Carbohydrates are foods that are made up of sugars.They can be simple sugars or complex sugars.
Simple sugars are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream but complex sugars are broken down much more slowly.
Examples of simple sugars include
- Fruit juice
- Raw sugar and brown sugar
Examples of complex sugar foods include
- Whole grains
It is accepted that the complex carbohydrates (sugar) foods are much better for health as they are less likely to spike blood sugars than the simple sugar foods and can provide a more sustained source of energy. They also contain fibre which is important for gut health.
What is Starch?
Starch is a carbohydrate which breaks down into glucose when digested.
High Starch foods include
Not all carbohydrates contain starch but all starchy foods are carbohydrates.
Is There a Problem With Starch?
Many people have problems digesting starch and it can result in weight gain, bloating and general digestive problems. Many people also report stiffness and inflammation in their joints and muscles after consuming starchy foods.
Not everyone has problems with starch but more and more people are suffering symptoms associated with starch.
The enzyme AMY1 is responsible for the breakdown and processing of starch in carbohydrates.
Many people have a decreased ability to do so due to changes in the AMY1 gene and therefore are at a greater risk for insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity and digestive issues.
Some Foods Naturally Increase Your Digestion of Starch
There are foods that can naturally increase your secretion of amylase. Incorporating these foods into your diet is important if you have issues processing starch. eg lemons and limes. There are also ways you can cook and prepare starchy foods to lower their starch impact on your body
Eg the resistant starch in potatoes is increased when they are cooked then cooled before they are eaten.
Exercise also has a positive impact on amylase secretion.
What is Dietary Resistant Starch?
Resistant starches are starch foods that resist absorption. They therefore can be beneficial in providing important dietary fibre and making you feel satisfied. Because they aren’t absorbed in the small intestine they are a valuable addition to a low starch diet. An example of a resistant starch food is green bananas.
How Can You Find out Whether You Have an Issue Digesting and Processing Starch?
The best way to know for sure whether you have problems with starchy carbohydrate foods is to test the AMY1 gene which controls the enzyme amylase.
Because the impact of a Low copy number ( or variation ) within the AMY1 gene can have so many health implications I would recommend the Fitgenes AMY1 gene test. This test through Fitgenes is the only commercially available test available worldwide for this gene.