Is Starch Bad For You?

I have talked very much about the dangers of sugar and carbs in general, most notably in my blog posts Why Do We Need Carbohydrates? and High Carb Foods To Avoid.

Now, I want to answer a question many people on the internet seem to have: Is starch bad for you?

Starch is a complex network consisting of glucose molecules. You can think of it this way: If sugars are small grains of sand, starch is the beach. It's not only a collection of simple sugars, it holds these sugars together and gives them a bigger meaning than just the small grain.

One thing is also largely true: Consuming starch is not the same as swallowing the same amount of carbs in sugars. The complexity of the carb network takes time to be broken down in the body, but let's face it: Carbs are carbs, and starch contains those simple carbs I have warned you about.

Why starch is indeed bad for you

Image courtesy of adamr /

The same things I mentioned about sugar being dangerous also go for starch. Many people, but mostly companies and industries surrounding sugar and advertising for sugar, try to disrupt the constant scientific flow of information regarding the dangers (read the above mentioned articles for a doctor's opinion). They make it look as if starch was important, necessary and that we need the "energy" to go about our daily routines. I have even heard these sorts of comments from people in my working environment ("I hope you ate breakfast well - let's lift this piano").

We constantly depend on starch and sugars, or so it seems. And the logic is true for those who have fallen victim to the sugar addiction: If you eat your buns and bread every morning, your rice and noodles for lunch, and more bread, fries and a baked potato for dinner, then sure, you notice how a lack of carbohydrates results in a lack of energy. Then you can't lift a piano any more. Point taken.

The question is: Is this dependency desired, necessary and natural? Let's take a look back in history.

The way things were

Many opponents of a low carb diet often argue that there was no "universal" stone age diet - that people in ancient times did not all eat the same food that was perfectly low in carbs, as many low carb fanatics allegedly say.

Well, I agree with the critics: There was not just one typical diet. People in the old ages did not hunt only mammoths. They hunted for deer, bears and fish. They did not only eat roots, they ate nuts, fruits and grains.

But let's be reasonable: Even those who had a lot of carbs available (and some of these "barbarian" cultures even exist today), they certainly knew how to burn those carbs again. They did not sit on the couch and buy their carbs with money. So the problem of too many carbs wasn't there.

Another point: Starch was not so widely known. People ate the grains the way they grew, didn't collect them in bags and brought them to the mill to be shredded and turned into bread. Bread is a relatively new invention, and even if critics also disagree here and state that bread was already baked in the stone ages, I will go as far as saying that bread back then probably has nothing to do with bread today. People would not buy that kind of bread if it was sold in the stores.

So what foods did not exists until 10,000 years ago? French fries, breads (toast, croissant, buns etc.), processed white rice, the list goes on. Yes, you heard me right: Even the rice we eat and we think is a natural plant is actually processed. You have to make an extra effort to get unprocessed rice. And guess what? It won't taste exactly the same. If it did, companies would not make such an effort in pealing off the outer skin.

How to live more healthy

If you want to live more healthy, lose weight if you want to, and get rid of the constant cravings for sugar and starch, follow these steps:

1. Learn how to get rid of the dependency on carbs: How To Stop Hunger Cravings
2. Find out that it's actually all easier than it sounds: Lose Weight Without exercising
3. Follow the Low Carb Guidelines

That's all you need to do. You will feel better quite soon, once the addiction is over.
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