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Do starches have to be cooked to access nutrients?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created February 16, 2010 at 5:33 PM

Robb Wolf has mentioned on his blog and podcast that he approves of some sweet potato as a post workout starch to replenish muscle glycogen and such. Since it is a starch, does it have to be cooked thoroughly to gain access to its nutritional content? Does this apply to all starches?

425aa4bfb79556ed50ea693c3edd7e13

(609)

on March 03, 2011
at 07:39 PM

My issue with the carbs-after-workout thing is that it seems to not be supported by the actual science, despite what self-styled "researchers" in the paleo-sphere seem to claim without references. And that's putting aside the basic question: under what circumstances would human beings or our ancestors have expended an enormous amount of energy at high intensity that they would then consume that was high in sugars and starches? What, we were running down a fruit tree?

5edbf85deaf83e13b176df023abb154d

(1293)

on March 02, 2011
at 10:15 PM

Some quick links I found related to the topic which may or may not support what I wrote above: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/post-workout-fasting/ http://davidbozek.net/2010/07/27/two-foods-you-should-never-ever-eat-after-exercise/

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 02, 2011
at 10:07 PM

That's certainly interesting. I wonder if that's simply part of the glycogen storage process. The muscles being more sensitive to insulin immediately following such exertion may just amplify it a bit.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 02, 2011
at 10:06 PM

good q travis. also, i wonder if this applies across all straches, so like if you allow a bowl of rice to go cold, and then you eat it, is it the same thing? if so, this would be very interesting. no more chinese take out! haha.

5edbf85deaf83e13b176df023abb154d

(1293)

on March 02, 2011
at 10:03 PM

Additionally: There are many who advise to not eat ANYTHING at all post-workout for at least 90 minutes for HGH production purposes.

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 02, 2011
at 10:03 PM

Might reheating it convert it back to a more digestible form?

5edbf85deaf83e13b176df023abb154d

(1293)

on March 02, 2011
at 09:52 PM

Never knew that! Resistant starch leads to gas?

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on February 16, 2010
at 09:35 PM

Sounds pretty tasty! I always used to eat sweet potato (or whatever was the carbiest thing I was eating) post workout too. Certainly post-workout is the time to both cook and blend it, no problems with absorption there. Is the coconut milk a concious decision to maximise absoprtion of all the carotenoids in the potato or just co-incidence? There's a lively discussion between donmatesz and Drs Cynthia+David about how paleo starchy tubers after heavy exertion would be here, a few posts down: http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/search/label/Primal%20Potatoes

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6082)

on February 16, 2010
at 08:50 PM

Yeah, the only time I really eat sweet potato is after my workouts. I usually put it in a bowl of water and heat in the microwave for about 5 minutes. Then, slice and put in blender with fruit, protein powder, and coconut milk.

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5 Answers

2
E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on February 16, 2010
at 07:02 PM

Well there are two questions here really, the starch and the antinutrients that come with it.

Clearly you can eat some starch in oats or whatever and turn it into sugar as soon as you chew it, so that doesn't need any cooking to break it down [Edit: although to be fair even raw oats are normally rather processed].

The more important issue is the various anti-nutrients in the foods, such as the standard lectins etc etc in grains and the resistant starch in potato etc. Unfortunately this will vary from antinutrient to antinutrient and depending on what nutrients you're interested in accessing. A lot of cases would be borderline I'd think. I remember some-one asking on the nutritiondata blogs whether raw sweet potato was fine (and getting an equivocal non-answer), I'd intuit that smaller amounts would be fine, but larger amounts would be problematic (probably being a tonne of stress on the digestive system for one). By extension a lot of foods probably ought to be cooked some optimum time that is quite little, but not too much.

Of course, less cooking will lower GI of the various foods (if that's a good thing), indeed I've even heard that letting cooked potatos cool can have positive effects for this reason, but it'll reduce access to the nutrients as well as the sugar. The jury's still out on fibre in general, so I don't think there's a definitive answer out there atm.

E35e3d76547b18096a59c90029e7e107

(15613)

on February 16, 2010
at 09:35 PM

Sounds pretty tasty! I always used to eat sweet potato (or whatever was the carbiest thing I was eating) post workout too. Certainly post-workout is the time to both cook and blend it, no problems with absorption there. Is the coconut milk a concious decision to maximise absoprtion of all the carotenoids in the potato or just co-incidence? There's a lively discussion between donmatesz and Drs Cynthia+David about how paleo starchy tubers after heavy exertion would be here, a few posts down: http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/search/label/Primal%20Potatoes

65125edd5aafad39b3d5b3a8b4a36bb7

(6082)

on February 16, 2010
at 08:50 PM

Yeah, the only time I really eat sweet potato is after my workouts. I usually put it in a bowl of water and heat in the microwave for about 5 minutes. Then, slice and put in blender with fruit, protein powder, and coconut milk.

1
Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 02, 2011
at 09:50 PM

First of all... starches have to be cooked to even eat them... forget 'accessing nutrients'. What starch can you eat raw?

Also, an odd side note, from Dr Kurt Harris...

"Fair warning - eating cooked potatoes later when they are cold can give you gas due to resistant starch formation."

I would never have thought of something like that. That's a bummer too, because even potatoes that have sat around for a while and have become 'cold' or rather room temperature still taste very good to me.

Good to know though :)

5edbf85deaf83e13b176df023abb154d

(1293)

on March 02, 2011
at 09:52 PM

Never knew that! Resistant starch leads to gas?

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 02, 2011
at 10:03 PM

Might reheating it convert it back to a more digestible form?

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18472)

on March 02, 2011
at 10:06 PM

good q travis. also, i wonder if this applies across all straches, so like if you allow a bowl of rice to go cold, and then you eat it, is it the same thing? if so, this would be very interesting. no more chinese take out! haha.

1
5edbf85deaf83e13b176df023abb154d

on March 02, 2011
at 09:21 PM

You don't want to eat uncooked sweet potatoes, mate.

0
Medium avatar

on March 02, 2011
at 10:19 PM

I've never heard of HGs who eat tubers raw. If someone knows of any, that would be an interesting adjunct to this topic.

0
425aa4bfb79556ed50ea693c3edd7e13

(609)

on March 02, 2011
at 10:02 PM

[[post workout starch to replenish muscle glycogen and such]]

Hum. One often hears the assertion that this is a necessary thing without necessarily applying skepticism. This is worth a look:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20364347

5edbf85deaf83e13b176df023abb154d

(1293)

on March 02, 2011
at 10:15 PM

Some quick links I found related to the topic which may or may not support what I wrote above: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/post-workout-fasting/ http://davidbozek.net/2010/07/27/two-foods-you-should-never-ever-eat-after-exercise/

5edbf85deaf83e13b176df023abb154d

(1293)

on March 02, 2011
at 10:03 PM

Additionally: There are many who advise to not eat ANYTHING at all post-workout for at least 90 minutes for HGH production purposes.

425aa4bfb79556ed50ea693c3edd7e13

(609)

on March 03, 2011
at 07:39 PM

My issue with the carbs-after-workout thing is that it seems to not be supported by the actual science, despite what self-styled "researchers" in the paleo-sphere seem to claim without references. And that's putting aside the basic question: under what circumstances would human beings or our ancestors have expended an enormous amount of energy at high intensity that they would then consume that was high in sugars and starches? What, we were running down a fruit tree?

Medium avatar

(39821)

on March 02, 2011
at 10:07 PM

That's certainly interesting. I wonder if that's simply part of the glycogen storage process. The muscles being more sensitive to insulin immediately following such exertion may just amplify it a bit.

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