I've been putting roasted pumpkin into my smoothies for months now, but lately I've been craving bananas like nobody's business... this got me thinking about the issue of sugars vs starches. In regards to body composition: does carb type matter if you're staying within the same carb range?
Lots of: urban hiking, cycling, sprinting
Lots of: fresh meat, seafood, eggs, organs, tubers, starch fruits, vegetables, meat fat, dairy fat, oil fruits
Some: cured meat, dairy protein, sweet fruits, rice, pulses, tree nuts, oil seeds
Minimal: soy, refined proteins, sugar, liquid carbohydrate, grains, refined oils, peanuts
A pumpkin smoothie sounds like a good idea right now.
Most squash and related, pumpkins et. all, are sugar. Many people seem to think they are starches because they don't really taste particularly sweet like a lot of fruit does, but don't let that fool you!
And yes, starch and sugar have completely different metabolic pathways into your body, each with their own associated benefits and detriments. Sugar is, for example, processed mostly in the liver and its impact on insulin levels is relatively low as a result. It can easily be stored as liver glycogen but not so easily as muscle glycogen. So if you're trying to refill muscle glycogen after an intense workout sugar might not be the best choice. Sugar is more readily converted to fats in the body, however as you know, it is easy for your body to access these stored fats as energy in the right situations (fasting, low impact, slow moving activities, ect.).
Starch comes from things like pasta, rice, tapioca, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and a few select fruits like plantains (you must cook plantains as a result), ect. The body must use insulin to process starch into sugars that the body can use. Therefore starch has a more significant impact on blood sugar and insulin levels. Starch is more easily stored as stores of glycogen in muscles. It can also be stored as liver glycogen pretty easily. If you have insulin issues it will be harder for your body to handle starch than sugar, although neither would be particularly recommended to be given to a diabetic.
Some say starch, because it leads to spikes of insulin, trigger fat storage in the body quite easily. Others say that sugar (well, fructose mainly), because it must be processed directly by the liver, is more likely to lead to fat gain because that's what happens to a lot of it once our liver glycogen stores are full and can't store any more.
Now, I'm not trying to raise any alarms against carb consumption. I mean, if you're active and want to eat carbs, have a healthy metabolism, ect., then eat your damn carbs!
But yes, the type of carbs consumed, because they travel different metabolic pathways, have different effects on blood sugar and insulin levels, and of course, come from different foods with different nutritional profiles (say a piece of fruit vs. a sweet potato) all adds up to a different effect on your body, it's composition, your health, and nutrition.