In this article, you will find information for the general public who are interested in knowing about healthy eating and starchy carbohydrates in the diet.

We will cover:

Key messages

  • Starchy foods are an important source of nutrients in our diet. Although it's often suggested that starchy foods are fattening, each gram of carbohydrate provides less than half as many calories as a gram of fat.
  • Approximately one third of our total daily food intake should be from these foods.
  • Try to include them at every meal by basing your meals on starchy foods such as potatoes, breads, pasta, rice, noodles or cereals (more examples below).
  • Choose high fibre or wholegrain varieties as much as possible as these usually contain more fibre, vitamins and minerals. For example you could try wholegrain breakfast cereal, wholemeal bread, wholewheat pasta, or keep the skin on potatoes.

Why eat these foods?
Starchy foods can provide:

  • Fibre – helps to maintain normal bowel function.
  • B Vitamins – for example thiamine which helps the body use the energy from the carbohydrates we eat.
  • Iron – required by red blood cells which transport oxygen around the body.
  • Calcium – to help develop and maintain healthy bones and teeth.
  • Folate – needed for the formation of healthy red blood cells and for the nervous system.

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