Know Your Food

Starch and Other Carbohydrates

John Perritano

Know Your Food

Starch and other Carbohydrates

Know YOur Food

Fats and Cholesterol Fiber Flavorings, Colorings, and Preservatives Food Safety Genetically Modif ied Foods Gluten Organic Foods Protein Salt Starch and Other Carbohydrates

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Know Your Food

Starch and Other Carbohydrates

John Perritano

Mason Crest

Mason Crest 450 Parkway Drive, Suite D Broomall, PA 19008 www.masoncrest.com

© 2018 by Mason Crest, an imprint of National Highlights, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission from the publisher. MTM Publishing, Inc. 435 West 23rd Street, #8C New York, NY 10011

www.mtmpublishing.com President: Valerie Tomaselli Vice President, Book Development: Hilary Poole Designer: Annemarie Redmond Copyeditor: Peter Jaskowiak

Editorial Assistant: Leigh Eron Series ISBN: 978-1-4222-3733-5

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-4222-3743-4 E-Book ISBN: 978-1-4222-8050-8 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Perritano, John, author. Title: Starch and other carbohydrates / by John Perritano. Description: Broomall, PA: Mason Crest, [2018] | Series: Know your food | Audience: Age 12+ | Audience: Grade 7 to 8. | Includes index. Identifiers: LCCN 2017000405 (print) | LCCN 2017003255 (ebook) | ISBN 9781422237434 (hardback: alk. paper) | ISBN 9781422280508 (ebook) Subjects: LCSH: Starch—Juvenile literature. | Carbohydrates—Juvenile literature. | Food—Composition—Juvenile literature. Classification: LCC TP415 .P38 2018 (print) | LCC TP415 (ebook) | DDC 664/.2—dc23

LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2017000405 Printed and bound in the United States of America. First printing 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 QR CODES AND LINKSTOTHIRD PARTY CONTENT

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Table of Contents

Series Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Chapter One: What Are Carbs and Starches? . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Chapter Two: History, Manufacture, and Use . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Chapter Three: Medical Concerns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Chapter Four: Consuming Carbs and Starches . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Further Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Series Glossary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 About the Author . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Photo Credits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Words to Understand: These words with their easy-to-understand definitions will increase the reader’s understanding of the text, while building vocabulary skills. Sidebars: This boxed material within the main text allows readers to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives. Educational Videos: Readers can view videos by scanning our QR codes, which will provide them with additional educational content to supplement the text. Examples include news coverage, moments in history, speeches, iconic sports moments, and much more. Text-Dependent Questions: These questions send the reader back to the text for more careful attention to the evidence presented there. Research Projects: Readers are pointed toward areas of further inquiry connected to each chapter. Suggestions are provided for projects that encourage deeper research and analysis. Series Glossary of Key Terms: This back-of-the-book glossary contains terminology used throughout the series. Words found here increase the reader’s ability to read and comprehend higher-level books and articles in this field.

Key Icons to Look for:

SERIES Introduction I n the early 19th century, a book was published in France called Physiologie du goût ( The Physiology of Taste ), and since that time, it has never gone out of print. Its author was Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. Brillat-Savarin is still considered to be one of the great food writers, and he was, to use our current lingo, arguably the first “foodie.” Among other pearls, Physiologie du goût gave us one of the quintessential aphorisms about dining: “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” This concept was introduced to Americans in the 20th century by a nutritionist named Victor Lindlahr, who wrote simply, “You are what you eat.” Lindlahr interpreted the saying literally: if you eat healthy food, he argued, you will become a healthy person. But Brillat-Savarin likely had something a bit more metaphorical in mind. His work suggested that the dishes we create and consume have not only nutritional implications, but ethical, philosophical, and even political implications, too. To be clear, Brillat-Savarin had a great deal to say on the importance of nutrition. In his writings he advised people to limit their intake of “floury and starchy substances,” and for that reason he is sometimes considered to be the inventor of the low-carb diet. But Brillat-Savarin also took the idea of dining extremely seriously. He was devoted to the notion of pleasure in eating and was a fierce advocate of the importance of being a good host. In fact, he went so far as to say that anyone who doesn’t make an effort to feed his guests “does not deserve to have friends.” Brillat-Savarin also understood that food was at once deeply personal and extremely social. “Cooking is one of the oldest arts,” he wrote, “and one that has rendered us the most important service in civic life.” Modern diners and cooks still grapple with the many implications of Brillat- Savarin’s most famous statement. Certainly on a nutritional level, we understand that a diet that’s low in fat and high in whole grains is a key to healthy living. This is no minor issue. Unless our current course is reversed, today’s “obesity epidemic” is poised to significantly reduce the life spans of future generations. Meanwhile, we are becoming increasingly aware of how the decisions we make at supermarkets can ripple outward, impacting our neighborhoods, nations, and the earth as


a whole. Increasing numbers of us are demanding organically produced foods and ethically sourced ingredients. Some shoppers reject products that contain artificial ingredients like trans fats or high-fructose corn syrup. Some adopt gluten-free or vegan diets, while others “go Paleo” in the hopes of returning to a more “natural” way of eating. A simple trip to the supermarket can begin to feel like a personality test—the implicit question is not only “what does a healthy person eat?,” but also “what does a good person eat?” The Know Your Food series introduces students to these complex issues by looking at the various components that make up our meals: carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and so on. Each volume focuses on one component and explains its function in our bodies, how it gets into food, how it changes when cooked, and what happens when we consume too much or too little. The volumes also look at food production—for example, how did the food dye called Red No. 2 end up in our food, and why was it taken out? What are genetically modified organisms, and are they safe or not? Along the way, the volumes also explore different diets, such as low-carb, low-fat, vegetarian, and gluten-free, going beyond the hype to examine their potential benefits and possible downsides. Each chapter features definitions of key terms for that specific section, while a Series Glossary at the back provides an overview of words that are most important to the set overall. Chapters have Text-Dependent Questions at the end, to help students assess their comprehension of the most important material, as well as suggested Research Projects that will help them continue their exploration. Last but not least, QR codes accompany each chapter; students with cell phones or tablets can scan these codes for videos that will help bring the topics to life. (Those without devices can access the videos via an Internet browser; the addresses are included at the end of the Further Reading list.) In the spirit of Brillat-Savarin, the volumes in this set look beyond nutrition to also consider various historical, political, and ethical aspects of food. Whether it’s the key role that sugar played in the slave trade, the implications of industrial meat production in the fight against climate change, or the short-sighted political decisions that resulted in the water catastrophe in Flint, Michigan, the Know Your Food series introduces students to the ways in which a meal can be, in a real sense, much more than just a meal.


SERIES Introduction T K TK


Chapter 1

What Are Carbs and Starches? W ords to U nderstand glucose: a simple sugar and important energy source in living organisms. glycogen: a substance deposited in the body’s tissue as a store for carbohydrates. lipids: organic compounds such as fats and vitamins that dissolve in fats. macronutrient: a substance that living organisms need to survive. photosynthesis: the process by which plants turn radiant energy from the sun into food. A t 55 years old, Mark Stephens of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has more energy than most middle-aged men. Although his hair isn’t jet black anymore (it’s mostly gray), and his golf swing isn’t what it once was (he tends to pull the ball to the right), Stephens has run 14 marathons in 12 years. He’s done very well in some races and not so well in others, but he completed them all, which is impressive on its own. Stephens learned long ago that if he wanted to do well in the grueling 26.2- mile race, he’d have to eat a plate of carbohydrates before the starting gun sounded. Runners call it “carb-loading” (or “carbo-loading”), and it provides their bodies


Starch and Other Carbohydrates

Runners depend on complex carbohydrates to help them power through long races.

10 with much-needed energy for such long-distance races lasting more than 90 or so minutes. “When I’m running longer races, I eat carbs about four hours before my race to get my glucose level up,” he said. “During the run, I eat simple sugars.” Why do Stephens and other runners fixate on carbohydrates? When we compete in races, our bodies use an enormous amount of energy. Fortunately, we can tap into stores of glycogen , a carbohydrate-based fuel source. If there’s not enough glycogen in our system, fatigue can set in. Runners call it “hitting the wall,” the point at which an athlete’s body depletes all its supply of glycogen. Stephens remembers the first time he hit the wall. It was during the New York City Marathon in 2005. “I had a poor nutrition plan for the New York Marathon,” he said, “and all of sudden I stumbled sideways into

What Are Carbs and Starches?

other runners. They had to help me to the next station, where I sat for 15 minutes and drank flat soda so I could walk the rest. I learned a lot from that race.” Stephens got the point, and before his next marathon he fueled up on foods containing carbohydrates to make sure he had enough energy to finish. What’s Stephen’s carb of choice? “I’m all over the place,” he said, “so long as they are complex.” T he S cience of C arbs Whether running a marathon, studying for a test, playing soccer, or just sitting on a park bench, carbohydrates provide the body with the fuel it needs. Without carbs, our bodies would find it hard to function if at all. Carbohydrates are made by photosynthetic plants, and there are a few types, including starches, celluloses, and gums. Carbohydrates are one of the most abundant substances on the planet. Carbohydrates are a macronutrient , one of the three ways the body obtains energy, or calories. Proteins and fats are also macronutrients. Since the body cannot produce these substances, it has to get them from the food we eat. Different foods contain different types of carbohydrates. The three different types of carbohydrates are: • Sugars. Sugars are found naturally in many different types of foods, including fruits, vegetables, milk, and dairy products. Other foods have


Digesting Fiber

Unlike sugars and starches, fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. That’s because the body doesn’t have any enzymes that can

break fiber down into simpler sugar units. Instead of being absorbed by the body, fiber, which you get from eating foods such as fruits, vegetables, and cereals, passes into the large intestine, where it is converted into carbon dioxide, fatty acids, and hydrogen. ▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲▲


Starch and Other Carbohydrates

refined, or processed, sugars added to them, including cakes, candy, cookies, and white bread. • Starches. Potatoes, beans, peas, and corn are good sources of starch. They are also found in grains, breads, and cereals. Your body breaks down starches into sugar. • Dietary fiber. Fiber is carbohydrate that the body cannot digest. In other words, the body cannot break down fiber into sugars. Unlike starches and sugar, the body does not use fiber as an energy source. Instead, fiber helps clean the digestive tract of excess fats, which is essential for good health. Foods high in fiber include fruits, vegetables, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, and whole-grain foods (such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, and brown rice). S imple and C omplex Chemically speaking, carbohydrates are organic compounds made up of molecules of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. The simplest carbohydrates—like the ones found

naturally in apples, honey, and other fruits—are also called monosaccharide s. Monosaccharides can contain three to nine carbon atoms linked together in a chain-like molecule. Other carbs are polysaccharides (consisting of several bonded sugar molecules) , disaccharides (composed of two monosaccharides), and trisaccharides (composed of three monosaccharides). Simple carbs are more easily absorbed and digested by the body than complex carbs. Simple carbohydrates

Educational Video

Carbs and You

Scan this code for a video about carbs and health.


What Are Carbs and Starches?

Whole fruits are a great way to get healthy carbs into your diet.


Starch and Other Carbohydrates

include glucose , fructose (a sugar found in fruits), galactose (a sugar found in dairy products), maltose , sucrose (table sugar), and lactose (composed of glucose and galactose and found in milk). Simple carbs provide the body with a quick boost of energy. Some types of simple carbs are not healthy. These are “bad carbs” because they are high in refined, or processed sugar and have no nutritional value, as opposed to simple carbs, which are found naturally in fruit. Bad carbs are in such things as donuts, soda, table sugar, candy, pies, cakes, white rice, fruit juices, and white bread.

Tasty? Yes. But donuts are packed with the unhealthiest of carbohydrates.


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