Have you ever eaten a sweet potato and shortly after felt a “grumpy stomach” coming? I might have the answer for you today somewhere in the 5 reasons why you might not be able to digest sweet potatoes.

Would you rather listen to this post? I have recorded it so you can listen to it if you prefer.

For the record, sweet potatoes, on almost any given “diet,” should be tolerated. 

After all, they are on the gut healthy food list.

But let’s face it. You are here today because when you eat a sweet potato, your stomach gets grumpy, rumbling, and gassy. Sort of like this….

Is your grumpy, growling, gassy and just overall discomfort fairly instant?

The first few times it happened I thought,

Nope. Not from the sweet potato of course. How could it be?

The sweet potato is healthy; generally touted as a power food and one of the World’s Healthiest Foods.

Like many other “healthy-for-us-foods,” when the gut is compromised “healthy” is not always that simple.

Many health reports have told us for years that we need to choose brown rice over white rice and sweet potatoes over white potatoes.

But when the brown rice was hurting me, I dug into that topic a little more, too.

Turns out, if the gut bacteria balance is off, brown rice can be too difficult to digest. Why? Because…. fiber.

Brown rice rocks and has more fiber than white rice.

The problem lies within the fiber “coating” rice contains. It can be difficult to digest. White rice has been stripped of that, so while the fiber consumption diminishes, the digestibility greatly improves.

I tested the theory – over and over and over again. I digest white rice just fine, but not brown rice.

Being the food detective I am (and the perfect “guinea pig” on myself), I decided to research and test different things with the sweet potato.

5 reasons you might not be able to digest sweet potatoes sarahkayhoffman.com


5 Reasons Why You Might Not be Able to Digest Sweet Potatoes

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5 Reasons Why You Might Not Be Able to Digest Sweet Potatoes agutsygirl.com #sweetpotato #sweetpotatoes #digestion #guthealth


If you cannot digest sweet potatoes due to oxalates, your joints could be achy or you might experience things not necessarily “the gut,” but are ultimately outputs from the digestive system. (p.s. Everything is!)

I’ve written all about oxalates HERE.


In one medium sweet potato, there are 5g of sugar and 4g of fiber.

It is a very starchy food and therefore with a less-than-optimal gut microbiome, sweet potatoes could trigger an issue like fructose malabsorption or even feed into certain bacterial imbalances.

{And that “stinkiness” you may experience? It’s likely the carbohydrates from the starchy potato fermenting in your gut.} 

Root Vegetable

The sweet potato is a root vegetable that belongs to the morning glories family. If you have problems with root vegetables (i.e. beets, carrots, celery, onion, potatoes, turnips, etc.), sweet potatoes will be hard for you, too.


Even on their own, many have a hard time with sweet potatoes. However, one other reason people with gut issues don’t digest them well is because of the other food(s) eaten with them.

Adding additional sugar to them or eating with a burger or steak can make digestion very tricky as the body is trying to process too many things at once.

For this, you might consider a high-quality digestive enzyme.


Amylose is one of the major types of digestible polysaccharides or complex carbohydrates. Sweet potatoes contain a lot of amylose, and while that is great for those “dieting,” it’s not necessarily for those with complicated guts.

This is also the reason why the digestive enzymes I take and recommend contain amylase, to help break this down. Unfortunately, it’s not always enough.

BTW – I’ve investigated sweet potatoes even more. HERE are more reasons why you might not be able to digest them.

5 Reasons Why You Might not be able to digest sweet potatoes agutsygirl.com #sweetpotato

It Should Not be This Hard to Digest Sweet Potatoes

The real and raw truth – the truth that you might not want to hear – is that sweet potatoes should not be this hard to digest.

I don’t know very many people with normally functioning guts that have the problems with sweet potatoes as the Gutsy women do.

The reason you cannot tolerate them could very well likely be due to a leaky gut, SIBO, and/or another gut infection.

All three of those could and likely are resulting in this food intolerance.

You can use a 90-day gut healing journal to help identify if sweet potatoes are truly making you miserable with my 90-day food journal, Healing Blooms from Within.

If you’re not interested in following a templated diet, but instead want to learn to create your own based on your unique situation, then you’ll love my book, A Gutsy Girl’s Bible: a 21-day approach to healing the gut. In it, you’ll find 100+ Creations. Grab your copy on Amazon HERE.

Or, have this book at your fingertips instantly by downloading the PDF now.

p.s. Today I’m able to eat sweet potatoes freely because I healed my gut.

If you liked this post, you might also enjoy:

  1. Why Can’t I Digest Eggs
  2. Can I Eat These Top 12 Vegetables?
  3. 30-Day Gut Reset


5 Reasons Why You Might not be able to digest sweet potatoes agutsygirl.com #sweetpotatoes
5 Reasons Why You Might Not Be Able to Digest Sweet Potatoes agutsygirl.com #sweetpotato #fall #healthyliving #guthealth
5 Reasons Why You Might Not Be Able to Digest Sweet Potatoes www.sarahkayhoffman.com #guthealth #fall #sweetpotatoes #fodmap #IBS
5 Reasons Why You Might Not Be able to digest sweet potatoes sarahkayhoffman.com #ibs #ibd #SIBO #healthyliving #guthelalth

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  1. I have troubles with standard potatoes but not sweet potatoes for some reason! Maybe because a regular potato I eat with other “toppings” or usually with a steak and sweet potato by itself is amazing. I also take bromelian extract tablets with my protein meals & have been for two years. The first couple months I didn’t notice a difference but now it’s huge. I feel tons better! Weird how all good things take time right?! I think you are spot on with the theory that its not the sweet potato itself but what goes with it (for some people anyways!). Keep up the good work!

  2. I’ve never once thought of sweet potatoes being the culprit in my gurgling stomach. They’re one of my favorite foods, so I’d be quite sad to not eat them, but I will definitely be doing some testing. Great info, girl! Thanks!

  3. Is there another way to counter the digestive issues that follow with Sweet Potatoes on top of taking your recommended digestive enyzmes? I really enjoy Sweet Potatoes and all the recipes you can make from it. Thank you for this article, really cleared up a lot!


    1. Hi Richard! Here are a couple ways I try to “get around it:”
      1. Limit to just 1/2 c. per sitting
      2. Bake the sweet potato; eat skinless
      3. Take an enzyme

      I would gather if you did all 3, you would probably be good to go. Give it a try:)

  4. I don’t seem to be able to tolerate it at all.

    I don’t have any other known food reactions. no real other signs of food intolerances. did gaps for a year. still eat raw goats milk kefir regularly. take vsl3, too.

    I don’t know what it is. I think my Liver is stressed, and I have become a regular coffee-enema user.

    but if I eat sweet potatoes I have gas that smells like something is “burnt”. … graphic. I know.

    just now I am trying to do my daily enema and so much gas is coimng out from last nights sweet potatoes. I also cooked them up and ate them with ground beef. so that could be part of it.

    I’ve heard good things about GB3 … http://drlwilson.com/Articles/gb3.htm I might have to order some. =|

    … darn you, you “healthy” sweet potatoes. grr
    maybe skinless with the enzyme would be okay.

  5. Try not to drink any fluid even water 15-20 minutes after eating sweet potatoes to prevent flatulence. The fluid will delay the digestion of the sweet potatoes.

  6. My mother is recovering from a bout of C-diff. She said today she felt like she was having a setback. What did she have for dinner last night? Sweet potatoes! I have had a hard time for years with these and told her to avoid them. Nice to get confirmation.

    1. Sad, but true:( I love them so much. I haven’t had them once during these 101 days of gut healing I’m working through. Happy healing to your mom!

  7. thanks for this i thought i was losing my mind!! i have the same problem with brown rice. apparently, it too is hard to digest! for us with bad guts! xoxoxo

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