Resistant Starch: The Unsung Hero of a Low Carb World
Chi Rho Chiropractic
What if I told you that specific carbohydrates actually help you lose weight, reduce bloating and overall improve health?? Tough to believe if you have read anything about the Atkins or ketogenic diet as of late. Carbohydrates have become the black sheep of the macronutrient family with fat being the overachieving star sibling with a full ride to Harvard Med and protein being the next Lebron James but research has demonstrated that this is not always the case. The right carbohydrates when prepared correctly has health benefits that are just as dazzling as our valedictorian fat counterpart.
Unfortunately, our society thrives on polarity. Whether it is political parties, sports rivalries or diets our culture oftentimes operates on extremes. If a little bit of kale is good then I am going to eat kale 8 times a day and apply a kale facemask before bed. This describes the rocky history of carbohydrates. Humans have been eating carbohydrates for thousands of years as a staple of their diet in between a successful hunt which would provide animal meat for protein and other nutrients (nose to tail eating for the win). These early cultures however, did not get out their easy bake oven to turn a tuberous sweet potato into grandma’s famous sweet potato pie with marshmallows on top. This is where the difference lies and where RESISTANT STARCHES enter in to the picture.
Resistant starch is a specific type of starch that “resists” digestion, meaning that your body does not break it down in the same way it would a typical starch (bread, oatmeal etc.). This starch avoids breakdown in the small intestine where enzymes typically break down them down into sugar. Resistant starches make their way to the large intestine where it acts as a prebiotic. A prebiotic is food for all those trillions of good gut bacteria. So if probiotics are the seeds you plant, prebiotic is the fertilizer. Not only does this give you a diverse and healthy microbiome but your good bacteria convert them into short chain fatty acids like butyrate. Butyrate is a type of fatty acid that helps your gut work right, reduce inflammation, improve autoimmunity and help to prevent obesity and colon cancer.
Benefits of Resistant starches:
- Improve insulin and blood sugar levels: Over 30 million Americans have Diabetes but there are even more that suffer from blood sugar related issues such as fatigue after a meal, low energy levels when hungry, trouble sleeping or the worst…getting HANGRY. The clinical study was a randomized, single-blind crossover study which found that [resistant starch] significantly lowered glycemic response compared with typical starch (asia pac j). Replacing sugary foods and processed starches are a cornerstone of any good diet but research also found that simply adding in resistant starch to a standard American diet will improve insulin sensitivity and response independent of gut health (nutr rev).
- Burn Fat: Now that your ears are perked up, lets talk about how carbs can actually help you LOSE weight. The Journal of Advanced Nutrition found that, “consumption of resistant starch was associated with reduced abdominal fat and improved insulin sensitivity”. It not only helps to curb cravings and keep you full longer but reduces the amount of calories stored into fat cells. Another study published in 2017 found that adding resistant starches, “increased lipid oxidation(fat burning), as well as improved fatty acid and cholesterol homeostasis”.
- Improve Sleep: So many people struggle with sleep. Not only do you feel worse the next day but your underlying health takes a huge hit as well. For many the profound effect of blood sugar stabilization of consuming resistant starches at night time will allow them to achieve deeper more restful sleep. A study conducted at the University of Boulder in 2017 found that resistant starch before bed helped sleep onset but also time spent in deep, restorative REM sleep. (UCB)
How to get resistant starch (RS) into your diet:
- Foods that are naturally high in RS: There are several food sources naturally high in resistant starch but some actually cause more harm than good. For that reason we focus on GREEN bananas. So next time you go to the grocery search for the greenest bananas you can find. They won’t be the super sweet and soft yellow banana you are used to but they are great in a smoothie or just eating regularly.
- Foods that turn into resistant starch: This is my favorite “hack” or tip I can give my patients because it is such a game changer. One of the best sources of resistant starch is cooked, then COOLED white rice/sushi rice. To do this, just cook rice just as you would but instead of serving hot, put all of it into a glass Tupperware and let cool in the fridge for 24 hours. Then serve up chilled and enjoy! What does this mean, eat your sushi!!! This process also works for sweet potatoes. This process increases the amount of resistant starch 10-15 times!
- Supplementation: Don’t want to wait 24 hours for your rice to cool or chew on those super green bananas? Fortunately there are a few ways to supplement with resistant starch powders that taste great and won’t drain the bank account either. Straight potato flour has been around for years and can work as a great source of resistant starch but does not encompass all the benefits. Same with green banana flour. Studies have found that incorporating variety into your resistant starch can provide a synergistic effect. Chi Rho Cleanse is a blend of green banana flour, organic potato starch powder, and arabinogalactan powder to add up to 10 grams of resistant starch per serving.
So with a little fine tuning and careful selection you can turn those carbohydrates that you have relegated to the end of the kids table at holidays into a star. An essential component of ANY diet plan, resistant starch should be incorporated daily any way possible. A combination of food and supplementation is critical into creating a lifestyle that supports your diet and nutritional goals.
Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2015;24(4):620-5. doi: 10.6133/apjcn.2015.24.4.13.
Effect of cooling of cooked white rice on resistant starch content and glycemic response.
Nutr Rev. 2017 May 1;75(5):350-360. doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nux006.
Resistant starch as a novel dietary strategy to maintain kidney health in diabetes mellitus.
Adv Nutr. 2015 Mar 13;6(2):198-205. doi: 10.3945/an.114.007419. Print 2015 Mar.
Role of resistant starch in improving gut health, adiposity, and insulin resistance.
Carbohydr Polym. 2017 Feb 10;157:834-841. doi: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2016.10.042. Epub 2016 Oct 17.
Enhanced anti-obesity effects of complex of resistant starch and chitosan in high fat diet fed rats.
Dietary prebiotics improve sleep, buffer impacts of stress, says study
February 25, 2017
University of Colorado at Boulder