How to Test for Starch: Lesson for Kids

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  • 0:05 What is Starch?
  • 1:13 Time to Experiment
  • 2:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rachel Torrens

Rachel is a Nurse Practitioner with experience working as a high school teacher, skin surgery center, and as a family NP.

How do you know what's in certain foods, especially if they don't have a nutrition label? In this lesson, learn a simple, but effective experiment that will allow you to know if a certain food contains starch.

What Is Starch?

What's your top three favorite snacks? Go ahead, think about it. Well, if potato chips, rice cakes, or anything made with grain is on the list, then you enjoy chewing on snacks with starch. Let's explore what makes a particular food starchy.

As you may know, plants use water and sunlight to make sugar. This sugar acts like food, providing the plant with energy to grow big and strong. But sometimes plants make a lot of sugar, and they can't use it all.

When plants have too much sugar to use immediately, they put it away for storage. How? The plant clicks the sugars together to make a long chain of sugars, and this is known as starch. Sometimes, the starches in a plant look like a whitish goo. For example, if you cut a potato in half and let it sit on the counter for a couple minutes, you'll see a white liquid oozing from it. The same is true if you cut corn off the cob. This whitish substance is the starches leaking out! So, what foods contain starch?

  • potatoes
  • corn
  • rice
  • beans
  • wheat, which is ground into flour to make breads, cereals and pastas

Time to Experiment!

Believe it or not, there is a rather simple experiment to determine if a food contains starch. The experiment, known as the iodine test for starch, uses iodine to detect the presence of starch in a food.

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