Benefits of starch for the body
The only digestible natural carbohydrate is starch, which accounts for about 80% of its caloric intake in a person. In comparison to table sugar and other refined carbohydrates, it has few calories and no harmful effects on blood glucose levels.
Starch contains essential microelements such as potassium, calcium, thiamine, riboflavin, and iron, and is a rich source of iodine, which is fundamental for proper thyroid functioning.
Starch benefits the body in several ways:
The average daily intake of starch should be about 1 – 2 tablespoons per person. People who do not have diabetes can eat about 70 grams of carbohydrate per meal and 25 – 40 grams at each snack, while diabetics can eat about half of this amount.
The best sources of starch are whole-grain loaves of bread, pasta, rice, and cereals that have not been processed or refined. For some people who cannot tolerate large amounts of these foods, it is possible to use products derived from them such as potato starch, which can be found in any pharmacy or health food store.
Starch can be found in some fruits and vegetables, although their content is low compared to cereals, legumes, and potatoes. The best sources are bananas (the starch of which must be completely digested), pumpkin, corn on the cob (zucchini), and parsnip.
People who cannot tolerate starch well should not eat more than 1 -2 meals containing it per day and must ensure that the carbohydrate they do ingest be thoroughly cooked.
Starch can be used to improve intestinal transit time by helping to cleanse the digestive system of waste matter. It is also beneficial after illness or surgery for which fasting was necessary because it stimulates the pancreas to produce enzymes which are then used by the body without having to strain itself, as would be the case if it were forced to digest other foods at this time.
When using starch in these situations, people should take care not to consume only concentrated starches such as rice or pasta, since this may cause intestinal discomfort. People should also avoid consuming starch on an empty stomach, and they should drink enough water to help the body digest it.
People who have trouble tolerating starch can enable their bodies to gradually accept it by starting with small amounts of potato starch (or other products derived from whole foods such as rice flour, cornstarch, etc.) on a daily basis for a few days before moving on to larger portions containing a greater number of carbohydrates.
People who have a healthy digestive system and eat food that is properly combined can tolerate starch in large amounts, but it is recommended that they not eat more than twice the amount of vegetables and/or fruits at each meal since starches slow down digestion, allowing less time for the body to use vitamins from raw foods.
list of starchy foods:
1. potatoes (3,5 g/100g)
2. rice (8,6 g/100g)
3. wheat (12,7 g/100g)
wheat bread = 20% of wheat total carbohydrates: 12,7*4=51,4 50%-20%=30 g of carbohydrates
50 g of bread = 12,5 g of carbohydrates
4. oats (16,7 g/100g)
5. cornflakes (15,3 g/100g)
6. pasta (12,5g/100g)
7. beans (8,3 g/100g)
kidney beans: 8,3*2=16,6
8. dried peas (9g/100g)
dried peas: 9*2=18 total carbohydrates: 18*4=72
9. lentils (12,5g/100g)
lentils: 12,5*2=25 total carbohydrates: 25*4=100
10. rice cakes (22,7 g/100g)
11. cereals (15,8 g/100g)
shredded wheat: 15,8*4=62,3 50 g of shredded wheat = 25 g of carbohydrates
Advantages and disadvantages of starch-based foods:
carbohydrates provide energy for the body, which is needed to do exercise and get through the day (working, studying…)
it is easy to overindulge in them (potatoes, pasta, etc.) and gain weight because of that; an average healthy person should eat twice his/her weight in kg each day; the rest of the macros should be distributed in 20% protein, 30% fat and 50% carbohydrates
the body uses leading sources of energy first (sugars), then fats, then proteins slices of bread are rich in fibers that clean out the digestive system
people who suffer from diabetes have to control their starchy intake for the sake of good blood sugar levels
– the more you chew, the better your digestion will be (less insulin needed to break up starches)
Benefits of starch in rice:
– rice is easily digestible and provides quick energy for the body; it has a small amount of fat and fibers
– you can cook it in many different ways: fried, baked, boiled…
1 cup of cooked white rice = 216 kcal, 47 g carbohydrates (mostly starch), 3 g fat . 7 g proteins. It helps with gaining weight, but not with losing it.
benefits of starch in bread:
– bread is a great dietary supplement that provides the body with carbohydrates and fibers from wheat flour; baked bread is filled with proteins and vitamins
1 slice of wholemeal bread = 129 kcal, 33 g carbohydrates (mostly starch), 2 g fat . 9 g proteins
– it also provides fibers that clean out the digestive system and add more bulk to the stool (prevents constipation)
Types of carbs:
sugars, starches, fibers
sugars are simple carbohydrates; their molecules contain only carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. They come from different sources: fruits, vegetables, sucrose (table sugar), glucose, fructose, etc.
starches are polysaccharides made up of hundreds or thousands of glucose molecules; the way they are digested is very similar to sugars fiber is a carbohydrate that cannot be digested by the human body; it stays in our guts and provides bulk with defecation
the purpose of fiber is to keep everything in our bellies moving smoothly, preventing constipation
Most of the fibers come from seeds, nuts, and legumes:
in order to get energy, our bodies have to break down fats into glycerol and fatty acids; this is done in the liver the pancreas produces enzymes that turn carbs into glucose molecules which are used for either immediate or future energy needs
starches are broken down into glucose molecules first, before other carbs the digestive system breaks down proteins into amino acids; this process takes a long time and consumes a lot of energy for the body to do it.