Posted: 16 Jul 2024 By:  Reading time: minutes remaining

Why Starchy Carbs Are Your Secret Key To Defeating Cancer

Starchy carbs don't make you fat. Humans have eaten starch for over 10 000 years. Learn why eating starches are essential for our health.

Find out why you shouldn't trust the glycemic index when you make your food choices. And discover how you can eat more carbs and get amazing health.


Legal Notice

The information is presented for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, prescribe treat or cure cancer.This information is not intended as medical advice, please refer to a qualified healthcare professional.

What Is Starch?

The term “starch” comes from the Middle English word sterchen: to stiffen. In its pure form, starch is a white, odorless, tasteless powder.

Starch granules don’t dissolve in water, but heat causes them to swell and turn gelatinous. The starch gel cools into a paste that can act as a thickener, stiffener, or glue.

You may have noticed that your cooked oatmeal or polenta turns stiff and gluelike after it cools.

Plants use water, carbon dioxide, and energy from the sun to form simple sugars. Photosynthesis is the name of this process. The most basic carbohydrate is the simple sugar glucose.

If you look inside the plant’s cells, you can see that they contain simple sugars.  The sugars join into chains. Some chains attach to a straight line (amylose) and others in many branches (amylopectin).

There are three basic types of carbohydrates, sugar, cellulose, and starch. Each contains carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in specific configurations.

The simplest of these sugars include sucrose, fructose, lactose, and glucose. Sucrose is the granulated sugar you bake into cookies. Fructose makes fruit taste sweet.


Structure of the amylopectin molecule Picture by NEUROtiker

Lactose is part of milk. Glucose is the simple sugar that comes together in chains to make cellulose and starch.

Cellulose consists of chains of glucose bonded together by indigestible linkages. You can find cellulose in the cell walls of plants, wood, and other organic matter.

Our digestive system doesn’t have the enzymes to break down cellulose to use it for fuel. Although we get no energy from them, they are valuable to us for their dietary fiber.

The carbohydrate most beneficial to humans is starch. Like cellulose, starches have long-branching chains of glucose molecules. These long chains are also known as complex carbohydrates.

Starch is valuable to us because we can break it down into simple sugars. They provide us with energy during the day and keep us feeling full and satisfied.

When sugar chains gather in large quantities inside a plant’s cells, they form starch grains. These are also called starch granules (amyloplasts).

Plants store starch in their roots, stems, leaves, flowers, seeds, and fruits. The starch provides them with a source of energy when they need it later. Plants use starch to keep them alive through the winter and to fuel them the following spring. 

Their high carbohydrate concentration sustains not only the plants but humans too.

So let me explain how the body utilizes starch to fuel itself.

How Our Bodies Use Starch For Fuel

Starch should be our primary source of digestible carbohydrate. Amylase breaks down the long carbohydrate chains and turns them into simple sugars. We, humans, have the enzyme amylase in our saliva and intestine.

Our bodies release these simple sugars from the small intestine into the bloodstream. This process provides our cells with a ready supply of energy.

Fruits contain for the most part simple sugars that offer quick-burning energy. They hold little of that slow-burning, sustaining starch. As a result, fruits alone won’t satisfy our appetites for long.

Green, yellow, orange non-starchy vegetables contain only small quantities of starch. Their primary role is to add extra nutrients to starch-based meals.

Different kinds of animals need different types of diets. We, humans, thrive on starch. The more rice, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beans we eat, the healthier we become.

Examples of starches include:


Grains: Barley, buckwheat, corn, millet, oats, rice, rye, sorghum, wheat, wild rice

Legumes: Beans, lentils, peas

Starchy Vegetables Or Fruits: Carrots, Jerusalem artichokes, parsnips, potatoes, salsify, sweet potatoes, winter squashes, acorn, banana, butternut, Hubbard, yams

All large populations of trim, healthy people get most of their calories from starch.

Let's look how starch has fed the populations for thousands of years

Humans Have Eaten Starch For More Than 10 000 years

All successful civilizations have based their food on starch. In Japan, China, and most Asian countries they eat rice to most food. The same truth dates back throughout recorded human history. 

The Incas of South America centered their diet on potatoes. Corn was the central food of the Mayans and Aztecs of Central America. And wheat was the ancient Egyptians’ starch of choice.

Throughout civilization and around the world, six foods have provided our primary fuel:

  • Barley
  • Millet
  • Rice
  • Corn
  • Potatoes
  • Wheat

Starch is the one food that all healthy populations have eaten for 13000 years. 

The ancient conquerors of Europe and Asia consumed diets based on starches. These include the armies of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) and Genghis Khan (AD 1162-1227).  


Barley provided the bulk of gladiators nutrients and strength

Caesar’s legions complained when they had too much meat and preferred to do their fighting on grains.

Roman gladiators followed a vegan diet and were sometimes known as barley men. They got the name because barley provided the bulk of their nutrients and strength.

Archeological research shows that starches were the primary food throughout the world. It dates back 5,000 to 10,000 years or more.

Consumption Of Starch Throughout History

Corn (maize) North and Central South America for 7,000 years

Potatoes South America (Andes) for 13,000 years

Legumes America, Asia and Europe for 6,000 years

Sweet Potatoes South America and the Caribbean for 5,000 years

Millet Africa for 6,000 years

Sorghum East Africa for 6,000 years

Barley Middle East for 11,000 years

Oats Middle East for 11,000 years

Wheat Near East for 10,000 years

Rice Asia for more than 10,000 years

Rye Asia for more than 5,000 years

Starchy carbs made the citizens healthy. Only the wealthiest citizens like royalties ate meat. And can you guess what happened to their health?

Pharaohs Ate Meat And Had The Same Diseases We Have Today

Hieroglyphics on Egyptian temple walls show images of royalties feasting on meat.

These privileged few indulged on animal foods and produced diseases in the elite.  The same ailments were absent among the common vegetarian population.

Egyptian Pharos ate meat and suffered from heart disease, obesity, and other illnesses

The diet of the elite contained an estimated 50% fat, much of it saturated, like our modern Western diet. Egyptian Pharos suffered from heart disease, obesity, and other illnesses.

The same diseases we suffer from today. And for the same reason: a diet based on animal foods and deficient in starches.

So by now, you understand that starch was necessary to sustain large thriving populations. But what are the biggest reasons you should eat starchy carbs?

Why You Should Eat Starchy Carbs

Experts have long concluded that humans are herbivores. Our anatomy and physiology require it.

The natural diet of our closest relative, the chimpanzee, is almost vegetarian. Chimpanzees eat fruits, leaves, and perishable vegetable matter. In the dry seasons, when fruits are scarce, chimps eat nuts, seeds, flowers, and bark.

Humans thrive best on starch. The DNA of humans and chimpanzees is roughly identical. One of the minor differences is that our genes help us to digest more starch.

Our saliva produces six to eight times more of the starch-digesting enzyme amylase.


Humans thrive best on starch like corn

So why should you eat starchy carbs? Starches contain minerals and vitamins and a lot of calories. Because of its high fiber content, they make you feel full and let you form healthy stool.

Eating a plant-based diet is the best way to conquer cancer. Cruciferous vegetables, leafy greens, and all plants are great against cancer.

Leafy greens are one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. But there is one problem. Plants don’t contain as many calories as meat does.

So when you eat a vegan diet, you get much fewer calories than if you would eat a meat heavy diet. That is why starches are essential to your diet if you want to eat a plant-based diet.

But how much starch do you need each day to thrive and be healthy? Learn more next.

How Much Starch Should You Eat Per Day?

Add 600 to 900 calories of your choice of grains, legumes, or starchy vegetables to your meals. Divide the starch throughout the day

How Much Starch Should You Eat?

4 cups of steamed rice

4 cups of boiled corn

4 mashed potatoes

4 baked sweet potatoes

3 cups of cooked beans, peas, or lentils

Starch should be the basis of your diet and vegetables a complement. When you eat this way, you get all the calories, vitamins and minerals you need.

Let me demonstrate this with an example. So let's say that you eat these three dishes on one day.


Ratatouille 204,4 Calories

Vegan Alfredo Sauce

Low Fat Vegan Alfredo Sauce 400,8 calories

Eggplant Curry

Eggplant Curry 769,4 Calories

So if I log these three recipes in, I find out that I'm getting 1375 calories per day.

Dishes without starches

Dishes without starches 1375 Calories

Let's say that I need over 2000 calories per day to sustain myself. So if I only eat the vegetables, I become undernourished.

Not eating enough starches is the biggest mistakes most vegans make. That is the reason new vegans become tired or weak.

If you eat only non-starchy vegetables, you need to eat massive amounts to get the right calorie amount.

That is why people that eat only raw food need to eat huge amounts of food to obtain the right number of calories. Because most vegetables and fruits contain simple sugars, you become hungry fast.

Kale is one of the best foods you can eat and is also one of the most nutrient dense. To get 2000 calories from kale alone, you need to eat 256 cups(60 liters) per day!

I don't know about you, but eating that much kale would make me want to puke. And let's not think of the cost of buying all that leafy green.

The solution to this dilemma is to eat more starch based foods. Starches contain more complex sugar and thus takes longer for the body to digest. Because of the slow release of sugars, you feel full and don’t need to eat more food.

So in the example, I gave earlier let's say I add brown rice to my plate.

Vegan dishes with brown rice

Vegan dishes with brown rice 2368 Calories

When I add 4 cups of cooked brown rice with vegetables, I get 2368 calories instead. I now obtain enough calories to meet my daily needs and will feel more energized.  And the best thing is that starches are cheap and easy to find. 

Eating starch is an excellent way to get the nutrients you need even if you’re poor. Another benefit of most starches is that they store well. Vegetables and fruits spoil faster. They grow during certain seasons and are not always available.

When you read that you should base your diet on starches, you might have shaken your head in dismay. Can carbohydrates give you the right amount of vitamins and minerals per day? Yes, they can!

One man made the headlines when he decided only to eat potatoes for one year. So how well did he fare on this extreme diet?

One Man Ate Potatoes For A Year To Cure His Food Addiction

Andrew Taylor is a man from Australia. He spent his days drinking soft drinks, deep-fried food, ice cream, cake, chocolate and a lot of pizza. At one point he weighed 151.7kg kg(334 lb). Enough was enough.

He googled the healthiest foods to eat and saw a presentation of John McDougall. John McDougall is the author of the book The Starch Solution. This book talks about the importance of starches. 

Andrew decided to eat healthier and made a move to eat only potatoes for one year. Many health experts said it was pure madness. They were afraid he wouldn’t get enough fats and nutrients.

But you can sustain yourself on potatoes alone. Potatoes contain all the fats, protein and nutrients you need. 

Mr. Taylor lost more than 50kg after his experience. He had suffered from depression before the challenge started. And now he doesn't feel depressed anymore.

Eating only potatoes also removed his joint pain and lowered his cholesterol. His blood pressure and sugar level dropped as well.

Watch this Youtube-clip to learn more about his journey.

Starches are the foods that the longest-living people eat the most. Let me talk about people in the Blue Zones and their secret to longevity.

Starches: The Food The Longest-Living People Eat

Scientists who study longevity often focus on those aged 100 or older. You may be familiar with this idea from the popular concept of Blue Zones.

The longest-living get 95% of their calories from plants and only 5% from animal products. Contrary to what the Paleo or Atkins diet says, these folks eat a high carb diet. About 65% of their food is whole grains, beans, and starchy tubers.  

In the Blue Zone of Costa Rica, they eat a combination of corn, beans, and squash. In Okinawa, sweet potatoes are their staple food. And in Sardinia, they eat a lot of sourdough bread.


Okinawans born before 1942 are one of the longest -living people on the globe and get 69% of their calories from sweet potatoes

The longest-living people in the Blue Zones share the same characteristics; they eat a ton of starch. The older group of Okinawans, born before 1942, have the longest survival rate in Japan. 

Their rates of heart disease and cancer are much lower than Americans and other Japanese people.

So what is the traditional diet of this group? Here were the primary sources of their calories in 1949:

Calorie Intake Of Okinawans


% Of Calories

Sweet Potatoes


Other Vegetables




Other Grains









The following foods each contributed less than 1% of total calories:

  • Nuts&Seeds
  • Meat
  • Dairy
  • Seaweed
  • Alcohol
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Fruit
  • Flavorings

Overall, the Okinawans derived 85% of calories from carbohydrate, 9% from protein, and 6% from fat.

Unfortunately, the younger generations don't follow the diet as the previous generation did. As a result, they are sicker and more overweight. And they don't attain the same advanced ages.

If you want to live long, you should eat a whole-food, plant-based diet. Even if starchy carbs lead to longevity there is still resistance to it among the low-carb movement.

Why have we become so afraid of starchy carbs? Discover the truth here.

Why Are We So Afraid Of Starches?

One common complaint I often hear from Paleo people is that sugars make you fat. So where does this myth come from?

Dr. Robert Atkins was a cardiologist that created a diet consisting of meat and cheese. He got the idea of this unhealthy diet by discovering the work of Dr. Alfred W. Pennington.

Pennington got 20 obese DuPont employees to lose an average 22 pounds(10 kg) in 14 weeks on a low-carb diet.

In 1972 Atkins published his book Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution. It was a huge success, selling millions of copies. The book praised foods like pork rinds, meat, and cheese. At the same time, he criticized bananas, whole-wheat bread, and potatoes.

Atkins diet

The Atkins diet consists of eating pork rinds, meat, and cheese

His argument was that carbs, including fruit, cause a rise in insulin.According to Atkins, insulin is poison to the system, and by eating meat, you can reduce it. 

But how can people lose weight on an Atkins diet? There are several reasons for the dramatic weight loss. First, much of the weight loss comes from water. Sugar from carbs is the fuel every cell in our body needs for energy.

We store excess carbs as glycogen in the liver and our muscles as an emergency fuel source. On the Atkins diet you are not consuming carbs, so your body has to use the stored glycogen to fuel your cells.

Your body stores glycogen with water, so as you use your glycogen you also lose water weight. The Atkins diet also reduces our desire to eat, thus lowering caloric intake.

As the body goes into starvation from not receiving its primary fuel, it reverts to using fats. These diets work by severe carbohydrate deprivation which causes a state of illness. When your body runs on fat, you get into ketosis.

When people become sick, they lose both their appetite and weight. This method for losing extra pounds is like the weight loss seen in people doing chemo.

According to his diet, you should eat tons of animal products and fat to survive. But the problem is that eating meat raises your risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Your body is terrible at digesting meat.

Eating this kind of food is unhealthy and raises your cholesterol. So what happened to Atkins? He suffered a heart attack in 2002 and died at the age of 72. Atkins' dangerous diet has reincarnated as the ketogenic diet and the Paleo diet. 

The most common objection about starches is that it makes you fat. But is that true?

Does Starch Make You Fat?

Excess starch does not turn to body fat. Many people believe that sugars turn into fat inside our abdomen and hips. If you read the published research, you learn that this theory is incorrect! 

After eating, we break down the complex carbohydrates in starches into simple sugars. Your body absorbs these sugars into the bloodstream. It then transports the sugar to trillions of cells throughout the body for energy. 

If you eat more carbohydrate than your body needs, you’ll store up to 2 pounds(907 g) of it as glycogen. Your body burns off excessive carbs as body heat or when you do physical movements. 

Donut with chocolate

Unhealthy foods like donuts, potato chips, and cakes contain a lot of fat which makes you fat

Turning sugars into fats is a process called de novo lipogenesis. Pigs and cows use this process to convert carbohydrates into calorie-dense fats.

We, humans, are inefficient at converting glucose to fat under normal conditions. The cost for this conversion is 30% of the calories consumed. Subjects in a laboratory who overfed on large amounts of simple sugars will convert a small amount of it to fat. 

In an experiment both trim and obese women ate 50% more calories than they usually had in a day. Along with that, they also ate 3 1/2 ounces(135 g) of refined sugar. In the end, the sugar produced less than 4 grams(1/8 oz) of fat per day.

You’d have to overeat all those extra calories and table sugar every day for four months to gain 1 pound(454 g) of excess body fat. Our body runs on sugar and why should it turn it to fat if it can use it directly?

Carbs can’t make you fat.The only thing that makes you fat is fat.Too much fat clogs arteries and leads to heart disease and diabetes.

If starches make you fat then why are Asians slim and healthy even if they eat tons of rice? Asians have less diabetes, heart disease, and cancer than Western countries.

America eats lots of animal products and fat and is one of the sickest countries in the world. If fat doesn’t make you fat then why are there so many obese people in the US?

And if starches are so bad then why are the longest living populations eating lots of starch? Low-carbs often say that carbohydrates are bad because they raise blood sugars. But is this true? Find out now.

Why You Shouldn't Trust The Glycemic Index

You might have heard about the glycemic index (GI), which measures the rise in blood sugar over 2 to 3 hours after we eat. Your blood sugar should rise after you eat. It’s a good thing, not the sign of a problem. The public associate this increase with diabetes. 

As a result, many assume that foods with a higher GI, such as potatoes and rice are harmful. People then shun healthy carbohydrates because of their GI ratings. And then replace them with unhealthy low-GI foods like oils, meats, and cheeses.

Starches high on the GI prevent weight gain in people who tend to be obese.


Potato is a high glycemic food that is healthy

Rising blood sugar triggers satiety, telling you it’s time to stop eating. Rather than causing you to overeat and gain weight, high-GI foods help you to feel satisfied.

Endurance athletes carbo-load to win races. Carbohydrates, stored as glycogen in the body provides energy for the whole race. Athletes replenish their spent glycogen reserves by choosing foods high on the GI. 

Selecting foods with a high GI is sound advice not only for athletes but for anyone wanting to have energy. Choosing food based upon GI leads to some unfounded and dangerous conclusions. 

In the table below I have presented different foods with both low and high GI.

So in this example what do think is healthier the chocolate cake and M&Ms? Or the carrots or potatoes? You won’t have any trouble picking the carrots and potatoes. Which has the lower GI? The M&Ms and cake.

Junk Foods With GI< 40

Healthy Foods With GI> 80

Fructose(pure sugar)(19)

Corn Meal Porridge(109)

Pizza Supreme(30)

Jasmine Rice(109)

Egg Fettuccine(32)

Boiled Potato(101)

Peanut M&Ms(33)


Chocolate Drink(34)


No-bake Egg Custard(35)

Brown Rice(87)

Nestle Nesquik Strawberry Drink(35)

Corn Thins(87)

Sara Lee Premium Ice Cream(37)

Baked Potato(85)

Chocolate Cake(38)

Nabisco Shredded Wheat(83)

Source: International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002.

So if you base how good food is only on how much it raises the blood sugar, then we all should eat M&Ms and cakes. But don’t you see how flawed this model is? 

Focusing on a low glycemic index food means eating more protein and fat like meat and cheese. This makes no sense. If animal products lead to more cancer, diabetes and heart disease, shouldn't we eat less of it?

Populations who eat high GI potatoes (Peruvians) and rice (Asians) are trim and healthy. Compare this to obese people living in the Western world who feast on fats, meats, and cheeses.

Our body is supposed to use insulin when you eat food. When you combine starches with meat, your body needs more insulin to digest both foods. 

The carbs we eat is not the reason we become sick. It is the meat and dairy we consume. Dr. Greger explains this well in this video.

When Paleo folks trash talk starches they often mention donuts, cakes, and cookies. But what they forget to tell you is that these foods contain a lot of fat. If you log the nutrient content of a chocolate cream oreo, you discover that is consists of 42% of fat.

A glazed Dunkin’ Donut contains 49% fat. Cookies and cakes use butter, margarine, oils, and eggs.

And if carbs make you fat then how do you explain how people lost weight on The Rice diet? So what is the rice diet?

Kempner Cured Diabetes With Rice And Sugar

Kempner created the Rice Diet. The treatment was a simple therapy of white rice, fruit, juice, and sugar. His patients had severe conditions like diabetes.

Dr. Kempner tracked the patient's cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, and body weight. His records showed that 93% of patients with an elevated cholesterol reduced it from 273 mg/dl to 177 mg/dl.

Bowl of rice

Kempner cured patients of serious diseases like diabetes with a diet consisting of white rice, fruit, juice, and sugar

These reductions in cholesterol are greater than more potent statin drugs. The Rice Diet far exceeded drugs or surgery in treating chronic conditions. 

I hope that you learned that starches are good for you and that you should eat them more and don’t become afraid of them.

Let me summarize what you learned today and then teach you how to eat a diet based on starch below.


The term “starch” comes from the Middle English word sterchen: to stiffen. In its pure form, starch is a white, odorless, tasteless powder.

All successful civilizations have based their food on starch.

We, humans, thrive on starch. The more rice, corn, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beans we eat, the healthier we become.

Starch is the one food that healthy populations have eaten for 13000 years.

Add 600 to 900 calories of your choice of grains, legumes, or starchy vegetables to your meals.

The longest-living get 95% of their calories from plants and only 5% from animal products.

Choosing food based upon GI leads to some unfounded and dangerous conclusions.

We, humans, are inefficient at converting glucose to fat under normal conditions.

How To Start Eating More Starchy Carbs

1. Join The 12 Day Vegan Cancer Challenge

Action steps

Do you want to learn how to eat a whole-food plant-based diet for cancer?

Join our 12 Vegan Cancer Challenge to learn how to eat a healthy whole-food diet for cancer.

In this email course, you learn everything you need to know to eat a starch-based diet for cancer.

As a bonus for joining you receive a free recipe book with 46 anti-cancer recipes.

Click here to know more.


If you have any questions or comments please leave them below.

About the author 

Simon Persson

Simon Persson is a holistic cancer blogger passionate about natural health remedies. When he is not blogging, he enjoys nature, cooking, sports, and learning about the latest gadgets on the market.

You may also like

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.