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Starch Intolerance Could Pose Serious Health Problems
There has been much debating and talk lately about the dangers of sugars and how they’re even worse for our health than fats. In fact, many new diets have readily adopted this new research and created whole new lifestyles around cutting out sugars and filling your plate with ‘healthy fats’ and vegetables. But it seems that regular old table sugar might not be the only culprit when it comes to worsening the health of humans. New research is beginning to identify starches as quite problematic for the health of many individuals and doctors are starting to warn against the dangers of these so-called, complex sugars.
There’s even a diagnosis for it: starch intolerance. Much like gluten intolerance, starch intolerance doesn’t cause problems on its own but wreaks havoc on the body and leads to other issues. Many times, starch intolerance is misdiagnosed because most people don’t know they have it. Doctors treat the symptoms relating to the starch intolerance but don’t realize that to fully cure or treat the problem they have to have the patient change their diet and lifestyle. The problem is growing and more and more people are realizing that the easiest, and simplest, solution to their problems are diet changes.
Starches and Intolerances
To put it simply, starches are a complex sugar. The scientific name for starches are “polysaccharides” which literally means ‘complex sugars.’ Table sugar is merely a ‘disaccharide’ which means that it contains only two sugars and starches can contain hundreds, if not thousands, of sugars in their makeup. This means that eating starches equates to eating sugar when everything breaks down in your body. The research shows that sugars are fattening for our bodies, can make us sick and diseased, cause addiction both physically and mentally, induce inflammation in the body and even lower energy and wreck your teeth.
But fewer people think about the fact that carbohydrates and complex starches are sugars and will cause the same kind of reaction in the body as if you were eating pure table sugar. This flawed logic has led to a new crop of health problems and what is known as starch intolerance. Starch intolerance occurs when your body become sensitive, or more sensitive, to the starches you’re putting into your body through your diet and starts to rebel against the presence of them and cause problems in the body. Many of these problems include irritable bowel syndrome, gut bloating and pain and other digestive and arthritic problems.
Not everyone has problems with starches. Some people are able to consume starches in a relatively high proportion and not have any health problems from them. Others are born with these sensitivities and still others develop them over time. That’s why there are individuals that previously had no issues with starches and gradually begin to develop problems but don’t know why. Visits to the doctor, and specialized tests, leads to findings of starch intolerance.
Which Starches To Avoid
If it’s starting to sound like you might be dealing with starch intolerance, don’t fret too much. Although there are many foods that are high in starches, even those considered “health” foods, there are still plenty of foods that are perfectly fine to eat. The rule of thumb is to remember that whole foods and as unprocessed as possible foods are always the best options. It seems that the more you cook or process a starch, the worse that it becomes for your body to tolerate and process.
Gluten in particular seems to be a starch that is problematic for most people but it isn’t the only one. Any processed wheat, potatoes, quinoa, beetroot and chickpeas can be an issue for those with starch intolerance. Of course, the ailment is a bit different for everyone so some of those foods might not cause any problems for you and there might be even others that you are more sensitive to. Some people are even sensitive to sweet potatoes and cauliflower when they are cooked, but not when raw.
Depending on how sensitive you are to starch, you might just have to cut out a few foods from your diet. Although it might seem like a big challenge at first, the cravings that starches cause in our bodies will eventually dissipate and you will find that your body doesn’t crave them anymore. But, be warned, most have found that even just one bite of those forbidden starches brings back the same food cravings and ravenous hunger for them. Because of the high amount of sugars that are in starches and are broken down in our bodies, this effect is particularly strong for those that are sensitive to starches.
Other Ways To Cope
If you think that you’re starch intolerant, one of the best ways to find out is to go on a starch diet and completely exclude all starch from your diet to see how you feel. Completely eliminate all sugars and carbohydrates and instead focus on cruciferous vegetables at meals as well as leafy greens. It can be up to you whether to just limit starches or completely eliminate them, but to really see if you’re sensitive the best option is to eliminate them in total. Grains, beans, legumes and pseudo-grains should all be on your no-go list.
To keep yourself full, be more generous than you think you should be with the “healthy” fats. Adding avocado and extra virgin olive oil to your diet regiment will ensure that you’re not feeling hungry as you cut out all these other starchy foods that your body has been used to having. Plus, many starchy foods are high in fiber which means that they have been making you feel full that was as well. Also, limit your intake of dairy as it is high in carbohydrates and many milk products, such as yogurt, actually include many grams of sugar.
If you must, eat only low-sugar fruits such as berries and citrus fruits and green apples. Limit these to two or three times a week though. Lastly, take out or strictly limit any alcohol intake. Most alcoholic drinks are high in carbohydrates. If you must, only consume low-carb alcoholic drinks such as vodka, whiskey and tequila and without mixing them with anything else.
While many people have become aware of gluten insensitivities, there are not many that are aware of starch intolerances and that many people have them. Most people have some sort of starch intolerance, even if it is a slight one. Because starches are practically just complex sugars when they are broken down in our bodies, starch intolerance can be easy to develop for those that over indulge in starchy foods, just like diabetes develops in those that over-consume sugar and carbohydrates. In fact, diabetes can be one of the outcomes of starch intolerance if left untreated. The good news is that all you have to do is change your diet and limit the amount of starchy food that is in your diet. Even some healthy foods, such as quinoa, can be problematic for some so take care to carefully choose what is in your plate on a daily basis.