Some of the starch derived from complex carbohydrate-rich foods in the diet is stored in the human body.
Glycogen, also known as animal starch, is the term given to stored glucose in the body reserved for future use as energy. When your body makes or has more glucose than it needs for immediate energy, some of it is converted to glycogen and stored in two places: in the liver and in the muscles.
The glycogen stored in the liver can be used to keep blood glucose or blood sugar levels steady, and the glycogen stored in muscle tissue can be used as an energy source during strenuous exercise or physical activity.
Because your body can’t store unlimited amounts of glycogen – only about 200-500 grams of glycogen, or up to half a day’s worth – it’s critical to consume a variety of carbohydrate-rich foods throughout the day and enough total calories to meet your daily glucose needs.
In the Diet
Starch is made up of many units of glucose strung together to form a polysaccharide (a complex carbohydrate). Like sugars, most starches are digested, absorbed, and used for short-term energy or stored. Starch is found naturally in plants. Glucose is stored in the starch and used to help plants grow well and reproduce.
Starch is naturally found in plant foods including grains (such as wheat, rice, corn, oats, millet, and barley), legumes (beans, peas, lentils, lima beans, black-eye peas, and pinto beans), and tubers (potatoes, yams, and cassava).
Starch is found in foods in two main forms: amylopectin and amylase.
In most starchy foods, about 70-80 percent of the starch comes from amylopectin and the remaining 20-30 percent from amylase. In some foods, such as barley, corn, and rice, the ratio of amylopectin to amylase can vary. And some foods, like waxy barley and rice, contain almost all amylopectin, while some foods, like wheat flour have more amylase than amylopectin. Of both types of starch, amylase is thought to be less digestible than amylopectin.
Although the body can easily digest most starches, some remain trapped in plant cells and cannot be digested in the small intestine. These starches, known as resistant starches, fall into the category of fiber and can have similar health benefits. Although some resistant starches are naturally found in foods, manufacturers are increasingly making resistant starches from corn, wheat, and potatoes and adding as a form of fiber to a variety of foods including breads, cereals, pasta, crackers, and other carbohydrate-rich foods.
Modified starch is a food additive created by degrading starch using several methods. It’s commonly used to moisten, thicken, stabilize, or emulsify foods including frozen products, salad dressing, batter, and jellybeans (forms the outer shell). Modified starches are also sometimes found in medications.
Amylopectin is one of two main components of starch (the other is amylase); it is made up of branched chains of polysaccharides (long chains that contain more than 10 glucose units).
Amylase is one of two main components of starch (the other is amylopectin); it is made up of straight chains of polysaccharides (long chains that contain more than 10 glucose units).
Resistant starches are a type of fiber; they include starches and products of the breakdown of starch that are not absorbed in the small intestines of healthy individuals.
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