I'm A Bariatric Surgeon & Here's Why You Should Add More Starches To Your Diet

mbg Associate Editor By Jamie Schneider
mbg Associate Editor
Jamie Schneider is the Associate Editor at mindbodygreen, covering beauty and health. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
Cooking Pot of Quinoa, Tomatoes, and Spinach

Remember when we chatted with bariatric surgeon Garth Davis, M.D., about his daily diet? Well, just in case you need a refresher, here's the ticket: While specific eating plans look different for everyone, the healthiest diet is "heavy in vegetables and fruits, and heavy in starches too," he explains on the mindbodygreen podcast.

Don't sleep on that last tidbit! Nutritious veggies are important, yes, but Davis believes healthy starches are an underrated and vital portion of your plate. 

Why you should incorporate more healthy starches into your diet. 

"When people are just eating greens, they're hungry," says Davis. "They don't feel great." That's because starches supply your body with fiber, which is what keeps you full and satisfied. Specifically, those complex carbohydrates become slowly digested in the lower region of your GI tract, which is where your satiety hormones become released. Refined carbs, on the other hand, are broken down quickly in the upper GI tract, which is why they typically result in the infamous blood sugar roller coaster

We should note that plenty of cruciferous veggies have their fill of fiber, too, but according to Davis, munching on strictly lettuce can only get you so far. He explains: "It's going to be very hard for someone to get fiber from fruits and vegetables alone. There's just not enough." Rather, a perfect plate would focus on all three, with starches playing a starring role. 

In terms of which healthy starches to choose from, ancient grains top many experts' lists—think quinoa, teff, and millet. You can also reach for beans and lentils, which have lots of plant-based protein as well. Davis, himself, also loves a good, homemade sourdough loaf—it's fermented and full of fiber. 


The takeaway.

Diets are entirely personal, and your plate might not look identical to a friend or family member's. That's OK! Find what eating plan works for your body, and you should be set. According to this bariatric surgeon, though, adding more healthy starches into the rotation has its benefits. That doesn't mean you should load up on the potatoes and pasta—think fibrous, complex starchy players like beans, lentils, and whole grains. Maybe throw in some homemade sourdough, too, for good measure.

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