Food Starch Modified
A modified food starch is a complex carbohydrate that has been chemically altered to change some of its qualities. These would include texture, the ease with which the starch dissolves and/or how readily the starch can be digested. Modified food starches are used in processed foods as thickeners; formulation aids to help maintain desired consistency or texture; anti-caking agents to help keep powdered foods free-flowing; or humectants, which absorb and maintain a food's water content. Typical foods that contain modified starches include sauces, pie fillings and gravies. Modified food starches are usually synthesized from a naturally occurring food starch and are not considered a health risk. Those sensitive to gluten, however, should avoid foods containing modified food starches unless specifically labeled as "gluten free," as it may have originally come from wheat or another gluten containing grain. Starch and modified starches sometimes replace large percentages of more nutritious ingredients, such as fruit. Choose baby foods without added starches (starch-thickened baby foods have contained as little as 25 percent as much of the fruit ingredients as 100-percent-fruit baby foods). One small study suggested that modified starches can promote diarrhea in infants.