Let's start with what starch is. Starches are actually long complex chains of simple sugar, also known as "complex carbohydrates". While some starches do not raise blood sugar as fast or as much as simple carbs (A.K.A. simple sugars), some starches are act
ually more glycemic than some sugar. High glycemic foods raise a persons blood glucose level, which in turn releases the hormone insulin in the body. During this period of time your body cannot use fat for fuel. Insulin actually turns OFF the fat burning switch and turns ON the fat storage switch. This helps explain the logic behind the Low-Carb Diet, the Paleo Diet and others like them. In order to burn body fat, you must eat a LOWER carb diet (I do not advise a no-carb diet, it is not sustainable for most people) and focus more on meats, veggies, nuts and seeds, some fruit, while only having a little starch and sugar daily.
So which foods are high in starch?
Some of the highest on the Glycemic Index (GI) include grains (wheat, rice, barley, oats), potatoes, corn, and beans. Also high up on the GI are bread, pasta, cereal, crackers, biscuits, cookies, cakes, pie crust, and anything else made with flour.
Well than what should we eat? The best starchy foods are whole beans or lentils. When choosing grains, eat ones which are whole and intact when cooked, such as brown rice, barley, amaranth, or quinoa.
Avoid most baked goods or anything made with flour, along with processed cereals with little fiber. Best choices are specially-made low carb breads or wraps which have less starch and more fiber, along with high protein high fiber cereals such as some Kashi cereals.
"Lets be realistic Brian, I'm not giving up bread, rice, or pasta." Neither am I. I recommend trying one of these two methods in order to start scaling back your carb and starch intake. This first one is my personal preference.
- Monday through Friday, no cereal, bread, rice, or pasta. Increase your protein intake in order to build lean muscle. Saturday and Sunday are your cheat days. That doesn't mean go on a two-day cupcake bender, just have whatever you feel like having and don't worry so much about the diet.
- If that method doesn't suit you, try allowing yourself 3-4 cheat meals per week instead. Same rules apply.