What Resistant Starch Foods Are + How They Can Help You Stay Healthy & Slim
Not all carbohydrates are the same, which is why you need to know about resistant starch foods and how they can help you stay healthy and slim.
Remember the days when we were told we should avoid just about all fats or face weight gain and other issues? Many people avoided fat-rich foods like nuts, and switched to products like margarine, focusing on pretty much fat-free everything, but of course, that turned out to be a bad idea.
Thanks to extensive scientific research, we’ve since learned that foods that contain healthy fats, such as nuts and seeds, coconut oil and avocados, offer important benefits when eaten in moderation as part of a balanced diet, and they don’t cause weight gain. In fact, today, the belief is that eating foods that are high in simple carbohydrates brings the higher risk for added pounds.
These types of foods, that are typically highly processed and packed with sugar, trigger a powerful signal to release insulin after they’re eaten and absorbed in the body. When there is a constant, strong signal sent for insulin, over time that can promote weight gain. That’s the reason why so many people have turned to low-carb diets.
But, while some people do better on a diet that’s lower in carbohydrates, most will find that staying slim and healthy doesn’t mean avoiding all carb-rich foods. Those that contain resistant starch may actually help one maintain a healthy weight, while also providing prebiotics and fiber. There are multiple types of carbohydrates, and depending on which type, the impact on the body can vary. Eating foods that are mainly made up of carbohydrates but also offer vitamins, minerals and fiber, can play an important role in nearly everyone’s diet.
What Resistant Starches Are
The majority of carbohydrate foods are starches. These are long chains of glucose which can be found in foods like grains and potatoes, among others. However, not all of the starches we consume get digested. In some situations, some of those starches pass through the digestive tract without being changed at all along the way. This means that the starch is resistant to being digested, which is why it’s referred to as resistant starch. Their resistance to being broken down in the stomach and small intestine means that some of the energy from these foods isn’t used by the body.
What happens to these resistant starches which produce short chain fatty acids, is that bacteria in the colon “eats” them. While you might think producing short chain fatty acids would be a bad thing, it’s actually quite healthy.
According to a review conducted in 2013 out of the Netherlands, when short chain fatty acids are produced in the large intestine, this process may have a key role in preventing a number of health issues, including bowel disorders, certain types of cancer and metabolic syndrome. (1)
In simple terms, when healthy bacteria (referred to as probiotics) in the colon consume these resistant starches (prebiotics), the short chain fatty acids are released. Those prebiotics also help to trigger probiotic growth, which can keep the harmful or unhealthy bacteria out of the colon.
Foods That Contain Resistant Starch
Those green, unripe bananas are a good source of resistant starch, but you probably don’t want to eat them. Thankfully, there are a number of other foods that are good sources of resistant starch, such as seeds, legumes, brown rice flour, bean flour and potato starch.
While it may seem strange, eating leftovers can be a good way to get resistant starch too. According to Skidmore College professor Paul Arciero, when certain starchy foods like potatoes or white rice are cooked, and then cooled down in the refrigerator, the food develops resistant starches. He explained in a TIME magazine article that “cooking the carbohydrate starch alters the chemical bonds in the food.” By placing it in the refrigerator, as it cools, the bonds reform in a different design.
“The ensuing structure of those bonds during the cooling process is what makes them resistant to then being digested in the small intestine,” Arciero said. Even when they’re heated up again, they still retain their new resistant starches. (2)
How Resistant Starch foods Can Help You Stay Slim and Healthy
There has been, and continues to be, a lot of research conducted on resistant starch, and just how it might impact our health and our weight.
A review in 2014 from the University of Denver in Colorado focused on data that described the effects of resistant starch on various factors like body composition and weight, energy expenditure and intake to determine if there was enough evidence to warrant the health claims. The results suggested that eating resistant starch foods may be beneficial to health as they have a reduced insulin signal following eating as compared to other kinds of carbohydrates. These foods also raise the amount of hormones released from the gut which send a signal to the brain that indicates satiety, and that it’s time to stop eating. (3)
Additionally, resistant starch foods have been found to help reduce fat accumulation, preserve muscle mass and increase fat oxidation. An Iranian study, conducted in 2015, suggested that resistant starches could also play a role in reducing inflammation and type 2 diabetes symptoms. While the experts noted more research is still needed, the results were promising, revealing that participants who had resistant starch every day for an eight week period had significantly lower blood triglyceride levels and some markers of inflammation, as compared to those who received a placebo. (4)
The Bottom Line When It Comes to Carbs
When it comes to carbs, the bottom line is that these foods aren’t all the same. Depending on the type, they can have different effects on your health and your waistline. Refined, simple carbohydrate foods such as white bread, crackers, sugary foods and the like, offer little in the way in nutrition, but they can trigger a strong release of insulin.
Other types of carbs, such as seeds, whole grains and legumes, have more of a blunted response in terms of signaling insulin, and they may help signal satiety as well as increase fat oxidation. That’s why eating more of these resistant starch foods instead of carbs with empty calories is advised for a slimmer body and good health. You may also want to consider cooling down starchy foods like potatoes, pasta and rice after they’re cooked, which can increase the amount of resistant starches in them.
Experts caution that if your healthcare providers have advised you to follow a low-carb diet, it’s important to consult with them before adding resistant starch foods to your diet, as certain medical conditions may require an overall lower carbohydrate intake.
A Probiotic Supplement Can Help!
The prebiotics and short chain fatty acids in resistant starches provide sustenance for a good Probiotic, which in turn will help to support your digestive and immune health. Over 70% of your immune system is located in the gut, and Probiotics will support that mune systemim, as well as help you to absorb nutrients more efficiently, which can lead to weight loss, mood improvement, reduced fatigue, and cholesterol regulation.
Schwartz Bioresearch has developed the most effective probiotic supplement on the market with an innovative delivery system to ensure that strains can survive the stomach acids and reach the small intestine intact and ready to work. Our double protection system increases the survivability 287x on average compared to other Probiotics.