Not all starches are bad. Science has found that many starches are beneficial for overall body health.
There are three different types of starches: rapidly digesting starch, slowly digesting starch and resistant starch.
Starches are categorized according to the body’s ability to break them down. Some starches break down quickly, while others do not get digested at all.
Rapidly digesting starches are metabolized in an average of 20 minutes. For people with an average metabolism, rapidly digesting starches, like those in white bread, take only 20 minutes to breakdown. Other types of starches can take hours to break down, leading to greater feelings of being satisfied.
Slowly digesting starches may benefit diabetes as well as other diseases, like cancer. Slowly digesting starches do not cause spikes in blood sugar levels, making them a good option for diabetics.
Slowly digesting starches can help to maintain blood sugar levels. If blood sugar levels remain steady, the body is not overloaded with glucose and the body will function normally.
Resistant starch may help in weight maintenance. While not necessarily useful for weight loss, the satiating properties of resistant starch have shown benefits in helping to maintain a healthy weight.
Resistant starch is a good source of prebiotics. Prebiotics are the foods’ source of probiotics, healthy bacteria that live in the gut.
The composition of starch changes between raw and cooked foods. While some foods like raw potatoes are good sources of resistant starch, the composition of such foods changes when cooked. However, when cooled and reheated, the composition can change again into a healthier starch.
Scientists are working to help consumers replace rapidly digesting starch with slowly digesting starches in premade foods. Currently, many processed and premade foods, such as bread, are made with rapidly digesting starch, which can cause health problems. By replacing unhealthy starches with healthy ones, health experts hope to improve consumers’ health without having to read labels.