Resistant Starch: It (might be) good for what ails you

Resistant starch toon

Hundreds of people have experimented recently with adding resistant starch to their diets and seen major improvements in certain health problems. “Resistant” just means it is a type of starch that doesn’t get digested in the stomach or small intestines. It resists digestion until it gets to the large intestines, where it then feeds those super important little critters that live there.

Why resistant starch is good for you [4:03]

Gut flora (the friendly microorganisms that live on your intestinal wall) outnumber body cells 10 to 1, but 90% of what we eat goes to feed the 10%. Resistant starch concentrates on feeding these poor, underfed 90%. [I could make an occupy joke here, but I won’t. Be assured, though, that I AM giggling madly.]

And, in one of those lovely God-incidency things, while those micro-critters are nom-nomming on the resistant starch, they are also producing something called butyrate … which just so happens to be the preferred fuel of the human cells that form the lining of the colon!

  • Healthy colon lining -> good health.
  • Sickly colon lining -> colon cancer.

Also, eating more resistant starch reduces pH and inflammation, two problems I struggle with all the time.

And, BIG BONUS FOR PISTOL PETE, it also stabilizes blood sugar and improves how body cells respond to insulin. Some studies have found a 33-50% improvement in insulin sensitivity after 4 weeks of consuming 15-30 grams of resistant starch per day.

Eating more resistant starch may also help you to painlessly lose a bit of weight, since it has half the calories of regular starch and seems to increase satiety. (Satiety: When you’re not jonesing for more food.)

There are two ways to add resistant starches to your diet:

FOODS: Some foods naturally have more resistant starch than others. Note: How these foods are prepared can have a major effect on how much resistant starch you swallow. For example, green bananas, which are a rich source until they ripen, then not so much.  Also, potatoes and rice need to be cooked and then cooled before eating, since the starch in them only changes into the resistant kind while the food is cooling.  Fortunately, I only like bananas when they’re just barely edible. And I really LOVE cold potatoes.

SUPPLEMENTS: The articles below recommend Bob’s Red Mill Raw Potato Starch. (Amazon sells it.) I think I’m going to try this. It is a good thickener for cooked foods, so it’ll be handy for my soups, since I can’t use corn starch. But for maximum resistant starch consumption, it has to be eaten cold and raw. They say to just stir it into water first thing in the morning, but ew … powder stirred into water makes me gag and hurl. However, I really like very thick yogurt, which I eat with fruit for breakfast most days anyway, so easy peasy. (The articles below give amounts and cautions.)

If you’re interested in exploring this in more depth, I suggest you start here:

Resistant Starch 101 – Everything You Need to Know By Kris Gunnars | 2014

A Gut Microbiome, Soil-Based Probiotic, and Resistant Starch Primer For Newbies
By Richard Nikoley – December 17, 2013

List of resistant starches in various foods

Click to access Resistant-Starch-in-Foods.pdf

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