Some will tell you that carbohydrates and starches both offer the exact same value when food group benefits are concerned. But the majority disagree, so what are the main difference between these two as far as diet advantage is concerned? This question among dietitians and those looking to lose weight asks frequently… What are the differences in food value between carbs and starches? To most nutritionists, surprisingly, a lot of them do not know. So here is breakdown on the differences.
What Are Carbohydrates Or Carbs?
When this food group is completely broken down, carbohydrates consists of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. Carbs are a direct product of photosynthesis from plants. As carbohydrates contain actual carbon, as well as they being derived from a living source, they can also be classified as an organic molecule.
The Different Types Of Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates because they are classified according to their internal structure, can also be classified into three different primary groups which are, sugars, fibers and starches.
Sugars are divided further into monosaccharides, such as fructose, glucose, and galactose, which also includes disaccharides, which are sucrose, lactose, and maltose.
Fiber is primarily found as indigestible cellulose which are usually on the exterior covering of grains and cereals, as well as on the walls and skins of fruits and vegetables.
Starches are also usually referred to as complex carbohydrates or polysaccharides. Starches are usually made up of chains of glucose molecules, which are unlike mono or disaccharides.
So How Are Starches Different From Carbohydrates Then?
As discussed, starches are just one ‘type’ of carbohydrate. As a result, a ‘non-starch’ diet would then mean that you’re cutting out one form of carbohydrates, but will not be eliminating all of them. So a ‘non-carbohydrate’ diet, provided it’s followed correctly, would mean that you would be cutting out all the different types as well as forms of carbohydrates, which would then include sugars as well as fiber.
We know that consuming limited amounts of sugar is required in complementing a healthy diet, and fiber is important and needed for good digestion. So we can therefore conclude that a low starch diet may probably be a better option than a no or low carbohydrate diet.
However, it’s not recommended nor suggested that anyone try any of these diets! A healthy diet by definition, is a diet which is aimed towards losing weight in particular, and should always include all of the different food groups as well as focusing on eating the proper kinds of carbohydrates in healthy recommended amounts. This rather than leaving them out of the diet altogether.
What Are Some Of The Healthy Carbohydrates?
Healthy carbohydrates will depend on what your individual needs are. Someone who happens to lead an extremely athletic lifestyle, may require different types of carbohydrates to someone who isn’t as active in their daily lives. However, it’s always best to keep a basic rule of thumb and to look at complex carbohydrates, which are the starches, such as whole grains, corn, rice, carrots, and potatoes for sustaining energy. Some simple sugars should also be combined with fiber, which can be found in s variety of fresh fruits.
Honey can also be used as a simple sugar substitute, which may be a healthier source of ‘quick-release’ energy. Refined carbohydrates such as baked goods like sugar laden cookies, pastries, white bread and cakes should be best avoided if possible. Not only do these food types contain extremely high levels of the ‘bad’ fats, the carbohydrates can also elevate the glucose to unhealthy levels in the tissues as well as in the blood.
A diet which is too high in these types of foods may lead to blood sugar imbalance, as well as other unwanted sugar related health problems. Always remember that moderation should always be the key!
Healthy Weight Loss
If you’re trying to lose weight, try looking into how you can effectively change your entire diet and eating habits to include those foods which are conducive to good health as well as your well-being, rather than just ‘cutting out’ or just avoiding one type of food group.
If you remove a particular type of food or food group away from your diet, you’re then putting yourself into the risk of developing some nutritional deficiencies. You’re also not looking into or understanding why you’re carrying all that excess weight, as well as how you will be able to improve your lifestyle and your eating choices. Common sense always goes a long way. Constantly reading and educating yourself about which foods are healthier for you, is an excellent first step on your diet and weight loss journey.