Combining Food To Improve Health: Starch

Certain foods in isolation could be considered to be detrimental to the health. For example, foods high in starch derived from wheat such as bread, breakfast cereals and other baked products could be considered unhealthy because they tend to cause rapid rises in blood sugar, and this can lead to oxidative stress and insulin resistance if the foods are eaten regularly in large amounts. However, in many cases combining these starchy products with other types of food can reduce these negative effects. For example, bread combined with protein as might be found in a tuna sandwich, can significantly reduce the absorption of the glucose from the starch, and this slows the speed of the blood sugar rise that occurs following consumption. Adding vegetables (such as cucumber) or tomatoes to the sandwich will add fibre and water, and this will further slow absorption. That is not to say the bread becomes healthier, but its detrimental effects are lessened. Further, the other foods, particularly the vegetables, will increase the nutritional content of the meal as a whole. Likewise, adding milk and dried fruit or nuts to breakfast cereal will improve the quality of the overall meal, and at the same time lessen the detrimental effects of the cereal on blood sugar levels. In this way, by combining food, the nutritional content of the meal, and its overall effects, are more important than the individual effects of each food when taken in isolation, and this is the basis of a balanced diet. 

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself


About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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