What is Modified Food Starch?
Starch is categorized under carbohydrate and is extracted from agricultural raw material. Starch is renewable, biodegradable, and the most important carbohydrate in the human diet. Modified food starch is a food ingredient made from starch. The modification refers to the changes in its chemical composition.
How is Food starch Modified?
There are many different ways how starch can be modified for use in processed foods. It is often treated with different acids like hydrochloric acid or some bases like lye. It’s also treated with peroxide, esters, oxides or salts for modification. Different treatments and ways to modify starch alter the composition of starch differently to meet several needs. Modified starch is a healthy replacement for fats in low-fat foods, it increase the water absorption capacity of defrosted frozen foods to avoid dripping water, and it can be used to thicken liquids and make them viscous.
What is Modified Food Starch Used for?
Modified food starch is used in plenty of food products. Following are a few products that contain modified food starch as an ingredient:
- Makes it easy for the product containing modified food starch to be easily dissolved in water or milk, for instant thickened and gelatinized mixtures in recipes.
- When powdered foods like powdered cheese sauce and gravy are mixed, modified food starch helps reduce the lumpy consistency of the mix.
- In low-fat food products, modified food starch serves as a fat substitute and a healthier food ingredient than fat.
- Also acts as an emulsifier to keep the oils from separating in salad dressings.
- It helps form a thickened, hard coat on some candies like jelly beans.
- Modified food starch increases the shelf life of the food items it is present in as an ingredient.
- It helps thicken soup mixtures.
Is Modified Food Starch Bad for Health?
According to some research and studies being conducted by food scientists for a big chunk of years and decades, modified food starch is found to have some effects on your body that regular starch doesn’t. As people look for sugar replacement and fat free food, they usually opt for food consisting of modified starch. Speaking in terms of toxicology, there isn’t much of a difference between regular and modified starch. But after several experiments carried out to find out the differences, it was noticed that a lot of the animals consuming modified starch in their diet had an alarmingly distinct enlargement in the first part of their large intestine. It was observed that this could be due to small intestine’s failure to properly digest modified food starch, so it is passed undigested to the large intestine and the eventual pile up of modified starch in the large intestine causes the intestine to increase in size and swell up. The undigested modified starch then causes loose stool and diarrhea.
A lot of other studies show that consumption of modified starch leads to an increment in the amount of calcium absorbed by the body. This extra calcium is then stored in body tissues around the large intestine or is excreted out through urine. But even though it is possibly excreted out, the presence of too much calcium in the human boy causes kidney some fatal and irreversible damage with the passage of time.
How to Avoid Modified Food Starch
Modified food starch has proven to be, in more ways, damaging to health than starches in their original form like rice starch, corn starch etc. If you are concerned about your gluten intake and want to avoid food items that contain modified starch, you can check labels for words Gluten Free on food items. Gluten Free food items have undergone tests and are certifiably safe for consumption. The healthier way of doing this is to avoid processed foods and eat more whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and meats without added ingredients.