What are Starchy Foods?
Starchy foods are one of the main sources of carbohydrates in our diet. Carbohydrates provides energy for the body, especially the brain and the nervous system. Many of these foods are rich in dietary fiber, B vitamins, calcium and iron. Fiber keeps the bowels healthy and also helps you to feel fuller for longer, making you less likely to snack on unhealthy foods. Cereals and root vegetables are great sources of starch. We should eat starchy foods such as bread, potatoes and cereals including rice and oats every day as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
These foods can also help control your weight because they are bulky and make you feel full after eating, so you tend to eat less. Some people think that starchy foods are fattening, but gram for gram they contain fewer than half the calories of fat. Starchy foods can be part of a healthy meal plan, but portion size is the key. People who are sensitive to sugar should avoid most starchy foods, since most starchy foods are rapidly broken down into sugar.
Insulin Resistance (Carbohydrate Intolerance)
Insulin resistance is a process in which the body is inefficient at managing sugars and starches you have eaten in your diet. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps unlock the body's cells so that sugar (glucose) from the food we eat can be used by the cells for energy. Insulin resistance is a term used to signify that the body's cells have become resistant to the insulin produced by the pancreas resulting in a rise in blood sugar. If you already have some insulin resistance like most people living in modern societies, you need to restrict your intake of starchy foods. Eating starchy foods can raise your blood sugar levels and you may gain weight.
List of Starchy Foods
- Grains: Rice, Corns, Spaghetti, Pasta, Oats, Quinoa, Barley
- Root vegetables: Potatoes, Yam, Sweet Potatoes
- Beans and Lentils: Black-eyed beans, Red kidney beans, Peas, Lentils (green, brown), Soy beans
- Nuts and seeds: Chestnuts, Sunflower seeds, Peanuts
- Other: Wheat flour, Bread
- If you have carbohydrate intolerance, you should cut down or avoid starchy foods except for vegetables.
- Choose starchy foods that are rich in fiber.
- Control your portion size of starchy foods.
- Try to include at least one starchy food with each of your main meals.
- Avoid most baked goods or anything made with flour.
- Eat more root vegetables. Most of root vegetables are rich in starch.
- Avoid processed and refined foods as these contain lots of hidden sugars and fats.
- Try to choose whole-grain foods.
- Make sure to drink plenty of water each day.