Not all Starches are the Enemy

Taking probiotics, cut out the grains and sugars, and still feeling off kilter? Could be you’re missing an important microflora without even knowing it. For you and fellow sufferers, Resitant Starch is far from futile.

What is it?

Butyrate-producing bacteria has been shown to play an important role in gut homeostasis. Booty-what? Byoo-tuh-reyt, it’s a mouth(and stomach)ful. Its more common alias is Resistant Starch. RS is getting a lot of buzz amongst the health communities because of its impact on gut flora and the potential health benefits. Butyrate, however, is a by-product from the digestion of resistant starches, not in and of itself a starch. Nevertheless, studies have shown butyrate boosts the immune system by promoting the production of T cells in the gut. T cells help to reduce inflammatory responses as well as autoimmune disorders. One study went on to say “therefore these findings could be applicable for the prevention and treatment of IBD, allergy, and autoimmune disease. Butyrate is natural and safe as a therapy and in addition to that it is cheap, which could reduce costs for both patients and society.” And according to Janine Highins, Ph.D. Nutrition research director for the Univ of Colorado’s Clinical ResearchCenter, “Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of fuel. Butyrate can prevent the liver from using carbs as fuel and instead, use stores body fat and recently consumed fat are burned. “In several studies, butyrate has shown to improve insulin sensitivity, increase feelings of fullness, binds to and expels “bad” bacteria, and enhances magnesium absorption.”

Reported testimonies include-
  • Increased lean mass and Lowered body mass
  • Improved thyroid function
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased mental calmness
How to reap the benefits?
This is where resistant starches come back into the picture. Resistant Starch is pretty much what it sounds like- starches which resist digestion. Foods that contain starch make up a large portion of most American’s diets. It is estimated that resistant starches are around 10% of that total (typically less if following an ancestral type diet.) Undercooked, or cooked then cooled, foods contain more RS than fully cooked or hot foods. The best sources of RS include beans/legumes, whole grains,and seeds. The next best would be raw potatoes, green bananas, and plantains. But don’t heat, or let them overripen, because then the starches become digestible. Not too tempted with those suggestions? The next method of increasing RS in foods is called retrogradation. You cook the starch, then let it cool, which allows digestible starches (like rice, potatoes, and beans) to become more resistant again.

Examples of Naturally Occurring Resistant Starches:

Food Serving size Resistant starch
(grams)
Banana flour,[37] from green bananas 1/4 cup, uncooked 10.5-13.2
Banana, raw, slightly green 1 medium, peeled 4.7
High amylose RS2 corn resistant starch 1 tablespoon (9.5 g) 4.5
Oats, rolled 1/4 cup, uncooked 4.4
Green peas, frozen 1 cup, cooked 4.0
White beans 1/2 cup, cooked 3.7
Lentils 1/2 cup cooked 2.5
Cold pasta 1 cup 1.9
Pearl barley 1/2 cup cooked 1.6
Cold potato 1/2″ diameter 0.6 – 0.8
Oatmeal 1 cup cooked 0.5

Most of the studies have seen maximum results when 30-40grams of resistant starch was incorporated daily. In food, 500 grams of baked then cooled, potato has about 25 grams. 1 large green banana has about 22 grams. And and green plantain has about 50 grams. Not very tasty raw, but you could slice and dehydrate it into chips. A smoothie would hide it well too.

Speaking of smoothies… Shaklee’s Life Energizing Shakes are a good form of resistant starch. RS, along with the leucine protein, will help you achieve a healthier weight and preserve more lean muscle. Shaklee’s 180 meal-in-a-bar and snack bars are also excellent sources of resistant starches. I have also found baking Sweet Potato Brownies to be helpful in reaching my daily dose of RS. Who could resist chocolatey goodness of brownies especially when they are packed full of so many healthful benefits?

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