Starch Does Not Make You Fat

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Albert Samuel Anker - Potato-Peeling Girl
Albert Anker creator QS:P170,Q72510, Albert Samuel Anker – Potato-Peeling Girl, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons


By themselves, starches do not cause weight gain, and increased sugar consumption tends to cause more weight gain than starch. Other problems with starch consumption include the starch feeding bacteria in the intestine, which leads to endotoxin and subsequent inflammation, and also presorption of the starch particles through the intestinal wall.

“Intake of a 14-d ad libitum high-starch diet decreased energy intake and body weight compared with a high-fat or high-sucrose diet. The increased energy expenditure observed on the sucrose-rich diet can probably be explained both by the increased intake of energy and fructose (mainly from sucrose) on this diet.”


“The long-term impact of dietary carbohydrate type, in particular sucrose, on insulin resistance and the development of diabetes and atherosclerosis is not established. Current guidelines for the healthy population advise restriction of sucrose intake. We investigated the effect of high- versus low-sucrose diet (25 vs. 10%, respectively, of total energy intake) in 13 healthy subjects aged 33 +/- 3 years (mean +/- SE), BMI 26.6 +/- 0.9 kg/m(2), in a randomized crossover design with sequential 6-week dietary interventions separated by a 4-week washout. Weight maintenance, eucaloric diets with identical macronutrient profiles and fiber content were designed. All food was weighed and distributed. Insulin action was assessed using a two-step euglycemic clamp; glycemic profiles were assessed by the continuous glucose monitoring system and vascular compliance by pulse-wave analysis. There was no change in weight across the study. Peripheral glucose uptake and suppression of endogenous glucose production were similar after each diet. Glycemic profiles and measures of vascular compliance did not change. A rise in total and LDL cholesterol was observed. In this study, a high-sucrose intake as part of an eucaloric, weight-maintaining diet had no detrimental effect on insulin sensitivity, glycemic profiles, or measures of vascular compliance in healthy nondiabetic subjects.”


“Our findings suggest that reduction of fat intake results in a modest but significant reduction in body weight and body fatness. The concomitant increase in either simple or complex carbohydrates did not indicate significant differences in weight change. No adverse effects on blood lipids were observed. These findings underline the importance of this dietary change and its potential impact on the public health implications of obesity.”


“30 of 7895 trials and 38 of 9445 cohort studies were eligible. In trials of adults with ad libitum diets (that is, with no strict control of food intake), reduced intake of dietary sugars was associated with a decrease in body weight (0.80 kg, 95% confidence interval 0.39 to 1.21; P<0.001); increased sugars intake was associated with a comparable weight increase (0.75 kg, 0.30 to 1.19; P=0.001). Isoenergetic exchange of dietary sugars with other carbohydrates showed no change in body weight (0.04 kg, -0.04 to 0.13). Trials in children, which involved recommendations to reduce intake of sugar sweetened foods and beverages, had low participant compliance to dietary advice; these trials showed no overall change in body weight. However, in relation to intakes of sugar sweetened beverages after one year follow-up in prospective studies, the odds ratio for being overweight or obese increased was 1.55 (1.32 to 1.82) among groups with the highest intake compared with those with the lowest intake. Despite significant heterogeneity in one meta-analysis and potential bias in some trials, sensitivity analyses showed that the trends were consistent and associations remained after these studies were excluded.

Among free living people involving ad libitum diets, intake of free sugars or sugar sweetened beverages is a determinant of body weight. The change in body fatness that occurs with modifying intakes seems to be mediated via changes in energy intakes, since isoenergetic exchange of sugars with other carbohydrates was not associated with weight change.”


“A causal role of fructose intake in the aetiology of the global obesity epidemic has been proposed in recent years. This proposition, however, rests on controversial interpretations of two distinct lines of research. On one hand, in mechanistic intervention studies, detrimental metabolic effects have been observed after excessive isolated fructose intakes in animals and human subjects. On the other hand, food disappearance data indicate that fructose consumption from added sugars has increased over the past decades and paralleled the increase in obesity. Both lines of research are presently insufficient to demonstrate a causal role of fructose in metabolic diseases, however. Most mechanistic intervention studies were performed on subjects fed large amounts of pure fructose, while fructose is ordinarily ingested together with glucose. The use of food disappearance data does not accurately reflect food consumption, and hence cannot be used as evidence of a causal link between fructose intake and obesity. Based on a thorough review of the literature, we demonstrate that fructose, as commonly consumed in mixed carbohydrate sources, does not exert specific metabolic effects that can account for an increase in body weight. Consequently, public health recommendations and policies aiming at reducing fructose consumption only, without additional diet and lifestyle targets, would be disputable and impractical. Although the available evidence indicates that the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with body-weight gain, and it may be that fructose is among the main constituents of these beverages, energy overconsumption is much more important to consider in terms of the obesity epidemic.”


“We examined the extent to which sugar, relative to other macronutrients, was associated with adiposity.

Fat is the largest contributor to overall energy. The proportion of energy from fat in the diet, but not sugar, is higher among overweight/obese individuals.”


“In response to evidence linking obesity and high amounts of dietary fat, the food industry has developed numerous reduced-fat and nonfat food items. These items frequently derive a relatively large percentage of their energy from sugars and the effect of these sugars on weight regulation is not well known. We studied the comparative effects of high- and low-sucrose, low-fat, hypoenergetic diets on a variety of metabolic and behavioral indexes in a 6-wk weight-loss program. Both diets contained approximately 4606 kJ energy/d with 11% of energy as fat, 19% as protein, and 71% as carbohydrate. The high-sucrose diet contained 43% of the total daily energy intake as sucrose; the low-sucrose diet contained 4% of the total daily energy intake as sucrose. Twenty women aged 40.6 +/- 8.2 y (mean +/- SD) with a body mass index (in kg/m2) of 35.93 +/- 4.8 consumed the high-sucrose diet; 22 women aged 40.3 +/- 7.3 y with a body mass index of 34.93 +/- 4.4 consumed the low-sucrose diet. Mixed-design analysis of variance showed a main effect of time (P < 0.01), with both diet groups showing decreases in weight, blood pressure, resting energy expenditure, percentage body fat, free triiodothyronine (FT3), urinary norepinephrine, and plasma lipids. Small but significant interactions were found between group and time in total cholesterol (P = 0.009) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) (P = 0.01). Both groups showed decreases in depression, hunger, and negative mood, and increases in vigilance and positive mood with time (P < 0.01). Results showed that a high sucrose content in a hypoenergetic, low-fat diet did not adversely affect weight loss, metabolism, plasma lipids, or emotional affect.”


This studies shows more weight loss with added sugar, but the added sugar resulted in a reduced consumption of fat:

“Two energy-reduced diets were designed as a weight-reducing programme. A low-sugar diet (LSD) providing 5% of its energy from sucrose and a sugar-containing diet (SCD) providing 10% of its energy from sucrose incorporated as sweet foods were devised. Both diets were constructed to contain about 33% of the energy from fat.

Weight loss over the 8 weeks was 2.2 kg (LSD) and 3.0 kg (SCD). BMI changed from 29.2 on the LSD and 30.1 kg/m(2) SCD at baseline to 28.2 and 28.8 kg/m(2) at week 8 respectively. The actual prescribed commercially added sucrose intakes were 5% energy (LSD) or 10% energy (SCD). Reported percentage energy from fat was significantly lower on the SCD (and would seem to support the theory of an inverse relationship between fat and sugar) than on the LSD, where there was seen to be no significant reduction. There was no evidence of micronutrient dilution that could be directly attributed to the sucrose content of the diets.”


Reference for compilation of first four studies:







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