Sweet potatoes are one of the most nutrient-dense, satiety-satisfying starchy foods you can eat.

Let’s be honest – does the word ‘starch’ freak you out?  Conjure up images of white paste and calorific goop?

This just in from Shannon about dietary starches, a web article, and her quest for reflections from yours truly.

Of course I’m more than happy to comply. Here you go.

Hey Lani!

When I saw this article about starch (see “7 good reasons to each more starch”) in the diet, of course I thought of you and your Plant-strong blog right away.   What do you think of this article?  I’d love to hear what you think of course!

You’ve probably already seen it but I thought I’d send it to you anyway.

Thank you Lani! Shannon

Hi Shannon!

Actually though several people did send me links to this article, yours was first so I’m going to take you up on your polite request for thoughts from camp Plant-strong fitness!  You knew I’d love the chance to comment, didn’t you?

I took the original article, shifted the paragraphs into bullet points, added my comments, and linked to the original you sent me at the close for easy reference.

Seven Good Reasons to Eat More Starch 

1) When you eat more complex carbohydrates, you cut back on fatty foods. Complex carbohydrates are not necessarily fattening and are most always low in fat.  Each gram of carbohydrates supplies four calories — the same protein — and about half as much fat; one fat gram supplies nine calories.

Lani:  Very important to emphasize the ‘complex’ portion of the carbohydrates.  We’re not talking white Rainbow bread, doughnut holes, or instant mashed potato flakes.  We’re talking about intact whole grains and starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn.

2) Unrefined starchy carbohydrates are filling; they are good foods for those who want to lose weight.

As reported by researcher Dr. Roland Weinsier, director of clinical nutritional sciences at University of Alabama School of Medicine, who says: ‘A large intake of complex carbohydrates, such as unrefined starches, fruits, and vegetables — that are high in bulk and low in energy density — will result in longer eating time (since the person chews longer), will bring about satiety, and will result in lower calorie intake.’

Lani: Dr. Weinsier’s ‘energy density’ are his accurate words for what you may have heard me refer to as ‘calorie density’.  This means how many calories a given food has per pound.  Starchy vegetables come in at right around 500 calories per pound in calorie density, which is about the ideal for enabling you to eat ad libitum – or freely according to appetite – and maintain a lean weight.  Compare that to vegetable oil which comes in at around 4,000 a lb.

3)  Unrefined starchy carbohydrates are high in fiber, which may protect against numerous diseases, including some forms of cancer.


‘…an increased risk of colorectal canceramong individuals with very low intake of total dietary fiber…After adjustment for measurement error,the relative risk for intakes of less than 10 g per day vs 10or more g per day increased from 1.22 to 2.16.’  Baron JA.  Dietary fiber and colorectal cancer: an ongoing saga. JAMA. 2005 Dec 14;294(22):2904-6

4)  Complex carbohydrates — plant foods (grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds) are the only source of fiber in the diet. 

Lani:  It’s true.  Animal food products such as meat, fish, dairy, and eggs are devoid of zero fiber. Zilch.  Nada.

5)  Complex carbohydrates are “nutrient dense”; that is–unlike “empty calorie” sugars — they contain a high ratio of nutrients per calorie; they pack a large nutritional punch.

Lani:  This is the coveted twin to the low calorie density mentioned in #2.  Low in calorie density, yet high in nutrient density.  A winning combination in the foods you want to maximize in a weight loss and an easy weight management diet.

6)  Complex carbohydrates are the only major food constituents — in contrast to fat, sugar, and protein — that have never been tied to dangerous health consequences.

Again, the operative term here is complex carbohydrates.

Hey, that’s 6 reasons to eat more starch, not 7

In looking through the original article here:  Seven Good Reasons to Eat More Starch , I only came up with 6.  Possibly #2 could be actually 2 points, what with the chew factor taken into account, which I actually like as a key point.  What do you think?

Thanks Shannon for the link and the opportunity to share my plant-strong, starch-friendly thoughts!  And if you figure out what “#7” is, let me know!

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