Starch that is used in foods is a carbohydrate just like sugar is. Milk already contains a sugar called lactose. Starch is unique because it does not make foods sweeter. Rather, it makes it thicker and often takes longer to release energy. Generally it is odorless and tasteless so that it does not add extra sweetness to a food.
It is not so much as starch being seen as the digestive enemy. Rather, it is the quantity of starch. Why? When a baby is born, their digestive system is still developing. Babies don’t start on cow’s milk until they are at least one year old because it is too difficult to digest. Breast milk and baby formula is broken down so that it is easier to digest. Starchy foods such as grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables are not broken down enough for their delicate digestive system.
Amylase is part of the reason. Amylase is an enzyme that helps the body break down starches. In the first few months, a baby is developing amylase in the salivary glands. It’s not much, but it helps break down some of the starches by the time they start rice cereal. As your baby gets older, their pancreas is able to produce more amylase to break down starches in the small intestines. This is part of the reason why solid foods are not recommended until a baby is about six months of age. If you start starches too soon or start with too much starch, it can upset the balance in the gut and turn into diarrhea.
Maltodextrin is a modified starch. That means that it is easier for babies to digest because the glucose chains that make up the carbohydrate are shorter. It thickens baby formula, allows for the energy to be released at a slower rate than other carbs, and it balances the sweetness of the lactose, or milk sugar.
Holle and Lebenswert use maltodextrin in their baby formulas so that they do not have to add extra sweetness to their baby milk. The balance is important because all baby formula must meet the legal requirement for energy level. These baby formula companies use maltodextrin for energy, the right amount of sweetness, and a satisfying feeling after feedings.
When it comes to Hipp, Holle, and Lebenswert, there is no starch in Stage PRE.
Hipp UK and Hipp Dutch also do not have any starch at any of their stages. Hipp Germany contains starch.
Holle does not have starch in Stage 1, and it contains maltodextrin in stages 1 through 3. The same is true for their goat milk version of organic formula.
Lebenswert does not have starch in their ingredients for Stages 1 and 2. It also contains lactose and not maltodextrin in Stage 1. The other stages contain maltodextrin and starch.