Ask an expert

23 Feb 2004

I was told that eating starch or carbs is what makes me put on weight, its NOT sugar. What is the difference between carbs and starch. What is oats, oat bran, potato, pasta, yoghurt and fruit, carbs or starch why will my body react to this and not sugar?
Answer 387 views

01 Jan 0001

Dear Martin
It is unfortunate that there is so much confusion about the terminology used to describe this class of nutrients. Carbohydrates are a family of nutrients made up of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. This broad classification is divided into starches (oats, oat bran, potatoes, pasta, cereals and bread) and sugars (glucose, sucrose or table sugar, lactose which is found in milk and fructose which is found in fruits and fruit juices). If you tend to put on weight when you eat carbohydrates (which includes all starches and sugars, including table sugar), then you may be insulin resistant and will have to eat a diet based on foods with a low glycaemic index (GI). This means you can eat carbohydrates but only those with a low GI. As this is quite a tricky diet to apply, I would suggest that you consult a clinical dietitian (check the List of Dietitians on this Website or phone 082-593-0276 or send an e-mail to or look in your local telephone directory or Yellow Pages, to find a dietitian in your area).
Best regards
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.