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Day 40: Starches

Starches are either functional or dysfunctional.Cereal

As you probably guessed, you should try to incorporate functional starches into your diet while eliminating the dysfunctional starches.

Functional: Whole grain starches are a great slow-burning fuel, rich in fiber and loaded with B vitamins, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. In their natural, low-glycemic state, they’re critical for optimal health.

Dysfunctional: When refined and processed, starches are an energy-dense, high-glycemic poison that turns on your insulin pump and puts you in fat-storage mode.

It may seem dramatic, but it’s true: your starch selections set the stage for success or failure. When looking for starches, it’s essential to consider their position on the glycemic index. Most processed and prepackaged starches score high on the index, meaning that they deliver large amounts of carbohydrates and must be avoided.

Instead, shop for healthy, low-glycemic starches using my color-coded system – your reliable guide in this vast and sometimes confusing food group – and keep it to 25 percent of your nine-inch plate, or about the size of a tennis ball.

Pasta, Rice, Potatoes

Unhealthy Starches: A Habit of Disease

What about those choices so many of us make – the starches that poison your body? Unhealthy starches, like the ones found in cookies, sports drinks, fried foods, and donuts are convenient, inexpensive, readily available, and tempting, thanks to the food industry’s heavy use of advertising. They fulfill a momentary need for comfort and satisfy cravings and hunger – for a short time, anyway. But they also rev up your insulin pump, turn on your fat-storage system, stimulate inflammation, and can lead to the myriad of health problems that make up metabolic syndrome.

Fats and Oils

We’ve briefly discussed some healthy fats, but you should be on the lookout for unhealthy fats. In general – and this is a topic addressed in much greater detail in the Habits of Health – you should avoid saturated fats, hydrogenated fats (or trans-fats), and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Speaking of fats, most types of margarine are full of unhealthy trans-fats. Butter, on the on the hand, has no trans-fat, but it’s loaded with cholesterol and saturated fat.

As a general rule – and a Habit of Health – you should limit yourself to no more than 10-15 grams of saturated fat and 200 milligrams of cholesterol per day (assuming your cholesterol level is in the healthy range).

Salad Oils

Since a lot of recipes call for butters and oils, which can be challenging calorie-wise because they are so energy-dense, refer to the cooking and salad oils chart for help making the healthy choice.

Phew. That was a lot of information to cover in one day. I’m glad that you are committed to your health and that you took all of that in. Making healthy eating choices a habit can be a challenge, so rely on the color-coded charts to make it easier for you, and stick to the guidance of that nine-inch plate. If you need some recipe ideas, we have plenty available, for free, on my site .

Don’t be afraid to review this week’s emails from time to time so that you can remind yourself what foods to eat and what foods to avoid. You’ve made some very significant progress in the last few days. Congratulations!

In health,

DrAsig



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