• Autumn Bates, CCN, MS

What Are The Best Non-Starchy Vegetables? [Starchy vs. Non-Starchy Vegetables]

Updated: May 27, 2020

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Starch can be a confusing word, especially because I have heard starch be used synonymously with "carbs". Starches are a form of carbohydrate, but all carbohydrates aren't starches. For example, broccoli contains mostly carbohydrates, but it doesn't contain very much starch.

For my AENpeeps following the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle guidelines and the proper Nutrient Timing, understanding the difference between starchy and non-starchy veggies is essential.

Today, I'm breaking down the difference between starchy and non-starchy vegetables, as well as the best sources of each!

What Is Starch?

Starch, aka "complex carbohydrates", is a series of simple carbohydrates (or sugars) joined together through something called glycosidic bonds. Think of starch as a bunch of sugar molecules strung together on a string. Because these starches are bound together, they require a bit of additional digestion in order to release the simple sugars for the body to use. However, starches do tend to have high amounts of sugars strung together and therefore starch containing foods tend to have higher levels of carbohydrates. Depending on the amount of fiber and water in the starchy vegetable, this can lead to more of a blood glucose and insulin spike.

Although we want to limit the processed starches... you also have to indulge every now and then :)

Is Starch Bad?

Starches aren't inherently bad. However, it can be easy to have excessive amounts of starch, which can work against your goals. I have found that it's not the whole food sources of starch that people tend to eat high amounts of - it's the processed and refined versions. These processed starches, such as wheat based products, are most often stripped of their fiber and water content that helps add satiety to the food. This makes it easy to eat high amounts of starch which can lead to weight gain, blood glucose swings and sugar cravings/the desire to snack.

Which Foods Are High In Starches?

Putting the more obvious foods to the side, such as breads, pastas, crackers and other processed wheat ingredients, you can find plenty of naturally starch containing foods. Some notable starchy foods include beans of all varieties, lentils, squash, yam, sweet potato, corn, peas, parsnips and grains.

The Best Non-Starchy Vegetables

Some of these veggies may contain a small level of starch, but the fiber content is so high that it's negligible. Note: this is not a complete list of ALL non-starchy vegetables, rather a list of the most commonly used ones.

-Artichoke (surprisingly high in fiber too! check out my video on high fiber food HERE)

-Brussels sprouts




-Cabbage (amazing ingredient to boost the satiety of your salad/meal!)




-Leafy greens






-Bok choy



-Green onions

-Herbs (cilantro, parsley, dill, etc)


-Beets (although low in starch, it does generally contain more carbohydrates than many other veggies)


-Snow peas

-Zucchini (this is a veggie that does technically contain a small amount of starch, but relative to the more starchy veggies listed above, it's not very much.)

Final Thoughts: Does this mean you should ONLY use non-starchy veggies? It depends. For some, such as those suffering from epilepsy or those with a very specific weight loss goal, it may be beneficial to focus on mainly consuming non-starchy vegetables. However, it has also been found beneficial to include some starchy carbohydrates if you are an athlete or suffer from cortisol imbalance or anxiety. It's important to take your specific goals and health history into consideration before completely getting rid of a potentially beneficial food item.

You can check out a sneak peek into some specific protocols, such as The Athlete, The Gut Healing Guru and The Hormone Balancing Pro, from the Level Up Guide HERE.

Your Nutritionist,


Autumn Elle Nutrition

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Manhattan Beach, CA



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This content (on www.autumnellenutrition.com and in marketing emails from Autumn Elle Nutrition) is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors, nutritionists and/or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Autumn Elle Nutrition nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.

© 2020 by Autumn Bates, CCN

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