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What is a Resistant Starch?

Updated: Oct 1, 2021

Another Nutrition Q and A!!


Q: Hi Jennifer, I hear a lot about “resistant starches” lately. Does cooling off pasta or potatoes or rice switch the carbohydrates they contain from a starch into a fiber nutrient? What are your thoughts about that?

A: You are correct - when you cook potatoes, pasta, rice then allow it to cool overnight (optimal time frame is overnight), the starch changes into a fiber. The term "resistant" means that it is resistant to complete digestion in your small intestine. Therefore, it makes it down into your large intestine and colon. This means that the fiber will provide your beneficial bacteria the food it needs and encourages these bacteria to make short-chain fatty acids like butyrate (butyrate is the top energy source for the cells in your large intestine); and helps to manage blood sugar levels because it is a fiber now not a starch - starches raise blood sugar levels quicker - so a benefit for diabetics, or anyone struggling with insulin resistance.

Resistant starches are getting a lot of attention lately… so, the bigger question in my mind is why? Is it because more and more people eat less and less vegetables – an excellent source of fiber? Is it because more and more people have gut dysbiosis and an unbalanced/poorly functioning microbiome? Is it because more and more people are insulin resistant, pre-diabetic, or diabetic? I think yes to all 3.

We always need to find the why behind the “fix” or the “fad”.

Therefore, if you are taking care of your gut, your microbiome, and your blood sugar; and you want to enjoy a freshly baked potato or freshly cooked rice, enjoy it!

This is an opportunity for a tool/small step you can use, if you are having a hard time adding in more vegetables…. but love your potatoes, pasta, rice - this is an option to help you with your gut health, microbiome, and blood sugar regulation. You can begin to understand and feel the benefits of fiber rich foods on your BodyMind. It is a small step that can make a world of difference and encourage you to continue to make small, consistent action steps to reach your health and wellness goals. Bonus: even if the food is reheated its resistant starch content still remains high. - Jennifer Foege



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