Starch-free diets

Written by dan boone
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Starch-free diets
Most vegetables can be eaten in low-starch diets. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

A starch-free diet strives to eliminate all carbohydrates, both the ones we typically think of as bad, such as pastries, pizza and pasta, as well as bread, rice and starch-rich vegetables like potatoes and corn. The emphasis is on eating protein, dairy, fat and non-starchy fruit and vegetables.

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Why Choose Starch-Free?

During the digestion process, the body converts carbohydrates into sugar. When blood sugar level rises, insulin does as well. Extra sugar is stored in the liver and muscles as glycogen. Proponents of the starch-free diet, as well as its cousin, the low-carb diet, maintain eliminating or decreasing carbohydrates lowers insulin and helps the body burn more fat for energy. This makes you lose weight faster.

Medical Benefits

Starch-free diets are often adopted as a weight-loss tool, but diets eliminating or significantly reducing carbohydrates are often prescribed for certain medical conditions. People with diabetes are believed to benefit from a no-starch diet, since it puts less stress on the insulin system. This diet can also be helpful to those suffering digestive problems by reducing gas, bloating and diarrhoea. A starch-free diet has been proven to reduce discomfort associated spondylitis, a disease characterised by inflammation of the joints. Some people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome and coeliac disease also opt for a starch-free or low-starch diet.

Daily Menu

The recommended daily allowance for carbohydrates in a traditional 2,000 calorie diet is 300 grams. Implementing a totally starch-free diet is a Herculean task, since starches are present in many food sources. Limiting carbohydrates to under 50 grams a day can be considered close to a no-starch diet. For breakfast, consider an egg, grapefruit, yoghurt and coffee. Lunch might be a large salad topped with chicken or fish and an apple. For dinner, opt for lean protein, greens, vegetables and a fresh fruit salad.

The Sobieraj No-Starch Diet

The original no-starch diet was developed by Dr. Joseph Sobieraj in 2000. His premise was to remove the foods that stress the insulin system, especially starches. Sobieraj distinguishes his no-starch diet from the popular Dr. Atkins Diet, which also focuses on protein, fat, fruits and vegetables. Sobieraj's diet, unlike the Atkins plan, does not limit consumption of vegetables or fruit and is not concerned about caloric intake. Under the Sobieraj no-starch diet, a person can eat unlimited amounts of beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, seafood, lamb and fresh and dried fruit. It does not allow any canned fruit, corn, peas or potatoes, but it does permit kidney, pinto and navy beans. Totally forbidden starches include all bread, cookies, crackers, breakfast cereals, pancakes, waffles, rice, pasta and grains.


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