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The No Starch Diet Basic Food Guide

NOTE: This list is not a complete or exhaustive list of safe and unsafe foods for the No Starch Diet (NSD). It is intended to give you a starting point for beginning the diet. You will need to customize the diet to suit your personal starch tolerance levels.

Foods To Avoid Generally Safe Foods Fringe Foods. May adversely affect some people

ANY food or beverage that tests positive for starch with the iodine test regardless of what you read as "safe" on this or any other list!

Meat - chicken, beef, lamb, turkey, pork etc


Fish and other seafood

Tofu. Check ingredients for added starch.

Dairy. This is a common problem and many find the need to eliminate or reduce dairy along with starch. Sugar

Almonds and almond flour


ALL grains - wheat, bran, barley, rye, oats, rice, malt, maize, quinoa, buckwheat, spelt, bulgur, couscous, corn, semolina, sorghum, polenta, millet etc

Raw vegetables: salad greens & lettuces, spinach, red & white cabbage, cucumber, onion, shallots, capsicum/bell peppers, celery, spring onion, broccoli, mushrooms, fresh or dried herbs

Onions, asparagus, avocado, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, zucchini, squash, garlic, carrots

Starchy vegetables. Root vegetables, potato, sweet potato, parsnips, yams, taro, cassava radish, beetroot, celeriac, corn, pumpkin, arrowroot, tapioca etc

Cooked vegetables: broccoli, asparagus, onion, shallots, mushrooms, capsicum, celery, red and white cabbage, swiss chard/ silverbeet, collard greens, kale, fresh or dried herbs

Starchy spices. All spices are starchy including black pepper but you may be able to tolerate them in small doses.

Lentils and Pulses. Peas, split peas, beans (eg Baked beans, kidney beans, soy beans, broad beans, butter beans etc), chick peas, dhal etc

Non-starchy fresh and/or dried fruit eg green grapes, melons, lychee, kiwifruit, berries, coconut, raisins, sultanas, dates etc

Starchy nuts - peanuts, cashews, chestnuts, pecans

Non-starchy nuts & seeds - macadamias, walnuts, pine nuts, blanched almonds, sesame seeds

Starchy fruit - bananas, fruit that hasn't been ripened properly eg cold stored fruit

Baked goods made with Coconut flour or Almond flour.
See our Recipe Forum for ideas.

Starchy thickeners in processed foods - any thickener in the 1400 range is a modified starch

Ham, bacon, salami, smoked fish etc. Check ingredients for added starch

Soft cheeses eg brie. The white coating is starchy

Mayonnaise, aioli, balsamic vinaigrette dressings, tamari sauce. Check ingredients for added starch

Pulpy fruit juices, soy sauce

Homemade sauerkraut

Tea, coffee, herbal teas, non-pulpy fruit juice, coconut milk/cream - check ingredients for added starch

It is very helpful if you are just starting out to read Carol Sinclair's book The IBS Low Starch Diet. She has AS and IBS. This book explains the reasoning behind the diet and how and why it works. It also spells out what you can and can't eat in detail and has some recipes to give you ideas.

You can test food for starch using Iodine solution which can be purchased from your local pharmacy or drug store. Do not use color free iodine as it will not work. To test: Put a few drops on the food and wait to see if the iodine changes color from amber to dark brown or black.
If it does then the food is starchy so do not eat it! Also, iodine is poisonous so do not eat that piece of food if it has iodine on it. When it comes to fruit and vegetables there can be differences in starch levels depending on when the fruit or vegetable was picked, how it was stored (eg picked under-ripe and cold stored), where you are in the world, varieties grown etc. So it is best to test with iodine to be sure.

Dairy products are not starchy in themselves, only if starch has been added (example is thickeners added into cottage cheese etc). Some avoid dairy products not because of starch but because the lactose and casein protein (milk protein) often cause problems. They can serve as a secondary food source for the Klebsiella bacteria. Some people find they do not make much progress on the NSD until they eliminate dairy along with starch.