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Thread: Questions on pumpkin/starchy vegetables page

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    jk19's Avatar
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    Questions on pumpkin/starchy vegetables

    Primal Fuel
    I've been pretty much on a primal diet for several months and I've been a lurker on the forums for a while. It seems like a number of foods have been updated and hover between acceptable but not necessarily great for you (nuts - generally too much Omega 6 except for Macadamian nuts, or dairy as an example) or changed from "thumb's up" to "don't advise" (such as flax seed).

    With that in mind, my question is whether or not a starchy vegetable like pumpkin (or variant such as a kabocha) is better than eating a banana (with the same caloric intake). With the pumpkin, I believe I get superior nutrition over the banana, but I also intake what is considered a starchy vegetable, whereas with a banana, I also get a decent amount of nutritional benefits, but also have to deal with the sugar (which I prefer to avoid - I understand pumpkin has some sugar, but far less than a banana). But it's hard for me to locate whether the starch in a pumpkin really is bad for you, and if so, how bad in comparison (pumpkin was listed as a super food, but then so was flax seed). Is there any information to help determine why or what starchy vegetables are "acceptable" vs. generally frowned upon, besides the common discussion of potatoes & sweet potatoes/yams (I'm guessing the primary reason sweet potatoes and yams benefit over potatoes is their nutritional benefits as well)? Furthermore, since a pumpkin can be eaten raw, does this mean as a starchy vegetable it is acceptable vs. a potato (which eaten raw has detrimental effects), hence not really "primal/paleo"?

    Thanks!

    PS: As a secondary question, how bad is starch really for you when it comes from a natural food (vegetables)? I didn't see any primer on starches, but I'd love to see one.

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    kimmie is offline Senior Member
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    Interested to see the response. I eat 4 oz of pumkin daily in my morning protein shake. It's helped my *ahem* regularity and I haven't noticed any negative side effets from eating it. Since it contains a good amount of fiber, I don't really consider it to be very high carb. Bananas make me ravenous after eating and don't fill me up at all so I skip them entirely.

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    erik.cisler's Avatar
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    Starchy vegetables are fine for the insulin-sensitive. I eat sweet potatoes, yams, squash, and even the occasional white potato just about every day. Some people have autoimmune/leaky gut problems from white potatoes, but not everyone.

    I'd go for the starch over the banana.

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    Diana Renata's Avatar
    Diana Renata is online now Senior Member
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    I love squashes, including pumpkin, when they're in season. Not a big fan of the canned stuff, unless it's for baking.

    It really just depends on what your goals in and where the foods fit in to your plan. I just track on fitday and try to keep my ratios reasonable. If that means some pumpkin or a banana, why not? As long as it fits into the plan. I certianly don't eat them every day, but they're nice from time to time. I go by flavor- sweet flavors like bananas and sweet potatoes are more of a treat than pumpkins and other squashes, which I'll eat more regularly.

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    jk19's Avatar
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    Thanks for the answers. I guess one of my main concerns is how bad starch is for you, as I make it a daily habit to consume a small amount of pumpkin each day.

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    ZoŽ's Avatar
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    Personally I think there is nothing wrong with it unless you are consuming more than 100g of starch/day. I eat about 40-50g/day in the form of tubers, but I am also in the pro-tuber camp that believes that amalyase and glycogen storage are evolutionary adaptions to starch consumption in our evolutionary history (chimps do not have either ability). Even though I am probably insulin resistant, I find sweet potatoes with TONS of butter fill me up and keep me satisfied whereas if I ate even a little banana I would be starving in an hour. I'm loosing weight pretty fast with them, too.

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    I've read somewhere that when humans did chose to eat carbs, it was often in the form of starch from tubers and roots. I personally think it's better than sugar (no fructose to worry about).

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    We're the only primates with amylase in our saliva and our primate anscwstors have probably been eating starchy vegetables for a million years (according to Food and Western Disease). The kitavans have a diet high in starch ( but no grains, milk, or legumes) and they are slender with average daily energy expenditure of 1.7 BMR. It's not the carbs, it's the grains and legumes and processed food and industrial food that leave is fat and diseased. Unless you have insulin resistance there is no compelling health reason to avoid all starchy vegetables, just the Neolithic ones.

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    MalPaz's Avatar
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    i have a feeling wen grok ate vegetation he surely went for starchy tubers an root vgetables over leafy greens...think about the cost/benefit gok needed to get over a mtn by sundown & needed energy....roots were eaten over collard greens

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    He was worried about getting enough food to stay alive. We're worried about living as healthily and vitally as possible. That which helps avoid starvation in the absence of a large mammoth carcass isn't necessarily what is best for the vitality and longevity of the organism.
    Stabbing conventional wisdom in its face.

    Anyone who wants to talk nutrition should PM me!

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