Nearly all the diets (weight loss and otherwise) advise people to go easy on starch. If you too follow a weight loss diet, you must have been advised to consume less amounts of starchy foods. Similarly, people suffering from diabetes are also advised to limit the intake of starchy foods. Starch is found in a variety of foods like white bread, pasta, rice, etc. It is also found in several fruits and vegetables.
What is Starch
As starchy foods are banned in nearly all the diets, one may think that starchy foods are fatty foods that lead to weight gain and hence, should be avoided. This is partly true, starchy foods lead to weight gain. But this occurs only when one consumes large amounts of it. Starch is a form of carbohydrate that is found in plant sources like grains, fruits and vegetables.
Starch is a complex carbohydrate which is essential for gaining energy. When one consumes starchy food, it gets converted into glucose and energy. Complex carbohydrates like starch are not easily digested in the body. They get converted into energy slower than sugars because complex carbohydrates contain fiber which does not get digested easily. Due to this property of starch, having starchy foods keeps us fuller for a longer period. Complex carbohydrates are also low in calories and do not contain fats. Therefore, having complex carbohydrates in limited forms can help in gaining energy and do not contribute in weight gain. As mentioned above, starch in found in grains, vegetables and fruits. Let us take a look at fruits containing starch.
Starchy Fruits List
When talking about fruits high in starch, the first fruit that comes to the mind is a banana. A banana contains high amounts of starch and hence, it is recommended to consume only one banana a day. Following is a list of other fruits that contain starch. Some of the fruits in the list may be popularly tagged as vegetables but botanically, they are fruits.
- Winter squash
- Sapota / Sapodilla / Chikoo
- Water chestnut
Among the list, fruits belonging to the banana family like plantain and banana (ripe or green) contain high amounts of starch. Ripe apples also contain traces of starch but more of glucose. Similarly, avocados also contain small amounts of starch.
Starch containing foods (including fruits and vegetables) should be consumed in limited amounts. Specially, people suffering from diabetes should limit the intake of these fruits or exclude them completely from the diet. This is because, the complex carbohydrate (starch) is converted in glucose which can affect the blood sugar level.
However, starchy vegetables like potatoes and other foods like white bread, white rice and pasta affect the blood sugar level more strongly than starchy fruits. Secondly, it should also be noted that having smaller amounts of starch do not lead to weight gain. You only tend to gain weight if you combine starchy foods with fatty foods like cheese sauce, or other fat-rich sauce. Therefore, it is advisable to consume less amounts of starchy fruits or switch to other fruits like:
- Apricots, grapes, guavas
- All citrus fruits like orange, grapefruit
- Mangoes, melons, pears, pineapple
- All berries
We can conclude by saying that starchy fruits should not be completely eliminated from the diet as they provide fat free energy. Secondly, they also contain fiber which is essential for digestion and for fulfilling appetite. So, even if on a weight loss diet, you should consume small amounts of starchy vegetables and fruits. Take care!