Starch Molecule

Image Caption : Most carbohydrate is consumed as starch. Starch is the stored form of glucose in plants. Long, polysaccharide chains of glucose molecules are packed together in the cells of grains (wheat, rice), tubers and root crops (potatoes, yams), and legumes (beans, peas). As we digest these foods, the glucose within their cellular structures is broken down and metabolized. Plant-based foods are the only sources of starch, though it is also available in processed foods that use isolated starch as a thickening or stabilizing agent.

In this model, carbon atoms are dark gray, hydrogen atoms are white, and oxygen atoms are red.


Starch is the most common carbohydrate in our diet. Because it’s made from longer strands of sugar molecules bonded together, starch is sometimes called a “complex sugar” or “complex carbohydrate.” Rice, potatoes, and corn (maize) are all starches. Wheat, the main ingredient in breads and pasta, is also a starch.

Any of a group of polysaccharides of the general formula (C6-H10-O5)n, composed of a long-chain polymer of glucose in the form of amylose and amylopectin. It is the chief storage form of energy reserve (carbohydrates) in plants.

National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine


Also called: Carbs

Carbohydrates are one of the main types of nutrients. They are the most important source of energy for your body. Your digestive system changes carbohydrates into glucose (blood sugar). Your body uses this sugar for energy for your cells, tissues and organs. It stores any extra sugar in your liver and muscles for when it is needed.

Carbohydrates are called simple or complex, depending on their chemical structure. Simple carbohydrates include sugars found naturally in foods such as fruits, vegetables, milk, and milk products. They also include sugars added during food processing and refining. Complex carbohydrates include whole grain breads and cereals, starchy vegetables and legumes. Many of the complex carbohydrates are good sources of fiber.

For a healthy diet, limit the amount of added sugar that you eat and choose whole grains over refined grains.

The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.