The hype on starch and grains began when the gluten-free food trend gained people’s interest. Healthy starches were used as an ingredient to replace flour. Among the most popular starches is potato starch, which, you can already tell by its name, is a starch made from potatoes.
But, what is starch exactly? It is an odorless and tasteless substance that is derived from green plants. In this case, potato starch is product of potato plant. Potato starch is often used as in baking to replaces wheat floor, and cooking, usually used as a thickener in soups, stews and sauces.
Let’s get to the nutritional point. One tablespoon of potato starch carries the following components: 40 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrates. To be more precise, potato starch does not contain any protein, fat, or fibres. There is an additional amount of 8 grams of resistant starch.
Resistant starch is a starch that does not undergo changing of chemical form when swallowed throughout the digestive tract. However, depending on how the potato is prepared (raw or cooked), the amount of resistant starch changes. Thus, there are many Health Benefits of Potatoes, thus how about the health benefits of potato starch?
Now, we get to the chase of telling you the myriad of health benefits of potato starch.
- A product that is gluten-free
For people with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder in which the body reacts to gluten as if it is an enemy that needs to be terminated, it is an absolute nightmare to avoid swallowing anything that contains wheat, rye and barley.
So, one of the most obvious advantage of consuming potato starch is for the fact that it does not contain gluten, therefore it provides a safe alternative for people gifted with celiac disease. You may also read about the Health Benefits of Green Potatoes
- Helps keep blood sugar level at bay
Potato starch may be a good thing for people with diabetes (unless you do not favor the taste of potatoes). As mentioned previously, potato starch includes a little amount of resistant starch, thereby it has been classified as one of the resistant starch food. You may also read about the Health Benefits of Eating Irish Potatoes
A study has been published in 2010 aiming to observe the effect of resistant starch consumption on people with metabolic syndrome. The result revealed that the consumers showed increased sensitivity to insulin, a hormone that regulates the amount of sugar in our blood.
The participants had lower blood glucose levels, particularly following a meal. See the result yourself after routinely consuming starch potato that contains as much as 40 grams of resistant starch (equivalent to around 5 tablespoons) for at least 12 weeks.
- Food for the good bacteria
Health benefits of potato starch, as a resistant starch, functions as probiotic when consumed. Probiotics are food that feed the good bacteria inside our intestines, which makes their performance in protecting our gut become increasingly optimal. Here’s a fun fact: the bacteria in our intestines are higher in number than our normal cells. You may also read about the Health Benefits of Eating Purple Potatoes
The characteristic of resistant starch is that it is not easily broken down when it travels through the digestive tract, that is, until it reaches the large intestine, where it begins feeding the natural bacteria residing there. This leads to production of short-chain fatty acids by fermentation of the bacteria occurring in the large intestine. Research has confirmed this by showing advantageous effects of resistant starches in the intestinal tract.
- Prevent the risk of getting colon cancer
Colon cancer has reached the fourth rank of the most common causes of cancer in the world. The symptoms are not specific until it has reached the end stage where cure is not an option anymore. (Learn more about symptoms of colon cancer here).
So, it is better to take preventive measures, and you can start this by beginning to regularly consume potato starch. The effect of resistant starch on the gut includes lowering the process of inflammation by reducing the pH level (becoming increasingly acidic), which is the initial step to the process of colorectal cancer. Other than colorectal cancer, this benefit may be helpful for other inflammatory conditions of the digestive tract, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
- Get in good shape
Another health benefits of potato starch, is that it helps lose weight. Resistant starch, is again, believed to be responsible for this. They particularly work by lowering the accumulation of fats, and that fermentation process that is taking place in the colon is believed to raise the breakdown of fats.
Eating resistant starch is also satisfying, therefore it increases satiety. The process behind this is the rise of appetite-reducing hormone peptide YY levels, a hormone responsible for feeling of fullness after eating a meal. Bottomline, it decreases your appetite and makes the process of resisting food easier.
Numerous food that contain resistant starches are generally high-carb food. Raw potato starch carries around 8 grams of resistant starch per tablespoon and the amount of carbohydrates is not significant to your diet. However, it is not pleasant to taste (more specifically, it is tasteless).
It is recommended to be added to your daily choices of food. It is important to start at low concentration and working your way up, because you never know if you have sensitive guts and it is better to avoid any digestive discomfort. Also, research has showed that it takes time, particularly weeks, for the good effects to kick in. You know the saying, good things take time, including eating potato starches!
Health Risks of Potato Starch
Getting back to the nutritional grounds, it is best to remind you that potato starch is far different from potato, in terms of the nutritional benefits. Potato starch has low nutrients, it is actually only composed of carbohydrates, which contains two substances: amylose and amylopectine. These substances can also be derived from genetically modified potato products.
For safety measures, people who are allergic to potatoes might as well develop allergic reactions when eating potato starch in their diet. Also, people who have sensitive stomach may experience bloating, gas and even constipation.