Resistant Starch, How Can You Resist?
Updated: Dec 12, 2019
Resistant starch is beneficial to us in many ways, especially weight management and gut health. But what is it and how do we get it into our diet?
I learned about resistant starch in my studies and various readings over the years however took a new look at it recently following the results of my microbiome analysis and a discussion with a client looking to get leaner.
Let's get the theory out of the way. Starch is a type of carbohydrate found in plants. It is basically how plants store sugars. Resistant starch is a form of starch that our stomach and small intestine are unable to breakdown via digestive processes; hence the term resistant starch.
Because our bodies are unable to breakdown the starch molecules into their smaller glucose molecules, we are unable to access that energy to fuel our bodies like we can from other types of carbohydrates. It also means that our blood sugar level does not spike and induce an insulin response.
Therefore resistant starch help us control blood sugar levels which in turn helps us to reduce insulin sensitivity, and also helps us to manage our weight; more on the mechanics of that another day.
When the resistant starch reaches the large intestine, it starts to ferment, and like fibre, helps to bulk our faeces and keep us regular. It also helps us to feel fuller for longer due to the slower digestion.
As the resistant starch ferments, the short-chain fatty acid "butyrate" is produced. Butyrate is the primary fuel source for our gut bacteria, may help reduce inflammation and may aid in the prevention of colon cancer. Some butyrate may also pass through the gut wall into the bloodstream and be used by us a fuel source in the form of a lipid (fat).
Because butyrate is primary fuel source for our gut bacteria, the importance of resistant starch can't be ignored.
There are a few types of resistant starch but by simply including some of the foods listed below, you can reap all the benefits without the need to overthink it.
Unprocessed and uncooked oats
Pumpernickel, rye and sourdough bread
Banana (particularly unripe) and plantains
Cooked and cooled starchy vegetables (potato, yams and sweet potato)
Cooked and cooled potato and pasta
Lentils, peas and beans
Now don't go crazy overeating resistant starch rich foods as too much of anything one thing may have consequences! Eat too much resistant starch and you may feel overly full (bloated and uncomfortable), become gassy and/or experience diarrhoea. Therefore aim for about 20g of resistant starch a day and start with less if you don't already eat a plant-slanted diet.
Try my brown rice and lentil meal base. It is perfect to cook ahead of time and keep in the fridge for a couple of meals during the week. Super healthy, and once cooled, is full of resistant starch.
Want to learn more about how to improve your health, wellbeing, or manage your weight? Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.