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Resistant starch – Don’t Forget This Functional Food!

Resistant starch – You have heard us harp on about resistant starch a fair bit on our social platforms and podcast episodes, and we broke it down a little in a small space, but science is catching up with more benefits! So, we wanted to get into the nitty-gritty of how it actually works and how to make it and or find it!

What is Resistant Starch?

Naturally found in starchy foods, these can include your common potato, rice, and corn food sources. From here, the form of resistant starch is broken down into four subtypes under the main category:

  1. Physically Inaccessible – Seeds.
  2. Native Granular Starch – often found in potato and green banana.
  3. Retrograded Starch – made by cooking/cooling process on starchy materials.
  4. Chemically Modified Starch – High maize starch.

How does It Work?

Resistant starch works in a way where it appears to escape methods of usual digestion in the stomach and small intestine and instead makes it into the large intestine where it is then fermented by the colonic bacteria to make short-chain fatty acids and balance and or lower the colonic PH. It appears to work more so as a form of fiber due to these properties [1]

Resistant starch holds a host of beneficial properties to the host [2]:

  1. Acting as a dietary fiber.
  2. Lowering Glucose and insulin responses.
  3. Lowering caloric yield in foods.
  4. Increasing fecal output (poop).
  5. Reducing poop transit time.
  6. Promoting the growth and health of good colonic bacteria.
  7. Colonic production of short-chain fatty acids.

The beneficiary effects of the resistant starch and its ability to contain or transform into resistant starch are predicated on the amount of Amylose that is present in the food source. The amount available is influenced by many factors, generally starch consists of 25-30% amylose and 70-75% amylopectin. The higher the amylose content the more likely the presence of resistant starch is to be available to the consumer.

Insulin Sensitivity

Improved insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis are some of the best characteristics to come from this metabolic feature of this functional food. Resistant starch consumed in the diet showed to improve postprandial glucose levels and this is believed to be linked to the capacity for it to be utilized more like a fiber form instead of being broken down into glucose and entered into the bloodstream.

As it also increases SCFA’s by nourishing the colonic bacteria – this cascading effect of short-chain fatty acid production appears to actually flow on to assist with our metabolic profile capacity, although more clinical trials are needed there is promising evidence to suggest its benefits in this dept. [3] [4]

How does one make Resistant Starch?

It sounds more complicated than it actually is because of all the technical terms, but it’s actually as simple as ABC 123! Resistant starch is formed through the retrograded method of gelatinized starch, where once a starch form is cooked then cooled, the once disorganized gelatinized starch is cooled and ordered it becomes resistant to digestive enzymes. Cool huh! [4]

Retrograded Method:

  1. Add 1 teaspoon of coconut oil to boiling water. Then add a half a cup of rice. Simmer for 40 minutes (or boil for 20-25 minutes).
  2. Refrigerate it for 12 hours.

Yes, once it is re-heated it still holds this same resistant starch value so you don’t have to chow down on cold rice or potato.

This procedure created by Sudhir James increased the Resistant Starch by 10 times for traditional, non-fortified rice and halved the absorbable calories!  Cooling for 12 hours leads to the formation of hydrogen bonds between the amylose molecules outside the rice grains which also turns it into resistant starch. The same technique can be used for pasta and potato too! The addition of oil as a coating as you feed the starch form into the water to boil it, actually changed the outcome again to be yielded at a higher ratio. [5]

References:

  1. Effect of variety and cooking method on the resistant starch content of white rice and subsequent postprandial glucose response and appetite in humans. Yu-Ting Chiu1, Maria L Stewart. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2013;22(3):372-9. DOI: 10.6133/apjcn.2013.22.3.08.
  2. Resistant starch and other dietary fiber components in tubers from a high-amylose potato. Xue Zhao, Mariette Andersson, Roger Andersson. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem. 2018.01.028
  3. Canfora, E. E., Jocken, J. W., & Blaak, E. E. (2015). Short-chain fatty acids in control of body weight and insulin sensitivity. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 11(10), 577–591.doi:10.1038/nrendo.2015.128
  4. Resistant starches for the management of metabolic diseases. Laure B. Bindels,1Jens Walter,2 and Amanda E. Ramer-Tait1,* Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2015 Nov; 18(6): 559–565. DOI: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000223
  5. https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-03/acs-nlr021915.php