Are Starchy Foods Healthy?

It has become common knowledge that too much sugar is bad for health. Sugar, in the form of fizzy drinks, sweets, ice-cream, etc is known to be bad for our teeth but also for our overall well being. However, starch, another member of the carbohydrate family is often seen as a better alternative. This unfortunately is not the case.


Starchy Food - What Are They?

Food items that fit under this term can be broadly classified as fitting into the following categories: breads, pastas, rice, cereals and grains. These food groups are also commonly referred to as complex carbohydrates.

Complex carbohydrates consist of a series of glucose (sugar) molecules linked together in a long chain. Once in the gut, our digestive enzymes break these links thereby releasing the individual glucose molecules. It is these molecules that are then absorbed into your bloodstream and have a direct impact on your blood sugar levels and in turn cause a spike in insulin levels.

Still not convinced? This picture below helps to illustrate how much sugar is found in common starchy foods:

low carb infographic Starch is concentrated sugar.jpg

This information is important, especially if you have diabetes and you are looking at effectively managing your diabetes.

So what’s the final verdict?

Minimising sugars in the diet is always a positive and your body will thank you for it. However, starchy carbohydrates will still have a negative impact on blood sugar levels as starches are linked sugar molecules. Hence, once digested, starch will have the same impact (and sometimes bigger) as granulated sugar does on blood sugar levels.

Ever wondered why you might be struggling to lose those extra few pounds even though you are eating “healthy”? It’s because you are still supplying your body with sugar and not allowing your body to burn fat for energy to supply your day to day needs.

By focusing on fruit and vegetables that are naturally higher in dietary fibre will help to ensure that you are meeting all the vitamin and mineral requirements for optimal health, but without compromising your blood sugar levels in the process. This will help to reduce inflammation but also help to improve your energy levels as you move away from depending on sugar bursts for energy.



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