5

votes

Where do you stand on safe starches?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created February 29, 2012 at 8:05 AM

Where do you stand on safe starches? Sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white rice. How far do you go? What are your thoughts?

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:04 AM

yes, I eat all this stuff too, just not gobs and gobs of it.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 29, 2012
at 08:25 PM

It was pretty interesting with my past BF (you know who). Of course when he visited me, I cooked, and he really struggled with my diet because he just doesn't seem to do very well on even moderately low-carb. I used to just have to make piles of rice for him. I had the opposite problem when he cooked, I just can't take that much starch. It makes me feel sick when it reaches a certain % of calories I guess. I wasn't as bad off on his diet as he was on mine, which implies I'm the more flexible one. It's funny he's considered a "low carb" expert since I learned how to cook potatoes from him.

76f3ead3aa977d876bcf3331d35a36e9

(4620)

on February 29, 2012
at 06:27 PM

I usually eat about 400 calories worth of starch a day. Plus another 300-400 calories of fruit. I also partake in brown rice or buckwheat a few times a week. I'm so crazay!

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on February 29, 2012
at 05:17 PM

Hehehehehehe :P

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 29, 2012
at 04:41 PM

The commonly found normal distribution of nutrients requirements among individuals is rarely considered in these debates.

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on February 29, 2012
at 04:22 PM

melissa! there is this great little izakaya in the astor place area that has the hookup. also $5 bucket glasses of whiskey. yum :)

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on February 29, 2012
at 04:20 PM

ha! i looooove them oh so much. since you live in scotland there will be forgiveness and a good definition. grilled rice ball. shaped around a very tart plum (ume) paste. when ordering you say "yaki ume onigiri." it has a crispy, almost burnt rice crust that gives way to fluffy white plummy insides. grilled on all sides, then brushed with soy sauce (oh nooo!), then grilled on all sides again. it is.. oishii (delicious)!!!!!!!!!

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 29, 2012
at 03:58 PM

I googled "sour plum jaki onigiri" and the first result was here on PH from jusuisjuba herself...

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 29, 2012
at 03:56 PM

I am sure that NYC is far ahead of Northern Scotland in its level of culinary diversity :)

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 29, 2012
at 03:54 PM

lol I guess they don't have that in Scotland :) It's a rice ball thingy. I used to buy them sometimes at a rice ball shop in NYC.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 29, 2012
at 03:52 PM

sour plum yaki what? :)

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on February 29, 2012
at 03:01 PM

Sounds like me. parsnips are super good if you like carrots.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on February 29, 2012
at 03:00 PM

All roots and tubers are good for me, including white potatoes. I don't usually eat rice, but just because it's caloric ally dense compared to any potato so you don't get to eat as much! I think rice is fine health wise though. About 300 grams of carb, 90% prolly from starch, makes me feel real good

6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on February 29, 2012
at 02:36 PM

+1 These one size fits all socks I usually buy never fit right because they are too big. ;-)

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on February 29, 2012
at 01:34 PM

I think a lot of people have this experience of needing more carbs as they approach their goal weight. It's interesting to me that this was Dr. Atkins approach as well - it was never intended to be VLC for life.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on February 29, 2012
at 01:31 PM

I would add that you should adjust downward if you are insulin resistant/diabetic/met syn or are dealing with brain function issues that a ketogenic diet might be helpful for - ADHD/Epilepsy/Alzheimer's/Parkinson's/etc.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on February 29, 2012
at 01:27 PM

I'd rather eat them than stand on them. I can only get away with small amounts, but I do feel better than when I am VLC. I eat all of the Jaminet approved ones.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on February 29, 2012
at 11:25 AM

I added sweet potatoes and rice back to my diet after 5 months off, no issues. I eat 2-3 sweet potatoes a week, and 150-250 grams of rice.

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13 Answers

best answer

17
2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on February 29, 2012
at 10:22 AM

I think each person can only answer this for themselves, from their own experiences and what works for them. If there is one thing that most of us learn along this whole paleo journey, is that THERE IS NO ONE SIZE FITS ALL. I can not stress that enough. Starches work wonderfully for some people, there are others, many others, who can not tolerate them. At all. IMHO, you have to listen to your own body, pay attention to the signals it is giving you to see what works best for YOU.

Me personally, I am quite high in starch. I eat white rice, white potatoes, lots of root veg, especially over winter when that is what is locally available. That works for me. I will occasionally go low carb. I started this whole journey low carb actually. For me, I found I lost too much weight and my period cycle lengthened while I was eating low carb. My cycle corrected shortly after I introduced more starches back in, but again this is only my experience. There are plenty of other people who absolutely thrive without the starches. I think everybody needs to focus on self experimentation and find what works best for them. This whole low carb V higher but not actually high carb, battle is getting really boring. We all have more in common than we do differences. Lets focus more on that, and trying to help people find what works for them.

2507b557331c8a674bc81197531e609a

(4994)

on February 29, 2012
at 05:17 PM

Hehehehehehe :P

6714718e2245e5190017d643a7614157

on February 29, 2012
at 02:36 PM

+1 These one size fits all socks I usually buy never fit right because they are too big. ;-)

10
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 29, 2012
at 03:21 PM

Dr. Kruse and Rosedale are placing a bet that carbohydrate restriction (Rosedale also places a lot of importance on protein restriction. Somehow that never comes up in these debates, even though most of us eat over his recommendations) with enhanced longevity, primarily based on animal studies. That's cool. I'm all for making life an experiment and I'm thrilled my grandchildren will have access to their data, along with the CRON (calorie restriction) folks. However, it has nothing to with with the paleolithic. At least Dr. Rosedale doesn't try to muck around with prehistory to try to convince people about why carbs are suboptimal, even though he is arrogant in his own way.

The evidence for starch consumption in the paleolithic is robust and I believe firmly that response to it, like response to most things, lies along a normal distribution, in which one tail end might not tolerate it very well and the other tail end might not do very well without it. This is particularly since reliance on starch as a STAPLE seems to be somewhat recently (middle to late Paleolithic) selected for, as are adaptations to polar environments. The vast majority of people are in the middle, where they are somewhat flexible in their choices and can chose to consume starches or to place their bets on carb restriction improving their quality of life later on.

I am not convinced by Rosedale's practical data, which is paltry. You can see my data on cross-cultural leptin data on my blog, in which Rosedale's study isn't anything particularly special and Stephen points out that the markers he is using aren't even proven as markers of longevity.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 29, 2012
at 04:41 PM

The commonly found normal distribution of nutrients requirements among individuals is rarely considered in these debates.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 29, 2012
at 08:25 PM

It was pretty interesting with my past BF (you know who). Of course when he visited me, I cooked, and he really struggled with my diet because he just doesn't seem to do very well on even moderately low-carb. I used to just have to make piles of rice for him. I had the opposite problem when he cooked, I just can't take that much starch. It makes me feel sick when it reaches a certain % of calories I guess. I wasn't as bad off on his diet as he was on mine, which implies I'm the more flexible one. It's funny he's considered a "low carb" expert since I learned how to cook potatoes from him.

10
4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921

(5005)

on February 29, 2012
at 11:50 AM

I was virtually zero carb for 1+ years and lost a lot of weight then sort of plateaued when I really wanted to lose about 6 pounds more. But didn't feel "right".

Adding potatoes and white rice back - not every day, but frequently, helped digestive issues, gave me more energy, better sleep - and helped with some of the nutrients that FitDay showed I was low in. I'd believed all of this "potatoes are empty nutrients" thing, when in fact the opposite is true - great source of nutrients. And the extra 6 pounds went easily.

I find I feel just better all round with carbs. And now I'm adding back more fruit - some each day.

Really, you need to listen to your body and what it tells you. Some obviously do well on meat only, some people need more veg, some more carbs. So long as there is plenty of good fats and no "bad" grains, I'm sure you'll flourish!

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on February 29, 2012
at 01:34 PM

I think a lot of people have this experience of needing more carbs as they approach their goal weight. It's interesting to me that this was Dr. Atkins approach as well - it was never intended to be VLC for life.

9
E0250b1e6dc5ec1539ffb745042b4d80

(3651)

on February 29, 2012
at 10:05 AM

Active Paleo folks thrive on those things. Humans are omnivores and we are able to process a variety of macros for a reason.

Jaminet does a good defense of safe starches, but he's talking about the optimal diet for the optimal human. A lot of us have problems to solve and avoiding those "safe" starches is sometimes the best strategy.

I think a good rule is Jaminet's 20% starches in terms of calories, adjusted up if you are more active and adjusted down if you have weight to lose.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on February 29, 2012
at 01:31 PM

I would add that you should adjust downward if you are insulin resistant/diabetic/met syn or are dealing with brain function issues that a ketogenic diet might be helpful for - ADHD/Epilepsy/Alzheimer's/Parkinson's/etc.

6
Ec6e6cb0bee067776433dea987d6c844

on February 29, 2012
at 12:25 PM

While there are certainly people who can't handle much if any starch, I think many, if not most people can handle a fair amount.

As always, an elimination diet is helpful, and if eliminating starches eliminated a problem, keep them out.

However, I think there are a lot of active groks who have never had a health issue who low-carb unnecessarily. I was one, and feel much better with starches.

5
Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on February 29, 2012
at 03:48 PM

I eat: tubers. Root veg such as carrots,celery root, beets, parsnips, rutabaga, sweet potato. This is in addition to seasonal fruit and loads of leafy greens. My plate is always very well rounded. If I happen to come across one, a sour plum yaki onigiri will make it's way into my day but that's kind of a rare thing nowadays.

Every body is different - this works for me.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 29, 2012
at 03:58 PM

I googled "sour plum jaki onigiri" and the first result was here on PH from jusuisjuba herself...

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on February 29, 2012
at 03:54 PM

lol I guess they don't have that in Scotland :) It's a rice ball thingy. I used to buy them sometimes at a rice ball shop in NYC.

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 29, 2012
at 03:52 PM

sour plum yaki what? :)

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on February 29, 2012
at 04:22 PM

melissa! there is this great little izakaya in the astor place area that has the hookup. also $5 bucket glasses of whiskey. yum :)

0bc6cbb653cdc5e82400f6da920f11eb

(19245)

on February 29, 2012
at 03:56 PM

I am sure that NYC is far ahead of Northern Scotland in its level of culinary diversity :)

Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on February 29, 2012
at 04:20 PM

ha! i looooove them oh so much. since you live in scotland there will be forgiveness and a good definition. grilled rice ball. shaped around a very tart plum (ume) paste. when ordering you say "yaki ume onigiri." it has a crispy, almost burnt rice crust that gives way to fluffy white plummy insides. grilled on all sides, then brushed with soy sauce (oh nooo!), then grilled on all sides again. it is.. oishii (delicious)!!!!!!!!!

5
028e70a250f38bd61fa81b0e0789bb6e

on February 29, 2012
at 11:36 AM

My body doesn't seem to handle starch that well, and in middle/high school, when I didn't know better and was eating a lot of rice and potatoes, I was farting a lot and was laughed at by other students. Recently I was out with friends in a Thai restaurant, a meal with rice noodles and bean sprouts made me burping pretty much non-stop all night.

I wouldn't go that far as completely shutting off starch. Currently I eat small portions of starchy food before/after workout, and sometimes I have safe starch for meals too. I feel rather good doing that. However, a big starchy meal will be off limits for me.

4
A4587cfef29863db612c43f89c202cc1

on February 29, 2012
at 02:45 PM

My experience was that I had gotten a little fat. I went LC and kind of VLC for about two months and dropped 20 pounds fairly easily. Then, as a lot of people report, I kind of stalled and went several weeks without any weight loss. So, I started experimenting with Leangains style carb cycling: adding a sweet potato to my post workout meal, which amounts to three per week. So, I'm staying around or below 50g of carbs per day on non workout days, and then staying at or slightly above 100g on workout days. I feel better and several pounds pretty much fell off of me without much trying. Like my body said, "oh, that's what we've been missing...we can let go of some of this goo now."

3
8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on February 29, 2012
at 02:21 PM

I do best on a low carb diet with carb days every once in a while. I am usually around 50 grams net carb on the low carb days. I do not believe that there is any such thing as a safe starch that should be eaten all the time. I am really with Drs. Rosedale and Kruse on this one.

2
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on March 01, 2012
at 03:19 AM

Well you can obviously eat low carb and still eat safe starches right? One potato is like 30g....so you could have one tater, meat, fat, leafy greens, and still be under 50g for the day!

I feel like it surely makes it easier for some people to be paleo if they are told this is OK. I don't love taters unless they are scattered "all the way" at Waffle House, and rice is too dense (like others have said). I had one today though with 3 pats of butter, and a half cup of guac.....wasn't half bad this way :).

I dunno, I still like to have a piece or two of fruit or other root veggies before the safe starches I guess.

While sugar may not be the devil in these forms I'm still quite unconvinced they are necessary for good health.

8949bf87b0e0aefcad10f29975e4fa2b

(8989)

on March 02, 2012
at 04:04 AM

yes, I eat all this stuff too, just not gobs and gobs of it.

2
7e1433afbb06c318c4d90860d493c49d

(5959)

on February 29, 2012
at 02:42 PM

I can eat a sushi roll about once a week, but if I eat any starch on a more regular basis, my appetite increases, I eat more, and I start gaining weight. Fruit doesn't have that effect on me, and I typically eat 20-30% of my calories as carbs from fruits and veggies.

2
8487a2f7fb8be0a568275667af0794c8

on February 29, 2012
at 11:19 AM

Sweet potatoes, carrots and most squashes daily along with non-starchy vegetables

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on February 29, 2012
at 03:01 PM

Sounds like me. parsnips are super good if you like carrots.

1
60eb133a6de5e18deff3418e91d80ba0

on March 01, 2012
at 03:35 AM

My family eats a good amount of starch. Either white rice, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, plantains and root vegetables with dinner most nights. Breakfast and lunch are usually low carb. It seems to work well with us, my wife is still slowly shedding pounds, and I have maintained the same (ideal) weight for the past 1.5 years.

For me, when I don't eat starch I burnt out after a couple of days. I did 30 days of low carb and I was drained the whole time. Including starches/carbs makes me feel more "balanced". We usually cook our white rice in chicken broth to add some nutrients to it.

Like everyone else said, it's all about individual reaction.

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