Starch in sports nutrition: pros and cons

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Starch in sports nutrition: pros and cons
Starch in sports nutrition: pros and cons

Find out whether or not it is worth using such carbohydrates in the athlete's diet and when losing weight. Scientists distinguish three main types of carbohydrates - glucose, starch and plant fibers (cellulose). Today, many dietary nutrition programs involve restricting the intake of starchy foods. However, this also applies to other carbohydrates. However, scientists believe that such a step is not justified and is a myth. If your diet is well-formulated and you play sports. Then starch will not be able to turn into fat.

There is also an opinion about starch among physicians, who have not yet reached unanimity. For its part, it must be said that potato starch is used quite often in sports nutrition. Let's take a look at the positive and negative properties of this substance.

Biochemical indicators of potato starch

Properties of potato starch

Potato starch is tasteless and insoluble in most liquids. The substance belongs to the group of polysaccharides, and its simplest form is a linear amlose polymer. A complex form of starch is amylopectin. When starch is dissolved in water, a paste is formed. The process of hydrolysis of potato starch can only take place in the presence of high temperatures and acids.

The result of these reactions is glucose. With the help of iodine, you can quickly check whether the hydrolysis processes have completed, in which case the blue color will no longer appear. Plants produce starch with excess glucose, which is produced during photosynthesis. Plants then use starch as a source of energy.

To store substances, plants use special cells called chloroplasts. Depending on the particular plant, starch reserves can be created in different parts of it - tubers, leaves, seeds, stems or roots. If necessary, the starch is converted into glucose, after which the plant burns to use it as an energy source. In the body of mammals, similar processes occur and after the conversion of starch into glucose, it is also used for energy.

Functions of starch in the human body

Potato starch in the body

You probably know that carbohydrates are necessary for the body for energy. Actually, this fact is the main reason for the use of potato starch in sports nutrition. In the digestive tract, the substance is converted into glucose, since it is this that is the main source of energy.

In addition, the body stores part of the glucose in the form of glycogen and uses it if necessary. Flour products can become universal sources of energy, since they contain not only starch, but also plant fibers. These are slow carbohydrates that improve food processing, control sugar concentration, and keep you feeling full for longer.

Thus, it is possible to formulate the main function of potato starch in sports nutrition and the body - conversion into glucose for energy. Moreover, these processes are activated already at the moment when starch is in the oral cavity.

Saliva contains special enzymes that act on starch molecules, breaking them down into maltose. This substance belongs to the group of simple carbohydrates and, once in the small intestine, is converted into glucose, which is then absorbed into the bloodstream. After that, the reactions of obtaining energy are activated, which is used by the body. However, all the glucose into which the starch has been converted cannot be used in a short time.As we said, excess glucose is converted into glycogen, which is stored in muscle tissue and liver cell structures. Now you have an idea of ​​what potato starch is used for in sports nutrition.

Potato starch in sports nutrition: benefit or harm

Potato starch in a spoon on a board

Let's talk about whether potato starch is necessary in sports nutrition. As we said, potatoes are a great source of energy for athletes. This product contains a large amount of carbohydrates with a minimum of fat. If you eat one baked potato 30 minutes before the start of the lesson, then the concentration of sugar in the blood will increase sharply, and this, in turn, will have a positive effect on your performance. Only on the basis of this fact alone, we can say that the use of potato starch in sports nutrition is a reasonable step.

The benefits of potato starch in sports

As we have already noted, most nutritionists believe that potatoes are a "bad" carbohydrate food, as their glycemic index is high. However, it should be recalled that when choosing foods containing carbohydrates, you should not pay attention to the glycemic index in the first place. Most people are accustomed to believe that it is this parameter that is decisive in such a situation.

We have been assured for a long time that only those foods with a low glycemic index contribute to weight loss. However, in practice, everything turns out to be more complicated. There are much more factors that determine the body's reaction to carbohydrates. For example, the glycemic load is of great importance in this matter, as well as the combination of foods with carbohydrates and other foods.

Again, let's take a real-life example and take a watermelon, which has a high glycemic index. However, when consumed in a normal serving, it carries a low glycemic load. This suggests that excess glucose is not converted to fat. For this to happen, it is necessary to consume watermelon in huge quantities, which is simply impossible physically. But watermelon contains a large amount of trace elements that are necessary for the body.

You will gain weight from chocolates or donuts, not from potatoes or watermelon. You probably realized by now that we are not talking about french fries. The combination of foods is also important for the normal absorption of carbohydrates. If you consume a carbohydrate product with a high glycemic index with food rich in healthy fats, plant fibers and protein compounds, the body's glycemic response will be weak.

You must remember that potatoes are a healthy product for an athlete, and especially when eaten with a peel. Let us remind you once again that you cannot eat only French fries, which are one of the most dangerous foods on the planet. But baked or boiled potatoes with their skins are an excellent source of plant fiber.

The harm of potato starch

By and large, potatoes have no contraindications, and athletes can safely use it. The only important point here is how this root vegetable is prepared. You should definitely boil or bake the potatoes, not fry them. The energy value of boiled potatoes is about 70 calories. It should be remembered that this parameter is also greatly influenced by those products that are used together with potatoes.

Resistant potato starch in sports nutrition

Note that most of the carbohydrates that enter our body are starch. However, not every kind of starch our body is able to process normally. Often, starchy food passes through the digestive tract without being digested.Scientists call such a substance resistant starch.

In the course of research, it was found that resistant potato starch in sports nutrition can benefit the body. This is due to the fact that this substance works in the body in a similar way to insoluble plant fibers. Among the positive properties of resistant starch, the ability of the substance to increase insulin sensitivity, suppress appetite, lower sugar concentration, etc. should be noted. In addition, resistant starch has a positive effect on the balance of lipoprotein compounds, while reducing the concentration of triglycerides.

Let's take a look at the main types of resistant starch, of which there are only four types:

  1. It is found in legumes, grains and plant seeds.
  2. Found in raw potatoes, green bananas, and some baked goods.
  3. Formed in starchy foods when cooled after cooking, such as rice and potatoes.
  4. It is obtained as a result of chemical processes.

A little clarification should be made here and it should be said that different types of starch can be contained in the same product. Take bananas as an example, in which as the fruit ripens, starch turns from resistant to normal starch. We have already briefly talked about the benefits of resistant starch for the body, but you can add something.

Since the substance works in a similar way to insoluble plant fibers, it cleans the intestinal tract of toxins. In addition, when resistant starch interacts with the intestinal microflora, useful fatty acids and gases are synthesized. One of these compounds is butyrate. Thus, starch is able to nourish not only the microflora of the intestinal tract, but also the cellular structures of the rectum. There are many studies, the results of which eloquently tell us that starch is a very useful type of carbohydrates for the body.

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