Is Starch A Sugar? Get Your Answer Here

Typically, sugars and starches are two forms of carbohydrates found in food. They usually are made of molecules of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen which organize themselves in an easy ratio of CH2O similar to glucose.

So, does this make starch a sugar? No, it isn’t.

Starch is categorized as a complex carbohydrate. That’s because it contains numerous sugar molecules put together. And this doesn’t make it sugar.

Well, if you have ever been confused about that, you will gain clarity in this article. You will also learn about what differentiates starch from sugar.

What is starch?

Starch is a complex carbohydrate present in foods such as grains, vegetables, and fruits. Specifically, the major sources of starch are maize, tapioca, wheat, and potatoes.

When pure starch is extracted from food products, it produces a white, tasteless, and odorless powder that does not melt in alcohol or cold water.

Starchy foods are an essential part of a balanced diet. That’s because they provide your body with energy and fiber and give you a sense of fullness.

The body breaks down starch molecules into glucose, which is the basic source of energy for the body.

For most individuals, it is safe to consume starchy foods, as it presents no threats or side effects. However, if you have been diagnosed with diabetes or CSID, you should carefully consider your starch consumption.

Also, starch is a natural polysaccharide. Therefore, it comprises one type of molecule known as glucose molecules. However, this molecule can occur in two forms. They are – amylose and amylopectin.

What is sugar?

Sugar is a disaccharide; that is, it is made up of two simple sugars (glucose and fructose). It makes up the simplest group of carbohydrates. These sugars are typically made and stored in the sap of all green plants.

The sugar in the food supply is cultivated from sugar beets and sugar cane. Sugar is present in all foods with carbohydrates in them, such as fruit, grains, dairy, and vegetables.

It is used in many sweet, colorless, water-soluble compounds found in the milk of mammals.

Sugar occurs as monosaccharides (glucose, fructose, and galactose) and disaccharides (sucrose and lactose).

Sucrose (a combination of fructose and glucose) is a crystalline tabletop and industrial sweetener utilized in foods and beverages. Lactose, on other hand, is made up of glucose and galactose.

Is starch a sugar?

No, starch is not sugar. Starch is polymerized sugar. That is, it is broken down and used as sugar. However, that doesn’t make starch sugar.

Sugar and starch are two different types of carbohydrates present in plants and animals. However, they have similar chemical compositions (carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen).

While sugars are present as disaccharides or monosaccharides, starch is a polysaccharide.

What is the difference between starch and sugar?

Asides from starch being a polysaccharide and sugar being either a monosaccharide or a disaccharide, starch can be further absorbed into simple sugars, unlike the monosaccharide type of sugar.

The other things that differentiate starch from sugar are:

  • As regards the number of monomers, in sugar, monosaccharides comprise a single monomer, and disaccharides are made up of two monomers. In contrast to that, starch comprises 300 to 1,000 glucose molecules.
  • Sugars are less complex than starch.
  • In addition, sugars are quickly absorbed by the digestive tract of organisms, whereas starch is slowly absorbed.
  • Sugars increase blood glucose levels quickly, but the reverse is the case for starch. Starch does not have a high impact on blood glucose.
  • Starch is made up of long chains of sugar molecules held together by glycosidic bonds. On the other hand, sugar can be made up of either one or two simple sugar molecules linked together by a glycosidic bond.
  • The two types of starch are amylose and glycogen, while the two types of sugars are monosaccharides and disaccharides.
  • Polymerization (the bonding together) of simple sugars (glucose) forms starch.
  • Starch is a form of energy storage while sugar is the direct source of energy.
  • Starch is not as sweet as sugar.
  • Sugar has a single or no glycosidic bond. On the other hand, starch has many glycosidic bonds.

What kind of carbs are sugar and starch?

Carbohydrates are generally categorized into two different types; sugars and starch.

Foods such as bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, and breakfast cereals are classified as starchy carbohydrates. Meanwhile, sugar is glucose that naturally occurs in fruit and milk.

Also, added sugars used in cakes and biscuits as well as table sugar, are classified as sugar carbohydrates.

These two types of carbohydrates turn into glucose in your body when you eat them, notwithstanding if it’s in the form of a slice of bread or a plate of rice.

Is tapioca starch a sugar?

No, it isn’t. Tapioca starch is extracted from the cassava root, which makes it a starchy carb.

It consists of almost pure carbs and has only a little protein content, a little fiber, and a little number of other nutrients.

Is potato starch a sugar?

No, it isn’t. Traditional white potatoes are not a sweet or sugary food. But, potatoes are made up of long strings of glucose like glucose.

Since the starch in potatoes digests immediately, the glycemic index of potatoes can virtually be as high as that of glucose alone.

Is maize starch a sugar?

No, it is not. Maize starch is made by grating dry corn and soaking it in water. After the starch dissolves into the water, it leaves all the rough bits of corn behind.

After the water is dried out, what is left is a fine white powder called maize starch, or corn starch.

Is modified food starch a sugar?

Honestly, this question has no direct answer. Starch is modified in several ways for use in processed foods.

It could be treated with several acids such as hydrochloric acid or many different bases such as lye, bleaching agents such as peroxide, esters, oxides, or salts.

Each of these various treatments modifies the starch in different ways to give it unique properties.

This starch can be used as a thickener, a substitute for fat in low-fat foods, as a binder for baked goods, and to keep defrosted frozen foods from becoming too moist.

Regardless of the type of treatment, modified starch is not sugar.


Is starch a reducing sugar?

No, it is not. Starch is a non-reducing sugar because it does not contain reducing groups like keto or aldehyde groups.

Is sugar bad for you?

Yes, too much sugar can be one of the biggest threats to blood sugar and heart health. Overconsumption of sugar can cause higher blood pressure, fatty liver disease, inflammation, weight gain, and diabetes.

These are all linked to an increased risk of heart attack and even stroke.

Is starch bad for you?

No, starch is not bad for you. Starchy foods are rich sources of energy, fiber, calcium, iron, and vitamin B.

You may think starchy foods are fattening, but in a gram-for-gram comparison, they contain fewer than half the calories of fat.

However, diets high in refined starches have been linked to a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, and weight gain. So, to be safe, consume these foods in moderation.


Sugar and starch are both carbs. Sugars can be monosaccharides or disaccharides while starch is a polysaccharide.

Monosaccharides and disaccharides are water-soluble; that is, they can dissolve in water. This is why they are sweet. Sweet carbohydrates are sugars.

On the other hand, starch is a polysaccharide comprised of a large number of glucose monomers joined together.

Thank you for reading.

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