Are starchy foods fattening?

Are starchy foods fattening?

There is a misconception that starchy staple foods such as chapattis, bread, rice, potatoes and pasta are fattening. In fact, they are medium-calorie foods. It’s the add-ons to these foods (like fried potato chips, chappati or khichri with ghee, paratha with butter, idli with coconut chutney, bread with mayonnaise) that are fattening.

By themselves (boiled potato, chappatis or phulkas without ghee, steamed rice), these staples can be eaten in fairly large amounts even on a slimming diet. Starchy foods help to satisfy the appetite because they are filling rather than fattening. Wholegrain foods such as whole-wheat bread, broken wheat (dalia), jowar, bajra, nachni and brown rice are preferable to refined foods, as they provide significantly more vitamins, minerals and fiber.

A calorie is ultimately a calorie whether it comes from fat or carbohydrate. If your diet contains high-calorie foods such as biscuits, cakes, crisps and sweets, which are packed with fat and sugar, even small portions can provide your body with more energy than it needs, while leaving your hunger unsatisfied. To appease the hunger, you eat more, leading to an excess of calories that don’t get burned up, are stored as fat, and lead to weight gain.




Sanjana M Shenoy is a A dietitian from Mangalore, Karnataka, India. Having worked as a Dietitian for the Manipal Group of Hospitals namely KMC hospital Mangalore, India.She is also a consultant for corporate's like Infosys and others, conducting talks and presentations for various associations and local television shows.She consults at her Diet and Nutrition clinic "Nutrihealth" in Mangalore.Also is a visiting consultant to various hospitals in and around Mangalore and also runs an active online consultation.

11 Replies to “Are starchy foods fattening?”

  1. I always wanted to know this stuff!! I eat lots of brown rice, potatoes etc. I was told I will put on weight… but the mystery is solved… Chapter closed ! Yippeee Nutri Health :)… Thank you Dr.watson 😉

  2. Keep the intake in moderation Sandeep….Eat whole grain carbohydrates…..

    yo!!! Same thin over here! was kinda confused with the starch thing! Thanks for makin it clear !yo!!! keep rockin! 🙂

  3. You talked about whole grain but in Nigeria we have just rice, cassava, garri(made from cassave), yam, sweet/irish potatoes, corn, etc. which is better for reducing fat especially stomach fat and petruded tummy

  4. Depends on where you live in Nigeria Moses; In the Middle Belt/North, we have whole wheat, broken-wheat, guinea corn, millet, and brown rice – all grown there. Maybe you should travel a bit more heh? 🙂

  5. I did not know there was so much to learn about starchy foods. Anyway, great article and will definately look at starchy foods a bit more closely.

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