Are Starchy Vegetables Bad For You? Don’t Fall For These Common Myths

What do you understand by the word “starch”? Many of us hear this word and tend to assume it is something that should be avoided. Starch is actually a type of carbohydrate and is found in many of the foods we commonly consume. There are many myths surrounding starchy foods. Some consider them fattening, lacking in nutrients and/or generally bad for health. But the truth is, not all starchy foods are harmful. Some of them can even contribute towards your fitness goals and overall well-being. The way they are cooked as well as their portion sizes, of course, play a role in their effectiveness. But first, it is important to get a few facts straight. Today, we shall briefly discuss the potential benefits of vegetables that are high in starch, called “starchy vegetables.”
Also Read: Cornstarch, Arrowroot & More: The Different Kinds of Starch You Should Know About

Starchy Vegetables Versus Non-Starchy Vegetables

Many leafy green veggies are low in starch, but root vegetables have a higher content. Photo Credit: Pixabay

Both starchy and non-starchy vegetables are packed with nutrients and fibre. The key difference is that starchy vegetables tend to be higher in carbs and calories. However, this doesn’t automatically mean they are less healthy or that you should avoid consuming them. Before we explain their benefits in detail, take a look at which veggies come under each category:

Examples Of Starchy Vegetables: Common ones include potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, peas, yam, etc. Although not strictly considered “vegetables,” beans and lentils are also starchy foods often eaten in a similar manner.

Examples Of Non-Starchy Vegetables: These veggies have a relatively lower starch content – but not zero. Tomatoes, onions, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, broccoli, capsicum, spinach, zucchini and several others can be classified as non-starchy veggies.

Are Starchy Vegetables Good For You?


Foods high in complex carbs and not unrefined starch, including veggies, can be consumed as part of a balanced diet. Photo Credit: iStock

It is important to note that starch is not inherently bad – rather it is a type of complex carbohydrate that gives us energy and helps in the proper functioning of our body. What you need to be wary of is refined starch – as found in packaged cereals, processed grains, white bread, white rice, biscuits, and other foods made using refined flour (maida). Note that starchy vegetables don’t contain this type of ‘unhealthy’ starch – they provide good, complex carbohydrates that can be a part of a balanced diet.
Also Read: Say Goodbye To Belly Fat: Try These 5 Healthy Alternatives To Refined Flour

Like non-starchy veggies, the starchy ones also provide vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that boost overall health and immunity. Moreover, they are good sources of fibre, which not only promotes satiety and helps stabilise blood sugar levels, but also supports good bacteria in your gut. Hence, don’t blindly remove starchy veggies from your diet. Remember that they come with a variety of health benefits.

Are Starchy Vegetables Bad For Weight Loss?

Do you avoid potatoes because you think they will make you put on weight? This is a common misconception when it comes to starchy veggies: many people tend to believe they are “fattening.” Since they are higher in carbs and calories, those on a weight-loss diet may be alarmed by them. But, as long as you follow a balanced diet, practice portion control and cook the veggies in the right way, they can be safely consumed even if you want to lose weight. Moreover, when some of these veggies are boiled and then cooled, they form resistant starch. Research suggests that foods with resistant starch may help in weight management as well as balancing blood sugar. Apart from having them raw or boiling them, it is advisable to bake or steam these veggies while dieting.
Also Read: Are Potatoes Good Or Bad For Weight Loss? Dietitian Debunks Myths

Final Thoughts:

Starchy vegetables are a great source of fibre and nutrients. Although they tend to be high in carbohydrates and calories, they come with their own set of advantages. When eaten as part of a balanced diet, starchy veggies can help promote your health and may even support your fitness goals. So don’t fall for myths and consider all aspects discussed above before you make a decision regarding them.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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