Robb Wolf has mentioned on his blog and podcast that he approves of some sweet potato as a post workout starch to replenish muscle glycogen and such. Since it is a starch, does it have to be cooked thoroughly to gain access to its nutritional content? Does this apply to all starches?
Well there are two questions here really, the starch and the antinutrients that come with it.
Clearly you can eat some starch in oats or whatever and turn it into sugar as soon as you chew it, so that doesn't need any cooking to break it down [Edit: although to be fair even raw oats are normally rather processed].
The more important issue is the various anti-nutrients in the foods, such as the standard lectins etc etc in grains and the resistant starch in potato etc. Unfortunately this will vary from antinutrient to antinutrient and depending on what nutrients you're interested in accessing. A lot of cases would be borderline I'd think. I remember some-one asking on the nutritiondata blogs whether raw sweet potato was fine (and getting an equivocal non-answer), I'd intuit that smaller amounts would be fine, but larger amounts would be problematic (probably being a tonne of stress on the digestive system for one). By extension a lot of foods probably ought to be cooked some optimum time that is quite little, but not too much.
Of course, less cooking will lower GI of the various foods (if that's a good thing), indeed I've even heard that letting cooked potatos cool can have positive effects for this reason, but it'll reduce access to the nutrients as well as the sugar. The jury's still out on fibre in general, so I don't think there's a definitive answer out there atm.
First of all... starches have to be cooked to even eat them... forget 'accessing nutrients'. What starch can you eat raw?
Also, an odd side note, from Dr Kurt Harris...
"Fair warning - eating cooked potatoes later when they are cold can give you gas due to resistant starch formation."
I would never have thought of something like that. That's a bummer too, because even potatoes that have sat around for a while and have become 'cold' or rather room temperature still taste very good to me.
Good to know though :)
[[post workout starch to replenish muscle glycogen and such]]
Hum. One often hears the assertion that this is a necessary thing without necessarily applying skepticism. This is worth a look:
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