Why do we need to use starch-based ingredients to make food?
Starch based ingredients have many useful properties which make them indispensable to make the everyday food we love and enjoy.
Native and modified starches are good at thickening and absorbing water of other cooking liquids. This is why they are useful in dishes in which ingredients need to be bound or the texture thickened, such as soups, sauces and baked goods.
Starch is also used as a basis to produce alternatives to table sugar, which are called glucose-fructose or fructose-glucose syrups. These syrups have a similar chemical composition to table sugar and an almost identical taste. The advantage of syrups is that they come in a liquid form, unlike table sugar, which is crystallised, so they are easier to blend with other ingredients in creams, ice creams, drinks and other liquid or semi-liquid foods.
Starch is also used as a base to produce sugar-free sweeteners called polyols. These sweeteners have lower calories than sugar and are necessary to make low-calorie marmalades, jams or chewing gums, for example.