What is Resistant Starch?

Let Go & Grow Community LG&G Library Health & Body What is Resistant Starch?

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    Resistant starch is a type of starch that resists digestion- it is not digested in the stomach or small intestine, reaching the colon intact and ferments in the large intestine. By decreasing the pH level in the colon and assisting the body in increasing its production of short-chain fatty acids, resistant starches help to create an environment in which beneficial bacteria thrive. After eating resistant starch, we do not see spikes in blood glucose or insulin and do not gain significant calories. Unlike other types of carbohydrates, our digestive systems cannot break down resistant starches into energy.

    Resistant starches include some high-fiber foods but they also include carbohydrate-rich foods and food additives that present similar health benefits. These foods almost always also contain components that are digestible, such as non-resistant starch, vitamins, and minerals. Resistant starches can be broken down into five categories:

    Resistant Starch Type 1: Starchy foods coated with seeds or germ, think:

    – Unprocessed whole grains
    – Legumes such as soybean seeds, beans, lentils, and dried peas

    Resistant Starch Type 2: Naturally resistant starchy foods, think:

    – Uncooked potatoes
    – Green banana flour
    – High-amylose cornflour

    Resistant Starch Type 3: Retrograded starch, which is starchy food that has been cooked and then cooled, which increases its resistant starch content, think:

    – Cooked potatoes or pasta that has been cooled for a salad
    – Sushi rice

    Resistant Starch Type 4: Starchy foods that manufacturers chemically modify so that they are resistant to digestion. The resulting products are usually food additives derived from:

    – Corn
    – Potatoes
    – Rice

    Resistant Starch Type 5: Manufacturers create these resistant starches through a process that involves heating and cooling starchy foods with particular lipids such as:

    – Fats
    – Waxes


    Early research has shown that resistant starch’s beneficial effects on the gut may play a role in controlling blood glucose levels, limiting weight regain after weight loss, preventing colorectal cancer, and decreasing inflammation in the bowel. Scientists are also studying how they might develop capsule coatings made of resistant starch, which would be ideal for delivering medication to release farther along the digestive tract, in the colon.

    If you are trying to lose weight, have high blood sugar, have digestive problems, or want to experiment with different foods to see how they affect your body- trying out resistant starch is a great place to look. Research has indicated that the benefits of resistant starch may be seen when consuming around 15 to 30 grams daily (equivalent to two to four tablespoons of potato starch). This may be too much for some people to tolerate, particularly in the setting of gut dysbiosis, and going above this amount is not necessarily beneficial. It is also important to note that everyone’s body is different- and when implementing RS into your diet, it is beneficial to experiment with small amounts at a time.

    Resistant Starch Resources
    Here is a list of RS products that I recommend to patients.
    Here is a database of RS concentration in foods + more research on the subject!
    Here are 9 foods that are high in RS.
    Hear Chris Kresser talk about the “Potato Hack Diet” right here.

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