Resistant Starches

We had a great discussion about resistant starches in lecture last week and I thought I would share the information here. You may have never heard of resistant starch before because it is a relatively new area of research. Basically it is a type of dietary fiber found in many carbohydrate rich foods. It is called resistant because that is what it does, it “resists” digestion in the body. It is because of this property that it has such a big impact on overall health as well as weight loss. Its effects are three fold for weight loss: it can increase your body’s ability to burn fat, fills you up and reduces hunger by increasing satiety hormones. Usually carbohydrate is used for energy first but when resistant starch is present, it alters digestions and the body uses fat as the main fuel source. As far as other health benefits go, it can improve blood sugar control since it skips the normal digestion patterns, increase immune function by boosting the growth of probiotics and reduce your risk for certain types of cancer such as colon cancer.

So where does resistant starch come from? Like I mentioned previously, it is found in certain high carbohydrate foods when consumed cold. The resistant starch is formed after the food is cooked and as the food is cooled. Some examples would be corn, beans, potatoes or yams, barley, lentils, oatmeal, pasta, brown rice and slightly green bananas (no need to cook these, just eat raw). Cold salads using potatoes, rice, beans or barley, cold sushi, and hummus are great ways to incorporate resistant starches into your meal plan. Just adding 1/2 to 1 cup of cooled resistant starch food per day will help you reap the benefits.
So just in time for summer, enjoy your food cold!
Emily Fonnesbeck RD,CD