Have you ever wondered what starch is and if milk has starch in it? I take no offense if you haven’t. It seems a bit odd to randomly wonder about that. Though I do want to clarify what starch is and what foods do have starch in them.
I want to give you a good understanding of what starch is. After we understand what starch is then we can discuss whether milk has starch in it.
The reason this topic is important is because starch affects blood sugar levels. Also, medical professional tell people who have diabetes or pre-diabetes to avoid or limit starchy foods including starchy vegetables.
So without further ado, let us dive into this topic.
What is Starch?
Do you know what starch is? Starch is a chain of plant molecules that contain glucose. They are only found in vegetables, beans, legumes, and wheat. Animal based proteins and milk products do not contain starch. To learn more about how starch is broken down and digested check out the previous blog post.
What Sugars Does Milk Have?
Milk has two different types of sugars: glucose and galactose. Together, they form a chain called lactose. When people drink milk they also drink lactose, a natural milk sugar. Some manufactures make milk products with less lactose since there are so many people who are lactose intolerant.
What About Low Fat and Fat Free Milk?
Low fat and fat free milk is made from taking the fat out of the milk. Well duh, but how do they do that? Milk is first pasteurized. Afterwards, it is left to cool. Once it is done cooling the fat in the milk separates and forms a layer on top of the milk. This layer can be scooped out of the milk to lower the fat content of milk.
Cool, does this change the composition of milk afterwards besides the obvious that the milk is lower in fat. Yes, the composition of milk does change slightly. Without the fat from the milk there are now more milk sugars or lactose in the milk.
Does this mean people with lactose intolerance should only drink full fat milk? No, there are lactose free milks on the market that are lower in fat. A lactose free milk has the enzyme, lactase added to break down the lactose in the milk. This makes it easier for anyone with a lactose intolerance to digest.
Does Milk Have Starch?
We have come back to our question from the beginning. Does milk have starch? No! Milk does not have starch. It is not a plant based product because it comes from cows. The glucose in milk comes from the milk sugar lactose, not starch.
Do Other Plant Based Milks Have Starch?
If starch comes from plants then do plant based milks have starch?
Soy milk is derived from edamame or soybeans. Edamame does have starch in it; though it only contains a tiny amount. During the process of making soy milk the starch is strained leaving almost nothing in the milk.
Soy milk has so little starch inside that it is not detected when labs test it for starch.
Almonds are a healthy plant food containing healthy fats. They are low in carbohydrates; however, they do have starch in them. Though only a little bit of starch.
Conclusion: Almond milk does contain starch.
Cashew milk is very similar to almonds. However, cashews have more starch in them than almonds. After cashew milk is strained, it still has starch.
Conclusion: Cashew milk has starch in it.
Oats are high in starch. Does oat milk have starch in it? After oat milk is strained and processed it still contains quite a bit of starch.
Conclusion: Oatmilk has a lot of starch. 20gm of starch in a 1 cup serving.
Starch Content of 25 Different Foods
How much starch does a tasty sweet treat like croissants have? A croissant has 26.2gm of starch in 1 large croissant ~67gm. It may taste good but a croissant is just white flour and butter and has almost no nutrition benefit. So eat these sparingly.
Starch Content: 39%
26.2gm of starch in 1 large croissant (67gm)
Tortillas are versatile and can be enjoyed in many different ways. It is a fun way to eat more vegetables and beans. However, a single 6 in tortilla ~24gm has 9.2gm of starch.
Starch Content: 38%
9.2gm of starch in 1- 6in tortilla (24gm)
3. White Bread
White bread has 10.4gm of starch in 1 medium slice (28gm) of bread. It may seem similar to whole wheat bread but whole wheat bread has more nutrients in a medium slice and therefore weighs more than white bread making the percentage of starch higher in white bread then whole wheat bread. Also, white bread breaks down into sugar a lot quicker than whole wheat bread.
Starch Content: 37%
10.4gm of starch in 1 slice (28gm) of white bread
Oatmeal with the right topping is a delicious way to start the day. However it may not be the best option for a person with diabetes since it does tend to spike the blood sugar. Though it should also come back down fairly quickly. 1 cup (81gm) of oatmeal has 24.3gm of starch.
Starch Content: 30%
24.3gm of starch in 1 cup (81gm) of oatmeal
5. Whole wheat bread
Whole wheat bread is a convenient way to load up on healthy food. You can add lettuce, tomato, hummus, or avocado to a slice of bread. 1 slice (36gm) of whole wheat bread has 10.3 gm of starch.
Starch Content: 29%
10.3gm of starch in 1 slice (36gm) of whole wheat bread
6. Chocolate Chip Muffin
A chocolate chip muffin is such as tasty treat first thing in the morning. However, it will raise your blood sugar if you eat because there is very little fiber or nutrients. A medium size muffin ~113gm has 31.6gm of starch.
Starch Content: 28%
31.6gm of starch in 1 medium muffin (113gm)
7. Oreo Cookie
An oreo cookie is vegan but not healthy. It is still full of sugar and not the best option for a person with diabetes. 1 cookie ~11gm has 3gm of starch. Not too bad if you only eat 1 cookie; however, most people will eat more than 1 cookie so eat these sparingly.
Starch Content: 27%
3gm of starch in 1 Oreo Cookie (11gm)
8. Brown rice
Brown rice is a healthier alternative to white rice. White rice is a staple in many households. Though I would love to see more people use brown rice as a staple in their household. It has more nutrients and fiber than white rice and healthier overall. It contains 50.1gm of starch in a 1 cup serving ~202gm.
Starch Content: 25%
50.1gm of starch in 1 cup (202gm) of brown rice
9. White Rice
Its counterpart white rice has 36.3gm of starch in a 1 cup serving ~158gm. It may have less starch but it also has less fiber and less nutrients. Therefore, before you claim white rice is better. Remember you do not receive as much nutrition with white rice. So be wise about the type of rice you choose to eat with you meal.
Starch Content: 23%
36.5gm of starch in 1 cup (158gm) of white rice
Another bomb of white flour and sugar which is fried to keep us addicted is a donut. Enjoy these sparingly because they will raise your blood sugar. A medium sized donut ~72gm has 15.1gm of starch.
Starch Content: 21%
15.1gm of starch in 1 medium sized donut (72gm)
11. White Potato
A white potato is very versatile as well and is enjoyed in America in the form of a french fry. Making homemade french fries in the oven or airfryer is better for your health because less oil is used. However, it may raise your blood sugar high despite cooking it with less oil. Because it is higher in starch than other vegetables. 1 medium potato ~173gm has 31.1gm of starch.
Starch Content: 18%
31.1gm of starch in 1 medium potato (173gm)
Quinoa is a whole grain that is high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and protein. The fiber content alone may delay your blood sugar from spiking too quickly. However, everyone responds differently so always check your blood sugar after you eat to see how different foods affect you. This grain has 32.6gm of starch in a 1 cup serving ~185gm.
Starch Content: 18%
32.6gm starch in 1 cup (185gm) quinoa
Farro is a whole grain that has a lovely chewy and nutty taste to it. Expect to receive many beneficial vitamins, minerals and fiber when you eat this grain. A 1 cup serving ~194gm of farro has 30.3gm of starch.
Starch Content: 16%
30.3gm of starch in 1 cup (194gm) of farro
14. Black Beans
Black beans are a great source of protein in a plant based diet. Canned black beans have more starch in them than their dried counterparts. Canned black beans have 26.5gm starch in a 1 cup serving ~172gm. While black beans cooked from dried beans have 15.7gm starch in a 1 cup serving ~172gm.
Dry Black Beans Cooked 9%
15.7gm of starch in 1 cup (172gm) of dry black beans cooked
Canned Black Beans 15%
26.5gm of starch in 1 cup (172gm) of canned black beans
15. Pinto beans
Pinto beans are another great source of protein on a plant based diet. They are full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Oddly enough, canned pinto beans have less starch than their dried counterpart. Canned pinto beans have 10.2gm of starch while pinto beans cooked from dried beans have 25.9gm of starch in a 1 cup serving ~ 171gm.
Canned Pinto Beans 6%
10.2gm of starch in 1 cup (171gm) of canned pinto beans
Dry Pinto Beans Cooked 15%
25.9gm of starch in 1 cup (171gm) of dry pinto beans cooked
Who doesn’t love a good brownie. However, most commercially made brownies are just whiter flour and white sugar, a great combination for high blood sugar. 1 regular sized brownie ~43gm has 5.3gm of starch.
Starch Content: 12%
5.3gm of starch in 1 brownie bar (43gm)
17. Sweet Corn
Fire up your BBQ during the summer because that is corn season. Corn is a delicious tasty treat that is higher in carbohydrates and can cause a blood sugar spike in some people who have diabetes. My advise, eat half a ear of corn then test your blood sugar 2 hours later to see how it affected your blood sugar. A large ear of corn ~118gm contains 8.5gm of starch.
Starch Content: 7%
8.5gm of starch in 1 large ear of corn (118gm)
18. Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are a delicious snack and I love making sweet potato fries from sweet potatoes. This vegetable can be cooked and enjoyed in many different ways. A medium sweet potato ~150gm has 10.6gm starch.
Starch Content: 7%
10.6gm of starch in 1 large sweet potato (150gm)
A large banana ~136gm has 7.3gm of starch. Most people with diabetes are told to avoid bananas. My advise, eat 1/2 of a banana then check your blood sugar 2 hours later to see how your individual body reacted to it. It is a great source of potassium. However, I do know not everyone can enjoy them without their blood sugar spiking.
Starch Content: 5%
7.3gm of starch in 1 large banana (136gm)
Edamame is a delicious snack that is high in protein. It can be eaten by itself, added to salads or added to stir frys. Just don’t over eat on edamame as it is higher in fat and has 8gm of fat in a 1 cup serving. It also has 2.3gm of starch in a 1 cup serving ~155gm.
Starch Content: 1.5%
2.3gm of starch in 1 cup (155gm) of edamame
21. Silken Tofu
Silken tofu I have noticed is used a lot for yogurt, pudding, or frittata type dishes. This is also a great source of plant based protein. A 1 cup serving ~ 248gm has 3.4gm of starch.
Carrots are a delicious snack in my opinion as they can be enjoyed by themselves or with multiple types of dips like hummus, guacamole, or ranch. Soooo… maybe you should go easy on the dips if you like eating carrots with dips. It is easy to eat mindlessly and eat more than you planned to. Sometimes overeating on dips high in fat can cause a delay in high blood sugar. A medium carrot ~72gm has 0.9gm of starch while a baby carrot ~10gm has 0.1gm of starch.
Medium Carrot 1.25%
0.9gm of starch in 1 medium carrot (72gm)
Baby Carrot 1%
0.1gm of starch in 1 baby carrot (10gm) cooked
Beets are sometimes avoided by people with diabetes because they contain natural sugar. However, they have so many beneficial nutrients that our bodies need. 1 cup of diced beets ~157gm has 0.8gm of starch.
Starch Content: 0.5%
0.8gm of starch in 1 cup (157gm) of diced beets
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. This phrase is cute but inaccurate. An apple a day is a great healthy snack but it won’t keep the doctor away if you eat unhealthy food for the rest of your meals. The starch content in 1 large apple ~223gm is 0.1gm.
Starch Content: 0.4%
0.1gm of starch in 1 large apple (223gm)
25. Firm Tofu
Firm tofu is another great source of plant based protein. It can be cut up in small cubes and used for stir frys, soups, ramen, or enjoyed simply with rice and vegetables. A whole block of tofu ~244gm has 1 gm of starch.
Starch Content: 0.4%
1gm of starch in 1 block (244gm) of firm tofu
Wow! That was a lot of information today. If you feel overloaded with information then please bookmark this page so you can refer back to this list in the future.
To recap everything that was discussed today, starch is found only in plant foods. Starch is not in every plant food. It is a chain of starch molecules that are made up of glucose.
Milk does not have starch but its plant sources do: almond milk, cashew milk and oat milk. Fat free and low fat milk have more lactose than full fat milk due to having less fat. Lactose free milk has an enzyme called lactase added to break down the lactose in milk.
The top 5 foods highest in starch are croissant, tortilla, white bread, oatmeal, and whole wheat bread. While the top 5 foods lowest in starch on this list are firm tofu, apples, beets, carrots, and silken tofu.
Foods higher in starch will raise blood sugar levels though the starch content of foods is not the only thing to take into consideration in making better food choices. The quality and quantity of food need to be taken into consideration too. Quinoa is a far better choice as it is a whole food than white bread.
Also, after you eat a certain food always check your blood sugar 2 hours afterwards to understand how that food affected you. Everyone with diabetes will react differently to different foods. Potatoes may spike your blood sugar or just raise it a tiny amount. This is why you need to monitor your blood sugar levels so you understand how food, exercise, stress, and lack of sleep affects your blood sugar.
Download a pdf friendly version of this article right here. Also, let me know in the comment section below what your favorite starchy food is and if you thought milk had any starch in it.