What is a Starch Anyway?

Starch is what is also known as a carbohydrate. There are three main classes of carbohydrates, all affecting the body and blood glucose differently. These classes are “complex carbohydrates, ” “starchy carbohydrates”, and “simple carbohydrates (or “carbs” for short).

  • Complex Carbs are long strands of molecules that need to be broken down in your digestive tract before your body can use it.
    • Think of this as a string of pearls, with many other strings attached at different points, like branches. It is tough for the body to cut all those bonds down, thus making them "complex."
  • Starchy Carbs
  • Simple Carbs are much smaller strands of molecules or even a single molecule that are absorbed into your bloodstream very quickly. Sugar is a simple carb. When carbs are absorbed into your bloodstream quickly, they can cause your blood sugar to rise very quickly.
    • This is equal to 1 pearl by itself, or two pearls stuck together.
    • They are small, easy to absorb, and the body doesn’t need to do much work at all to absorb these sugars into the bloodstream.

(Fiber is a complex carb that is so complex, we are actually not able to digest it. Fiber, none the less, is incredibly important. See the article titled “A focus on fiber” to learn more.)