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Starch is Nonessential ~ [Issue 1299-4]  Wellness Weekly
 Dec 29, 1999 14:30 PST 

A fundamental truth you should realize in planning your diet is the
fact that starch is a nonessential nutrient. In this regard, it is
basically the same as sugar. While starch is classified as a complex
carbohydrate and sugar is a simple carbohydrate, they both are
carbohydrates and they both provide "empty calories." For good
nutrition and health, there is no question that we need amino acids,
which come from dietary protein. These maintain body structure as
well as bodily functions. We also need certain fatty acids, which are
obtained from dietary fat. In other words, despite all the bad things
you may have heard about fat, some of it is required in the diet.
Starch, on the other hand, is not required in the diet. In fact,
whereas many so-called experts have for years advocated diets high in
complex carbohydrates, high protein, low complex carbohydrate diets
have once again become more popular.

Some people are confused about the relative benefits of high complex
carbohydrate weight management diets verses diets low in complex
carbohydrates. Actually, no matter what type of diet you choose to
lose weight on, calories are calories. Caloric intake is what counts.
Put another way: "All calories are equal but some are less equal than
others." While there may be benefits to high protein, low complex
carbohydrate diets, a major disadvantage of eating a
high-carbohydrate diet is obvious. Complex carbohydrates are broken
down to sugar as they are being absorbed from the digestive tract and
ultimately trigger our pancreas to produce insulin. The more insulin
that is produced, the more hungry we are likely to feel, thus causing
an increased food intake.

The introduction of a unique proteinaceous substance, concentrated
from certain legumes, marked a new approach to weight management.
Known by scientists as phaseolamin and more commonly called the
"starch blocker," this substance acts by interfering with the
digestive process to reduce the amount of dietary nutrients absorbed
from starch. Its action inhibits or "blocks" the action of
alpha-amylase in the intestines. Starch is a large molecule and this
enzyme, alpha-amylase, breaks it down into smaller components, which
can then be absorbed into our system and burned for energy. The novel
approach of blocking alpha-amylase ultimately results in less starch
breakdown and therefore, less absorption. This means less calories
coming into our system. In fact, when the "starch blocker" was first
identified and isolated in 1979, it was not really intended as a diet
aid. Working in the laboratory at the Howard Hughes Medical
Institute, researchers intended it to be an agent for long-term
control of blood glucose levels in diabetics.

Today it is known as a unique weight management aid, especially
useful for long-term weight maintenance. Carefully controlled studies
in the laboratory, using defined materials, have shown positive
weight-loss results among animals when the starch blocker was added
to their diets. More significant, however, are the results observed
when the original clinical evaluations of the starch blocker began
almost twenty years ago. In weight-loss clinics in Indiana, Dr. Dean
Elzey, M.D. and J. John Marshall, PhD, remarked an efficacy in over
100 subjects.

It is also interesting to note that undigested starch passing through
the colon can be good for you. Dr. Tony Leeds, Professor of Nutrition
at King's College, London, has shown that incomplete digestion of
starch is not an uncommon phenomenon. He has also reported that
undigested starch has properties of, and imparts the benefits of,
dietary fiber.

By utilizing the starch blocker as part of your weight loss or weight
management program, you are able to eat reasonable quantities of
starch-containing foods. You can reap the benefits of a high
protein/low-complex carbohydrate diet and still enjoy the variety
provided by the numerous starch-containing foods such as beans, rice,
corn, bread and potatoes. Keep in mind, however, that the starch
blocker does not block fat or sugar. It only blocks starch. It will,
for example, block most of the starch in a baked potato, but it will
not block the fat in the sour cream or butter served with it. Starch
is present as a thickener in sauces, soups and gravies. Even fruits
and vegetables contain some starch. In fact, starch is difficult to
avoid. Even with all the benefits the starch blocker can provide, it
is still important to watch your calories, use self-control and
exercise, at least moderately.

For more information about blocking starch calories and an amazing
starch blocker product called "Phase'oLean Forte," please visit
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