Potatoes, corn, flour, grain products and legumes all contain starch. Puddings, soups, gravies, pie fillings and some candies also contain starch as an additive for thickening.
Starches are a type of carbohydrate that comprise chains of glucose. Plants use starch as a way of storing glucose, and the human body breaks starch down into its glucose subunits. Potatoes, corn, beans, beets, pumpkins and squash are among the starchiest vegetables. Cereal crops are also high in starch. These include grains, such as rice, oats and quinoa. The starches in peas and beans break down more slowly in the body than other starches.
The food industry often extracts starches from high-yield sources to use as additives in other foods. Starch is an excellent thickener and also adds substance to foods that need shaping. Custard, sauce and salad dressing all benefit from the use of thickening starch. Starch is also an essential additive in most pasta.
Starch-containing foods are of special concern to those living with diabetes. There is debate as to the rule of starch in weight gain and the regulation of blood glucose levels. However, most experts agree that diabetics should stick to whole grains rather than white flour products when consuming starch. Nutritionists also suggest dried beans, squashes and potatoes as excellent choices for starchy vegetables in a diabetic diet.