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Difference Between Potato and Yam

Potato vs Yam

Yes, you have been eating potatoes all your life and know how versatile this tuber can be in making various recipes. In fact, potatoes are so commonly consumed in average households in all parts of the world that it has become the 4th largest food crop after wheat, maize, and rice. But, do you know that there is another food crop grown mostly in Africa that looks similar to potato and also tastes like it? Yes, Yam is the vegetable that is popular in many parts of the world that confuses many with its similarities with potatoes. But there are also differences between potato and Yam that will be highlighted in this article.

Yams are bigger than average potatoes and are orange in color, though there are varieties with outlandish colors such as purple also. Yams are closer to sweet potatoes than potatoes as they have sugar content higher than potatoes, and closer to sweet potatoes. Both potatoes and yams are great source of carbohydrates, though carbs from yams are more complex than those in potato. This is why yams cannot metabolize as fast as potatoes, and thus lead to weight gain faster than is the case with potatoes. But, they do not contribute to sugar or diabetes, which is commonly seen with excess consumption of potatoes.

Sweet potatoes that come from Louisiana are taken as yams by people because of similar looks, but they are just sweet potatoes. On the other hand, yams are produced mostly in the continent of Africa with Nigeria accounting for more than 70% of world production of yams. Yam belongs to genus Diascorea, and is a perennial herb that is grown in Africa because of its tuber that is a great food source for millions across Africa. Yam tubers can be very large and grow up to 1.5m in length. Would you believe there are tubers weighing as much as 70kg? Whereas potatoes are normally only 3-4 inch in size, it is easy to differentiate between a potato and a yam.

It is hard to believe that yam has been around since about 8000 B.C as many people still are not aware of its existence. But come to Nigeria, and you will realize the importance of this food crop. It is easy to grow, and is found in abundance across the country, and has been vital in ensuring survival of poor people in this country. What is great is that yam can be stored for up to 6 months without refrigeration, and this makes yams priceless in a country like Nigeria.

Yams should not be consumed raw as they contain ingredients that can prove toxic. This is why they are normally boiled before eating. Just like potatoes, the skin is peeled and yams are cut into pieces before boiling and making a dish.

What is the difference between Potato and Yam?

· Potatoes are grown in all parts of the world and are 4th largest food crop in the world, whereas yams are tubers grown mostly in Africa, especially Nigeria.

· Yams are much larger than potatoes, and some can weigh as much as 70 kg.

· Yams have more complex carbohydrates than potatoes.

· Yams are digested slowly, and do not cause diabetes with excessive consumption like potatoes.

· Yams are sweeter than potatoes, and this is why some people consider them to be sweet potatoes.

· Some of the ingredients in yam are toxic, and as such they should not be eaten raw.


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