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Is Arrowroot Powder Bad For You?

Also Known As: Arrowroot starch



Short answer

Arrowroot powder is a starchy substance with several potential health benefits. It is gluten-free, hypoallergenic, and easily digestible, making it a suitable thickener for those with food sensitivities. It's low in protein and high in carbs, providing minimal essential nutrients. However, it includes some fiber, potassium, and vitamins. Arrowroot has a low glycemic index and is considered beneficial for gut health due to its fiber content and prebiotic effects. It should be consumed in moderation, especially by those managing blood sugar levels or caloric intake.



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Long answer

Nutritional Profile of Arrowroot Powder

When considering whether arrowroot powder is beneficial or harmful to our health, understanding its nutritional makeup is essential. Arrowroot powder, derived from the rhizomes of the arrowroot plant, is a starchy substance commonly used as a thickening agent in cooking. Let's break down its nutritional content:

  • Carbohydrates: Arrowroot is primarily composed of carbohydrates, with a 100-gram serving providing approximately 88 grams. These are mostly in the form of starches, which are complex carbohydrates that the body breaks down into sugars.
  • Protein: It contains a minimal amount of protein, around 0.3 grams per 100-gram serving, which is not significant for meeting dietary protein requirements.
  • Fiber: There's a relatively small amount of dietary fiber in arrowroot powder, about 3.4 grams per 100 grams. Dietary fiber is crucial for maintaining digestive health.
  • Vitamins: Arrowroot contains nominal amounts of B-vitamins, particularly B6 and B3 (Niacin), which are vital for energy metabolism and brain function. However, the quantity is not sufficient to contribute significantly to the recommended daily intake.
  • Minerals: It offers some minerals including potassium, iron, and small amounts of calcium and magnesium. Potassium is important for maintaining normal heart rhythm and muscle function, while iron is integral for blood production.
  • Calories: A 100-gram serving of arrowroot powder yields around 357 calories, most of which come from the carbohydrates present.

While arrowroot powder does contribute some nutritional value, its main role in the diet is as a gluten-free thickener rather than as a significant source of vitamins or minerals. Importantly, for those with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, arrowroot powder is a safe alternative to wheat flour.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, arrowroot powder has been found to have a high digestibility score. This implies it is easily digested and absorbed by the body, which is beneficial for individuals with gastrointestinal issues.

Moreover, because of its minimal protein and fat content, arrowroot is considered hypoallergenic, making it a suitable ingredient for those with various food allergies and dietary restrictions. Nonetheless, it's crucial to consume this high-carb powder in moderation, particularly if you have concerns about blood sugar regulation or are monitoring your calorie intake for weight management.

In summary, arrowroot powder's nutritional profile indicates that while it offers some benefits, especially as a safe starch for individuals with dietary sensitivities, it is not a nutritionally dense food. As with many ingredients, the key lies in its application and the context of the overall diet.

Allergenic Potential and Digestibility of Arrowroot

Arrowroot powder, derived from the rhizomes of the Maranta arundinacea plant, is commonly used as a starch thickener in cooking. It is lauded for its hypoallergenic properties and is often recommended as a more digestible alternative to wheat flour or cornstarch for individuals with dietary sensitivities.

Concerning its allergenic potential, arrowroot is relatively rare as an allergen. It is naturally gluten-free, making it a suitable flour substitute for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. It lacks the proteins found in wheat, barley, and rye, which are the primary triggers for gluten-related disorders. This is significant because, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation, celiac disease affects 1 in 100 individuals globally. Furthermore, as gluten intolerance becomes increasingly diagnosed, the need for safe alternatives like arrowroot becomes more critical.

Numerous studies and expert opinions emphasize the importance of gluten-free options. For instance, a 2017 review in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology highlights the relevance of identifying non-allergenic food options for those with food sensitivities. Arrowroot's lack of common allergens positions it as an invaluable resource for many.

Another aspect of arrowroot that bodes well for its digestibility is its high amylopectin content, a type of digestible starch which allows for easy digestion. The starchy product is believed to possess a higher digestibility score compared to many other tubers and starches, making it a good option for people with digestive issues. The high digestibility of arrowroot can be linked to its minimal lipid content, which has a sparing effect on the digestive system.

However, while arrowroot is suitable for many, it is not without exceptions. Always consult with a healthcare provider before introducing a new food into your diet to rule out any potential for allergy or intolerance. As the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology advises, signs of possible food allergies include hives, itching, or gastrointestinal distress after consuming certain foods. If these symptoms occur, it's crucial to seek professional advice.

In summary, arrowroot powder is a versatile and digestible starch with minimal allergenic potential. It can be easily included in the diets of those who are avoiding common allergens like gluten. Nevertheless, individual responses to arrowroot may vary, and monitoring for any adverse effects is essential for those trying it for the first time.

Possible Benefits of Arrowroot in Gut Health

Arrowroot powder is derived from the rhizomes of the arrowroot plant, Maranta arundinacea. Its benign nature and potential health benefits have made it a popular substitute for traditional thickeners. When addressing its impact on gut health, there's a need to explore it from several angles, including its starch composition, prebiotic effects, and its easy digestibility.

Firstly, the starch content in arrowroot is predominantly in the form of amylopectin and amylose, two types of carbohydrates. These complex carbs can sometimes be a better alternative to simple sugars that are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Complex carbs such as arrowroot tend to be broken down and absorbed more slowly, which can create less of a spike in blood insulin levels and provide a more sustained form of energy.

Secondly, arrowroot contains significant amounts of resistant starches. Resistant starch is categorized as a type of prebiotic, a dietary fiber that feeds the friendly bacteria in the gut. According to a study published in the 'American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,' resistant starch can have positive effects on the health of the microbiome—the vast community of microorganisms within our digestive system.

By promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria and inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria, resistant starches can contribute to the maintenance of a healthy digestive tract. This is crucial because an imbalance in the gut microbiota, known as dysbiosis, has been linked to a range of health issues including digestive disorders, immune system problems, and even mood disturbances.

Furthermore, research indicates that the fermentation of resistant starch in the large intestine produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) like butyrate, which have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties and may maintain gut barrier integrity. This is an important function, as a compromised gut barrier is associated with conditions like leaky gut syndrome and certain inflammatory bowel diseases.

Moreover, arrowroot is often well-tolerated and considered gentle on the digestive system, making it a suitable option for people with dietary sensitivities or those recovering from stomach distress. It is gluten-free and grain-free, which means it can be a safe alternative for those with celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, or grain allergies/intolerances.

However, while there are promising aspects of arrowroot for gut health, it is important to remember that the benefits can vary from person to person. Individuals with specific health concerns should consult a healthcare professional before making significant changes to their diet.

In conclusion, while keeping focus on the gut health benefits, it is evident that arrowroot powder has potential due to its resistant starch content, prebiotic effects, and digestibility. It could play a supporting role in maintaining a healthy and balanced digestive system when included as part of a varied and balanced diet.

Comparing Arrowroot and Cornstarch: Health Implications

Arrowroot powder and cornstarch are both popular thickening agents used in cooking and baking. Understanding the differences in their nutritive values and health implications is crucial for those aiming to make informed dietary choices.

Origin and Processing

Arrowroot powder is derived from the rhizomes of the Maranta arundinacea plant. It's a naturally gluten-free substance processed through simple methods, usually involving rinsing, peeling, and drying, to separate the starch from the fibrous component. This relatively simple processing helps retain most nutrients.

On the other hand, cornstarch is procured from the endosperm of corn kernels. The process involves milling and is usually more chemically intensive, including steps that may diminish its nutritional content. Cornstarch is also often made from genetically modified corn, which can be a concern for some consumers.

Nutritional Profile Comparison

Both arrowroot powder and cornstarch are high in carbohydrates and calories but low in essential nutrients. However, arrowroot contains modest amounts of fiber, potassium, and other minerals, which are lacking in cornstarch. Below is a comparative nutritional breakdown per 100 grams:

Nutrient Arrowroot Powder Cornstarch
Calories 357 381
Carbohydrates 88g 91g
Fiber 3.4g 0.9g
Protein 0.3g 0.3g
Fats 0.1g 0.1g
Potassium 11mg 2mg

Glycemic Index (GI)

Arrowroot has a lower glycemic index compared to cornstarch, meaning it is digested more slowly and causes a more gradual rise in blood glucose levels. This makes it a potentially better option for individuals managing blood sugar levels.

Digestibility and Allergic Reactions

Arrowroot is considered easy to digest and is often used in foods for individuals with dietary sensitivities or digestive issues. It is also less likely to cause allergic reactions compared to cornstarch, which can be an allergen for some people.

Impact on Gut Health

Given that arrowroot contains a higher fiber content, it can support digestive health better than cornstarch. Fiber is known to promote bowel regularity and feed beneficial gut bacteria, contributing to a healthy gut microbiome.

Culinary Uses and Impact on Food Texture

While both thickeners create a glossy finish, arrowroot tends to thicken at a lower temperature and creates a more delicate texture. It can break down under prolonged cooking or at high temperatures, while cornstarch is more heat-stable but can create a more opaque and starchy texture.

When we assess the health implications of using arrowroot powder versus cornstarch, we must consider individual dietary needs, potential allergies, and overall diet composition. While not dramatically differing nutritionally, these details can guide one to choose between the two for specific health goals and cooking applications.

Frequently asked questions

Arrowroot powder contains resistant starch, which functions as a prebiotic. By feeding the healthy bacteria in the gut, it can contribute to improved bowel regularity and overall digestive health, fostering a balanced gut microbiome and potentially reducing inflammation.

Arrowroot powder offers some minerals like potassium and iron, but in small amounts that are not sufficient to significantly contribute to daily dietary requirements. It should not be relied upon as a primary source of vitamins or minerals but rather as part of a balanced diet.

Arrowroot powder has a lower glycemic index compared to thickeners like cornstarch, meaning it's digested more slowly and causes a more gradual rise in blood sugar levels. This can make it a preferable option for individuals with diabetes or those trying to manage their blood sugar levels.

While arrowroot powder is high in carbohydrates and calories, its fiber content and lower glycemic index may provide satiety and a slower energy release. However, due to its caloric density, portion control is important when using arrowroot powder in a weight management plan.

Ask a question about Arrowroot Powder and our team will publish the answer as soon as possible.

Ingredients to be aware of


  • gluten-free
  • high digestibility
  • hypoallergenic
  • prebiotic effects
  • resistant starch content
  • low glycemic index

Healthier alternatives

  • cornstarch
  • other gluten-free thickeners

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Anthony's Arrowroot Flour

  • USDA Organic Certified
  • Batch Tested Gluten-Free
  • Non-GMO
  • Vegan Friendly
  • Thickening Agent
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-19-2024

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Diane Saleem
Published on: 01-19-2024

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