Starch is a plant product that is basically constituted by glucose molecules that are linked together. It is generally estimated that one-third of our total dietary intake is contributed by food materials that are rich in starch. Bread, pasta, potatoes and rice falls in this category.
When allowed to be heated in water, starch granules tend to swell. This makes the mixture thicken. That is why starch based products remain a main ingredient of all sauces, gravies, soups and pie fillings. Starch is also used for the industrial manufacture of glucose syrups and sweeteners. In order to prevent increased fluid loss during defrosting starch gets added to frozen victuals. The raw starch that gets extracted from plants gets modified in a variety of ways depending on the nature of its final use.
However, too much of starch-based food products are not found to be beneficial to the body. But, unrefined starchy carbohydrates are filling and also help in losing weight. Studies indicate that food materials that are rich in complex carbohydrates are highly nutritious to the body. The list of complex carbohydrates includes unrefined starches, fruits, and vegetables. The characteristic feature of such food materials is their high in bulk and low in energy density nature. Since the person will have to chew them longer, more ‘stomach full’ effect will be felt. Another positive aspect is that they are low in calorie level.
Unrefined starchy carbohydrates are high in fiber, content and thereby protect the body from many ailments including some forms of cancer. Since the complex carbohydrates are high in nutrients per calorie, if taken in right amounts, they serve in providing the individual a good nutritional punch.
But increased intake of complex carbohydrates is not very beneficial to the human body. Eating lots of unrefined starches, such as white bread and potatoes, is likely to increase the risk of pancreatic cancer. In women especially, it is also likely to result in obesity.