Flour & Starch
What are starch products? The different uses of starch
Starch products are made of starch, a carbohydrate that is converted to glucose in the human body. You find starch in particular in cereal products and potatoes. Does potato starch contain gluten? No, potatoes are by themselves gluten free.
Heating products with starch too high is not wise, because a harmful substance called acrylamide can be formed. This can already happen at a temperature above 120 degrees Celsius. Starch is also a carbohydrate.
Where is starch commonly found?
Starch products include tuberous plants, especially the potato. You will also find much starch in legumes (e.g. green beans, broad beans), in cereals like rice, corn, wheat and products made from cereals, such as pasta and bread. Starch is also used as a binding agent and is often found in processed foods such as biscuits, margarine, pasta, dairy products and snacks.
What kinds of starch are there?
Starch concentrate can be extracted from various products. The Vehgro concentrates are considered to be natural sources of starch. Starch is used in sauces and soups, among other things.
Some producers modify their starch. Modified starch is approved by the food safety authority of the European Union. You can find it on labels under the numbers E1404 to E1452. Starch is an energy source.
Starch and babies
Starch is not good for everyone: it appears that babies up to the age of four months are not yet able to digest starch. Children of 6 months and older, on the other hand, need more starch than is naturally present in breast milk.
Maize starch is gluten free
By nature, maize starch is gluten-free. This also applies to the starch in potatoes. A product is usually not 100% gluten-free: there are safety standards that indicate how much gluten a product may contain to qualify for the term gluten-free. This means that these products only contain a very small amount of gluten, too little to cause any damage in the case of a gluten allergy. The starch from maize and potatoes can simply be eaten.
Gluten intolerance is also referred to with the not so elegant name 'celiac disease'. In Europe, the legislation on starch is quite strict. Since 2000, the manufacturer of a product is obliged to indicate on the label whether the starch comes from a grain that contains gluten.
Non-gluten containing grains such as rice and corn contain starch, but in this starch is no harmful amount of gluten (20 mg per kilo or less).
Gluten free wheat starch: what is that?
Starch products like gluten free wheat starch are also suitable for people with a gluten allergy. The gluten in wheat starch is removed as far as possible by washing. Gluten-free wheat starch contains around 5-20 mg of gluten per kilogram: a safe dose.
The following binders contain no gluten: maize starch (also called cornstarch), potato starch, tapioca (from cassava), arroroot, locust bean gum (E410), sago, pectin, xanthan gum (E415) and guar gum (E412). Carragan and agaragar are also free from gluten.