Watch Out for Starch!

For those with heart disease or who are overweight, limit starchy foods to one serving or one-cup daily. That is, one corn on the cob, one baked potato, or one sweet potato. There is no limit on the amount of low-starch, plant foods you can eat. Although there is some flexibility with higher starch vegetables, if you are not overweight, you can eat more starchy vegetables.

Avoid all refined carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta. Oatmeal and steel cut oats are permissible for breakfast, but even whole grains such as 100 percent whole-wheat products should also be limited to one serving per day.

Healthier Starches (one or two daily): Turnips, parsnips, butternut & acorn squash, corn, sweet potato, peas, carrots, wild rice & brown rice, quinoa & millet, and steel cut oats & oatmeal.

Unhealthier Starches (none to one weekly): White bread, pasta, white rice, quick cook hot cereals, tortillas, chapattis, cold breakfast cereals, pancakes, and waffles.

The most important exclusion here is the removal of refined carbohydrates--sugar, white rice, white bread, white flour pasta, but even whole grains such as brown rice and whole wheat bread are limited to one serving per day. Squash, corn, sweet potato, carrots are preferable carbohydrate choices to white potato, and whole grain breads; they are richer in phytochemicals and carotenoids. They are best utilized by adding them to soups, mixed with greens and beans. Whether you use a little more or a little less of the high starch grains or vegetables (dependent on your body weight and activity level), your meals should still have a higher ratio of green-to-starchy vegetables when you are trying to lower cholesterol.

From the forthcoming revised version of Dr. Fuhrman's book Cholesterol Protection for Life.

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Comments (9) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Betty - April 12, 2006 3:37 PM

Dr. Fuhrman, I have a question. I realize that green and non-starchy vegetables are unlimited, but is it useless to drink more than the 6-10 oz of fresh vegetable juice at one time - which if I remember correctly, you said doing this twice a day was the usual amount? I mean, will I benefit or will it just be eliminated because it is more than the body can process at that time? I love it so much that I have been drinking about 24 oz at a time but of course it would be less time consuming and less expensive to limit it.

Thank you.

Bree - April 12, 2006 4:52 PM

Are cooked beets a starch?

SusanV - April 12, 2006 8:48 PM

I thought you'd written before that green peas were an unlimited vegetable, not a starch. Can you clarify this?

Helena - April 13, 2006 3:09 PM

In Eat to Live peas are classified along with cabbage, cucumber, peppers, celery, broccoli and others as 'solid green vegetables'. They get 97 points (out of a 100) on the nutrient density scale and those vegetables are unlimited, according to Dr. Fuhrman. Beets are classified as non-green, non-starchy (I was surprised to read that), together with among others eggplant, tomatoes, onions and cauliflower and get 50 points.

Peter - September 26, 2008 6:12 AM

If I wash split peas from a packet in water, the water becomes 'milky'. Question: is that cloudy stuff in the water all starch? and is prolonged rinsing in water a way to get rid of most of the starch?

pramodpatel - January 13, 2010 9:29 AM

what are used in canvas starch to produce disease

natalie - July 21, 2010 6:47 PM

Here is what I found about coocked beets which is quite contrary to what Helena is saying:
>>>>Beets Nutritional Profile
Energy value (calories per serving): Low
Protein: Moderate Fat: Low
Saturated fat: Low
Cholesterol: None
Carbohydrates: High
Fiber: Moderate
Sodium: Moderate
Major vitamin contribution: Vitamin C
Major mineral contribution: Potassium

About the Nutrients in Beets
Beets are roots, high-carbohydrate foods that provide sugars, starch, and small amounts of dietary fiber, insoluble cellulose in the skin, and soluble pectins in the flesh. Beets are also a good source of the B vitamin folate.
One-half cup cooked fresh beets has 1 g dietary fiber and 68 mcg folate (34 percent of the RDA for a man, 38 percent of the RDA for a woman).

>> I knew beets were the reason I gained some weight the next day after I loaded on the cooked beets, garlic and cream salad.. :(

Lisa - April 7, 2011 4:19 PM

Natalie, I think the real reason you gained weight was because of the creamy dressing.

Patty - June 2, 2011 8:53 PM

Butternut squash is a vegetable, not a starch.

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