.
- Fry the matchsticks in batches until golden and crispy. Sweet potato fries should cook in about five minutes.
- Dry off excess oil on paper towels and season if wanted
Watch this YouTube video for more information on making your own healthy sweet potato fries!
Are Frozen Sweet Potato Fries Gluten-Free?
If you have a gluten allergy, always check the labels carefully to ensure no presence of gluten.
Alternatively, you can make your sweet potato fries at home.
When making homemade fries, soak the fries after chopping them up into matchsticks.
Sweet potatoes have a high starch and moisture content, and fries can be soggy if cooked unsoaked.
Frozen sweet potato fries deliver 140 calories per 3-ounce serving and 5 grams of fat.
Some frozen fries come already blanched and pre-cooked in vegetable oil.
Two brands have certified gluten-free sweet potato fries.
Alexia – According to their customer care agent, their fries are manufactured in a non-gluten-free facility but on dedicated production lines.
Although the company does not call its fries gluten-free, none of its potato products contain gluten.
Ore-Ida – The majority of Ore-Ida’s frozen fries come labeled gluten-free.
Here’s the nutritional content of 100g of fried sweet potato fries.
Are Restaurant Sweet Potato Fries Gluten-Free?
If you are sensitive to gluten, check with the manager or wait staff if ever in doubt.
Ask if they cook their gluten-free food in a separate fryer and use gluten-free cornstarch.
In addition, restaurants often reuse frying oil from non-gluten-free foods.
Oils used to deep fry non-gluten-free food will contain trace amounts of gluten that can get into your meal.
Approximately 5% of the world’s population is gluten intolerant.
The most severe form of gluten intolerance is celiac disease, a debilitating condition that causes inflammation and damage to the small intestine.
Signs of gluten intolerance include:
– Excessive flatulence
– Decreased energy levels
– Weight loss
– Iron deficiency can lead to anemia
– Rashes on the elbows, knees, and buttocks
Gluten sensitivity can range from mild discomfort to a severe and debilitating condition that can affect your quality of life and limit the type of foods you can include in your diet.
As always, the Internet, although packed with information, is no substitute for medical help.
If suffering from gluten intolerance or getting nasty gastrointestinal disorders, always check with your medical professional.