Understand starch and starch targets in the Nutrient Explorer

What it is

Starch refers to complex carbohydrates that are generally composed of hundreds or thousands of glucose molecules.

What it does

Most of the carbs you consume are sugars or starches. For more on the general effects of dietary carbohydrates, refer to the article on carbohydrates

Recommended intake

Most of your non-fiber carbohydrate intake should come in the form of starches (rather than sugars). For more on carbohydrate intake recommendations, refer to the article on carbohydrates.

Likelihood of tracking completeness: Very low

Starch is not a nutrient that food manufacturers are required to disclose on nutrition labels. The vast majority of food manufacturers do not voluntarily list starch content on nutrition labels, so most branded products in the MacroFactor database lack information on starches. So, if you’d like to accurately track your starch intake, you’ll need to make a point of mostly tracking “common foods,” which come from research-grade databases that have full nutrient reporting.

For more on when you can track using branded foods versus common foods when you’re trying to accurately monitor your intake of particular nutrients, you should check out this article.

Likelihood of insufficient intake: Very low

The likelihood of insufficient starch intake is directly related to the likelihood of insufficient carbohydrate intake. For more on the likelihood of insufficient carbohydrate intake, refer to the article on carbohydrates.

For more on nutrients with a greater likelihood of insufficient or excessive intake, you should check out this article.

Signs of deficiency/insufficiency

Humans don’t experience carbohydrate deficiency, so by extension, there’s no such thing as a starch deficiency. However, the primary signs that you might benefit from increased starch intake are generally low energy levels and decreases in high-intensity exercise performance. Increasing starch intake as a percentage of total carbohydrate intake may also increase feelings of fullness and satiety, if a large portion of your current carbohydrate intake comes from sugars (which are generally considerably less satiating than starches).

Good sources

Some foods and ingredients with the highest proportions of starch (as a percentage of total calories) include:

  • Tapioca flour: 98.7%

  • Cellophane noodles: 98.1%

  • Arrowroot flour: 95%

  • Corn starch: 94.7%

  • Cassava flour: 89.8%

  • White rice: 86.1%

  • Jerusalem artichoke (sunchoke): 85.7%

  • Rice noodles: 85.1%

  • Green plantains: 80.9%

  • Cornmeal – 79.2%

  • Potato: 74.3%

  • Grits: 73.8%

  • Wheat noodles: 65-80% (depending on the type – plain, whole wheat, egg noodles, etc.)

Learn more

If you’d like to learn more about micronutrients generally, there’s a five-part series on the MacroFactor website you might enjoy.

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