Like many patients, 37-year-old Brenda appeared a little confused when I initially said the word starch. "But you mention in your book Happy Gut that starchy carbs turn into sugar in your body, which feeds my sugar addiction," she noted during our second visit. Feeding sugar addiction was the last thing Brenda wanted (as she was insulin-resistant and about 30 pounds overweight).
Indeed, large amounts of simple starches (usually accompanied by sugary, high-fat foods) trigger excessive amounts of your fat-storing hormone insulin—eventually leading to insulin resistance and belly fat. Among the havoc it creates, insulin resistance increases inflammation and paves the way for type 2 diabetes and obesity. To become leaner and healthier, you want to become insulin sensitive—meaning your body utilizes glucose for energy rather than storing it as fat. Yet like most things in life, an exception exists for every rule, and that includes starch.