Because no single way of eating works for everybody.
Doing completely without starch doesn’t work for me right now.
Years ago I did the Atkins Diet, and pretty much cut all starch out of my diet. I lost weight; but I find that since then, I need a bit of starch in my diet, or my digestion gets very upset.
So I’ve been wondering whether that starch ought to be more heavily weighted toward grains – not the Wheat That Hates Me, of course, but other grains – or toward potatoes.
In my research on this topic, I found the Wikipedia article on potatoes. It includes a chart comparing potatoes to other stables – grains and legumes eaten commonly throughout the world. But it cautions that the analysis on the chart is for the foods in their uncooked state; and that the way you cook them can alter their nutritional content. So, since none of these foods can be eaten raw, it’s not what you’d call a wonderful magnificent unqualified success as a resource.
So next, I began looking at antinutrients – things in food that impede the absorption or use of nutrients by the human body. Looking at this forum conversation on eating potato skins and this article on eating whole grains, I ran across the dilemma of phytic acid. Grains are apparently full of phytic acid, and so are potato skins. Phytic acid is an anti-nutrient, says the whole-grain article, and sprouting or semi-fermenting your grains is the only way to get rid of it. But two of the posters in the potato-skin discussion say that phytic acid has actually been found to fight some kinds of cancer, and it’s not an anti-nutrient after all.
This being just the tip of the iceberg, I read further. These articles, and more research, led me to the fact that while humans can’t live on grains with very little animal protein, they can survive and do reasonably well on a diet of potatoes, if they also have some butter and milk.
(Milk. Bad for you. Probably. Um.)
So, maybe potatoes are more nutritious. And it sounds like they don’t have as much phytic acid… which may be good or bad. Do they contain lectins? Ought I to go and check this? If so, will I find that lectins are universally considered Bad For Human? Or will I discover studies showing that lectins prevent psoriasis, cirrhosis, canker sores and demonic possession, and that we should all be eating more of them?
At this point in my researches I took a deep breath, and forgot all this stuff.
Instead, I thought about how I feel after eating potatoes.
Then, I thought about how I feel after I’ve eaten grains.
And I made a decision. Potatoes win. Not on the basis of this study or that claim, but because grains make me feel more weighed-down and stodgy and sleepy, whereas potatoes just make me feel like I’ve eaten some food.
My lesson of the day: when all else fails in making food choices, I’ve got to listen to my body. It’s the one doing the work here, so it ought to know.