Starch Benefits and Food Sources


Starch is a white, granular and organic chemical which is formed by all green plants. It is a soft, white and tasteless powder which is insoluble in cold water, alcohol and other solvents. The chemical formula of starch molecule is (C6H10O5)n.  Starch is a carbohydrate polymer found in grains, legumes, and tubers. It is a polysaccharide composed of less than 1,000 to many thousands of a-linked glucose units and its two forms are amylase and amylopectin. Amylose is the linear form of starch, while amylopectin consists of linear and branched glucose polymers. In general, amylose starches are compact, have low solubility, and are less rapidly digested. Amylopectin starches are more rapidly digested, presumably because of their more open-branched structure.

Starch is predominantly derived from plant seed, such as wheat, maize, rice, oats, and rye, and from plant roots, such as potatoes. Legumes and vegetables also contribute to the starch content of the diet. Bread and pasta are popular forms of starch, while tropical starchy foods, such as plantains, cassava, sweet potatoes, and yams are increasingly contributing to carbohydrate intake. Starch accounts for 20–50% of total energy intake, depending on the total carbohydrate consumption.

Food Sources

Food name Weight (g) Starch (g)
White rice 185 126.34
Amaranth 193 110.53
Quinoa 170 88.77
Plantains 267 85.44
Millet 119 83.16
Teff 193 70.56
Navy beans 208 68.43
Pinto beans 193 65.95
French fries 184 60.48
Onion 166 56.16
Potatoes 299 53.79
Mozzarella cheese 228 49.41
Plain naan 90 38.48
Spelt 194 37.97
Pasta 124 32.25
Blue corn tortilla 57 29.39
Pizza 139 28.44
Corn 141 25.66
Paratha 79 24.89
Tamales 186 22.82


Health Benefits of Resistant starch

  1. Lower blood glucose levels

Resistant starch helps to normalize blood glucose by acting like dietary fiber (it slows carbohydrate digestion and absorption), activating glycogen synthesis genes (it cause body to store more carbohydrates in muscles and liver), lower insulin resistance. Supplementing diet with resistant starch control levels of blood glucose in overweight individuals. Glucose balance is the process to maintain normal blood glucose levels.

  1. Promote insulin sensitivity

Insulin resistance occurs as the cells become unsuccessful to respond to insulin resulting high blood sugar levels and it is related with higher chances of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Intake of resistant starch promotes insulin sensitivity and lowers insulin necessary to manage blood sugar in both humans and animals. It might promote insulin sensitivity by increasing excretion of bile acids into gut which lowers insulin resistance, lowers fat tissue macrophages that are immune cells which drive development of insulin resistance.

  1. Improve metabolic syndrome

Pre-diabetes or metabolic syndrome is a group of factors which promote the chances of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. The risk factors include low HDL cholesterol, large waistline, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure and blood sugar levels. One study conducted on 20 healthy adults shows that resistant starch lowers amount of insulin required after intake of food which helps to treat metabolic syndrome. In patients having metabolic syndrome, adding resistant starch to diet promote cholesterol, triglycerides levels as well as insulin sensitivity.

  1. Treatment for Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is caused due to the development of insulin resistance which is caused by obesity, genetics, inflammation and high blood glucose. Resistant starch lowers the chances of developing type 2 diabetes in animals as well as overweight adults by promoting insulin sensitivity, lowering blood fat levels and reducing blood glucose. Diet with resistant starch helps to prevent complications caused from excess blood sugar in type 2 diabetes patients. Study on 56 women having diabetes shows that resistant starch promoted blood glucose levels, increased antioxidants ad lowers toxins released by bacteria.

  1. Lowers blood triglycerides

Animal study shows that resistant starch impaired dietary fat absorption preventing increase in blood triglycerides levels after meal. It also promotes bowel movement. It is confirmed in both rats and humans, as resistant starch lowers triglyceride after meals.

  1. Cholesterol improvement

Addition of resistant starch to bread lowers total cholesterol levels in rats. It decreased LDL and total cholesterol levels while lowering HDL levels in humans and pigs.

  1. Heart health

Adding resistant starch in diet could promote heart health by reducing cholesterol levels. Add this starch to diet enhance heart health. Hardening of blood vessels is a major cause to heart disease. It lowers the risk which is involved in hardening of blood vessels in overweight individuals. Beans high in resistant starch lower cholesterol levels and chances of heart disease and diabetes.

  1. Kidney problems

Chronic kidney ailment is a complication of diabetes and heart disease. Diet having high amylose maize starch lowers chronic kidney disease by lowering oxidative stress, preventing colon lining damage and reduce inflammation in rats.

  1. Prevent weight gain

Regular exercise and dietary resistant starch prevents weight gain by lowering energy gap between drive to eat and suppressed energy requirements. It lowers accumulation of fat and blood glucose levels an enhance breakdown of fat through fermentation in intestines by assisting with obesity.

  1. Acts as a prebiotic

Prebiotics excite growth of good gut bacteria. It increases number of good bacteria in large intestine. Resistant starches have various health benefits such as preventing growth of bad bacteria, improving immune function, lower cancer risks and normalizing energy production.

Presence of excessive starch in the body

Starch is converted to sugar quickly and affects blood glucose as well as insulin levels. Blood glucose levels rise with an intake of too many sugary and starchy carbs.  Then it drops blood sugar levels resulting fatigued. It also causes brain to signal that one is hungry even if one just ate. All the extra sugar is stored in fat cells which causes weight gain.


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