Starch is one of the first things people attempt to cut out when they start a new a diet regimen. Whether it’s starch specifically or foods like pasta and rice that have starch, it’s always on the chopping block when it comes to weight loss.
But does starch make you fat? And if it does, how and why does starch make you fat? I didn’t know either. Keep reading to see what I dug up!
What IS Starch?
Put simply, starch is a carbohydrate. In fact it is the most prevalent carbohydrate in the human diet.
Starch is found in wheat, potatoes and root vegetables naturally. However starch is also found in many processed foods like pancakes, noodles and bread, which may have something to do it’s notorious reputation!
In its powder form, starch is used as a sauce thickener (in cooking).
Good Starch vs. Bad Starch
Whenever I ask “does starch make you fat” all I generally find are generic articles blathering on about good and bad starches without really explaining them. I find this both frustrating and confusing.
I mean, what’s the point of asking does starch make you fat if you can’t get an answer?
Good Starch: Good starch is known as complex carbohydrates because they’re composed of longer sugar molecules that make your body work harder to break them down. This way you stay energized all day long, rather than be on an energy roller coaster all day long!
Bad Starch: Bad starches are what you probably know as simple carbohydrates. These are smaller sugar molecules that give you almost no nutritional value (think cookies and cake) while giving you tons of calories and sugar.
Knowing The Difference
Wouldn’t life be perfect if foods with good starch were simply labeled “good” and “bad”? Ok maybe not perfect, but it’s sure make for quicker trips to the market!
There are a few ways you can tell the difference if you’re worried that starch makes you fat.
- Good starches include brown rice, whole grain pasta and whole wheat bread.
- When a food has a lot of sugar and not a lot of fiber…it’s a bad starch.
- Fruit is a simple carbohydrate BUT the high fiber content makes it a good starch!
- Chips, candy and soda are ALL bad starches.
Why Does Starch Make You Fat?
You probably figure, much like the kidney in the ice bath urban legend, that there must be some truth to the myth that starch makes you fat, right?
Well there is a reason, but it’s it can’t all be blamed on starch.
Friends of starch like pasta toppers alfredo and béarnaise sauce are why so many people ask, does starch make you fat? Topping rice with ladles of gravy or slathering mayonnaise, butter and sour cream over any starch is what leads to weight gain.
This is true even of some bad starches like refined grains like rice and bread.
A good rule of thumb for a healthy starch intake is to get the majority of your starches from good starches like fruits & vegetables, brown rice and beans and only taking a few calories from the bad starch foods like pie, soda and other highly processed foods.
Eating Healthy Starches
If you’ve been wondering for some time, does starch make you fat, you can use the following tips to get the right kind and amount of starches in your diet;
- Adhere to smaller portion sizes of carbohydrates.
- Get most of your starch from good starches (complex carbohydrates).
- Limit your bread intake (for example don’t eat pasta AND breadstick together!)
- Choose high fiber breads with less starch for sandwiches and toast.
- Choose whole oats or cold fiber cereal for breakfast.
Follow these steps and the next time someone asks does starch make you fat, you’ll have an answer!
Get a handle on your starchy food desires by reading our Eat Stop Eat review. See what intermittent fasting can do for you.