Starches are richly found in most common foods in the diet, such as in potatoes, rice, sweet potatoes, grains, wheat, corn and other grains, beans, etc. and is often thought to be essential for gut health, bowel movement, and just a great source of energy. But what if I told you that most people don’t realize that these foods can actually be quite problematic?
Now, this article isn’t at all about me promoting some kind of carnivore or keto diet, I just want to share my own experience and the reasons for why I eliminated starches and fiber and what my results were, so stay with me.
Because starches are present in such a variety of different foods, it’s difficult to stick one’s “intolerance” to starches, because, for example, wheat not only contains starches but also gluten, lectins, and gut-irritating fiber which could all be things that someone could be reacting negatively to. Beans contain plant toxins and gut-irritating fibers, sweet potatoes contain lectins, and so on. So it’s difficult to pinpoint the intolerance to starch.
Two ways to find out if you’re sensitive to starches or just specific food groups is to either eliminate certain food groups first or simply eliminate starches in general.
Why did I decide to eliminate both starches and fiber?
After eating only natural healthy foods for several years and getting my health to a really good place, I still had a few lingering issues. Nothing serious but I definitely wanted it to improve even more. For almost a year I was eating ground beef, boiled potato, milk, and fruit juice. Here and there I ate a fire-grilled pizza maybe once every other week or so, or had some sushi instead, but never felt that having those foods once in a while set me back.
I thought that my diet was relatively minimalistic, so why was I still experiencing health issues? My digestion felt fine and I didn’t have overly obvious symptoms. If I had to score myself health-wise, in all aspects, out of 10, it would probably have been around 8.5 at the time. I felt good, could train hard, could do everything a healthy person could do, but still felt like I wasn’t exactly where I wanted to be or knew I could be.
So I thought to myself, “what is the most problematic food that is still in my diet?” I concluded it could be both the starch and/or the dairy. So I decided to cut the starch because I wasn’t going to give up my milk lol.
What’s wrong with starches and starches?
First off, the only starch I had in my diet was potatoes, which is part of the nightshade family and it’s known that people can be sensitive to it.
Secondly, potatoes also contain lectins, which can affect people negatively. I peeled my potatoes before boiling, so I removed most of the lectins before consuming the potatoes.
Thirdly, potatoes contain a fair amount of fiber. I ate about 1.5kg of potatoes daily for micronutrients and carbs which put me at about 30g fiber daily. The potato flesh is mainly soluble whereas the peel is mainly insoluble.
Soluble fiber is known to slow digestion and provides bacteria with food to feed on in the gut. This increases bacterial products such as endotoxins, serotonin, lactate, etc, which can cause inflammation, neurotransmitter imbalanced, hypogonadism, autoimmune conditions, etc.
Also, when starches are left to cool, even after 10 minutes, a lot of it turns into resistant starch, which feeds the gut bacteria even more. This study found that when children were given resistant starch, the lipopolysaccharide biosynthesis pathway was upregulated and calprotectin increased significantly (R). Meaning, more endotoxins were being created and there was more intestinal inflammation. Elevated fecal calprotectin indicates the migration of neutrophils to the intestinal mucosa, which occurs during intestinal inflammation (R).
Also, there is evidence that shows that starch is sometimes not completely broken down by digestion, since starch is a polymeric carbohydrate consisting of numerous glucose units joined by glycosidic bonds. These incompletely digested starches can be absorbed whole into the body through a leaky gut. These starch particles can also cause an immune response and can clog small arteries in the body.
Other starches such as sweet potatoes contain very high levels of oxalates, which can deposit into your testes and thyroid for example, and as a result, interfere with steroidogenesis and thyroid hormone production.
So not to get caught up in the weeds of why starches could cause issues, let’s look at the benefits I experienced on a fiber-free diet.
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Benefits I experienced:
- Better stool quality – started getting ghost wipes every time
- Increase in regularity – started getting 2 bowel movements per day instead of 1 (these two are at the top because I hate having to pitch a loaf, but it’s much faster now with no habitual wiping lol, so this was a huge bonus)
- Better digestion and faster transit time
- Less bloating
- Bacne (back acne) went away – it wasn’t extreme, but it was there
- Slight occasional joint pains/achiness went away
- Faster healing of bruises, cuts, etc.
- Less water retention (my face almost immediately became leaner)
- Clearer vision (before the experiment my vision was quite good with occasional slight blurry vision in the morning but often became a bit more blurry as the day went on. After a few weeks on the starch free diet, my vision became crystal clear at all times).
- Less skin rash and dandruff
- Higher libido and faster recovery (which was already good but became even better)
- Better verbal fluency
- Improved mental clarity
- Didn’t feel a bit tired after a big meal anymore
- Zero cravings
- No social anxiety (which rarely ever happened but was clearly gone)
- More stable mood – less stress, grogginess, and frustration
- More in control of my emotions and mind (this was already good but because even better)
So if I have to summarize, the 4 most prominent benefits were definitely a great improvement mentally (mood, cognition, etc.), energy, vision, and gut/bowel health.
As always, thanks so much for reading my article. Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions. And if you found this article to be insightful and helpful please like and share so this information can help others as well.
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