Published on Apr 9, 2018
Science of Carbs: Good Starch vs Bad Starch – Thomas DeLauer
So you know that not all carbs are created equal, right? We always talk about that. But did you know that not all starches are created equal too? So in this video, I want to break down how different starches from different carbohydrate sources respond inside your body and may cause these additional casualties that you didn’t quite know about before. If you haven’t already, make sure you hit the subscribe button so that you can see all the three to five videos that I’m posting per week ranging from the topics of fasting, ketosis, general health, and just about everything under the sun relating to wellness. Also, make sure you turn on those notifications. So let’s start digging into the science right now.
So when we’re looking at starches, we really have to look at just two things. There’s really only two major components that we have to focus on and they’re two different polysaccharides. One is known as amylose and one is known as amylopectin. Now obviously there are different polysaccharides but these are the two that we want to focus on because they’re the main culprits when it comes down to whether a starch is good or whether a starch is bad. So let’s go ahead and let’s focus on amylose first.
You see, amylose is what is known as a straight chain polysaccharide. What does that mean? It means that the glucose molecules, the actual carb molecules are in a simple, straight chain. What does this mean? It means that there’s not a whole lot of surface area to be able to digest. So believe it or not, this kind of starch takes a longer time to break down because it has less surface area. So what ends up happening is it sits in the small intestine for a little bit, it gets broken down into slightly smaller chunks, and then eventually broken down into short chain fatty acids. I know, you heard me right. Literally a carbohydrate, a starch, goes into the gut and actually gets converted into a very fast-absorbing fat. I know, it’s kind of crazy and it sounds bad but if you hear me out throughout the entire video, I will make sure that you understand that it’s actually a good thing.
So what this means is it’s actually a resistant starch. A resistant starch is what we want, even though it sounds bad again. Resistant kinda sounds bad, but it means that it resists the urge to crazily spike our blood sugar. It resists the urge to spike our insulin. This resistance in this context is actually a good thing.
So now let’s talk about the other side of the coin. We’re talking about amylopectin. Amylopectin in contrast to amylose is a highly branched molecule. What does that mean? Well remember how I said that the amylose has a long simple chain, just a straight chain that has very little surface area? Well, amylopectin has a lot of little branches, meaning it has a lot of surface area. I want you to visualize this for a second. You have just a simple straight tree branch. Think about the surface area that is on one single line. Now think about the surface area that is on something that has tons and tons of little branches and twigs. You got multiple branches upon branches. Think of the surface area that you have to travel. That means that you have a lot more absorbency, and again, first thought, this sounds good. We want to absorb our carbs, but the thing is, we don’t want to absorb our carbs this fast unless mind you you know exactly what you’re doing or you’re trying to break a fast and strategically do something. We don’t want to be constantly spiking our blood sugar or spiking our insulin. So these highly branched molecules end up having a very high molecular weight, which means that it has a higher impact on our bodies.
Now the interesting thing, we don’t have just carbs that have just amylose or just amylopectin. All starches have both. It’s just a ratio of the two that we have to focus on. Sometimes, starches have more amylopectin than they do amylose, and sometimes, starches have more amylose than they do amylopectin. If this ratio that ultimately determines the glycemic index and how we actually respond to a given carbohydrate.
So by now you’ve probably realized that the amylopectin isn’t necessarily a good thing and there’s some research to back that up. There was a study that was published in the Journal of Nutrition that was quite basic. They took test subjects and for 16 weeks they had them eat a high amylopectin diet. They had them eat starches that were very high in amylopectin, and what they measured after 16 weeks were a couple of things, but mainly, they looked at their insulin levels. Well, test subjects ended up having a 50% increase in insulin, but guess what? It doesn’t stop there. They ended up having a 50% increase in insulin resistance too. Do you know what insulin resistance is? That’s diabetes.
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