Starchy foods such as potatoes, wholemeal bread, whole grain cereals, brown rice and pasta made from whole wheat form the main component of all three meals every day.
This starch is providing the main energy source for the day's activities and you need to match your intake to your energy needs. People vary considerably in the efficiency of their metabolism, with women tending to have lower energy requirements than men. Hard physical work or exercise also requires a higher energy intake than a sedentary lifestyle. There is no shortcut to determining the right balance for you. Only your experience will tell you how much starchy foods you need eat in order to provide you with your required energy levels throughout the day.
One advantage of obtaining energy from these carbohydrates is that your body's own regulatory systems come back into play - you feel full when you have had enough to eat!
Whole meal flours and whole grain cereals digest more slowly than refined white flours and reduce the surges of sugar entering the bloodstream. The fibre provided by these whole grain products is also essential for a healthy digestive system.
Eating excessive amounts of extra bran can prevent your body absorbing essential calcium, iron, zinc and copper. Wheat fibre can be rough and irritating to the human digestive system. If you eat whole grain cereals and plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, you don't need to add extra fibre to your diet.