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What Is Resistant Starch and Is it a Weight Loss Superfood?

Updated on September 07, 2016
rajan jolly profile image

Rajan is a major in Botany and Chemistry. Has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years of his career breeding layer & broiler parents.

For decades it has been thought that foods rich in carbohydrates cause weight gain. However, new research indicates that not all carbs are bad. Studies show that some carb-rich foods not only shrink belly fat cells and boost fat burning, but also increase muscle mass, curb hunger, keep one satiated, regulate blood sugar, and lower cholesterol and triglycerides.

There is a type of carbohydrate called "resistant starch" that offers all these benefits and more.

Source

What is Resistant Starch?

Resistant starch is starch that is not broken down and digested in the small intestine but passes into the large intestine. In this respect, it is more like fiber. Resistant starch is, in fact, considered the third type of dietary fiber, after insoluble and soluble fiber.

It is a very beneficial nutrient that has healthcare professionals talking about it. Although resistant starch is not a commonly used and familiar term, it offers various health benefits.

In the colon, resistant starch is used as a fuel by the resident bacteria, by the process called fermentation, in which short chain fatty acids are produced. It is these short chain fatty acids that provide many health benefits.

There are 4 types of resistant starch (RS) that have been identified on the basis of its structure or source.

  • RS1 - This type of RS is not digestible because it is inaccessible for the digestive process like in whole grains, legumes and seeds because of the intact cell walls/fibrous shell.
  • RS2 - This type of RS is present in its natural form in foods like unripe bananas, raw potatoes, plantains, high amylose corn etc. This starch is resistant to breakage by our digestive enzymes.
  • RS3 - This type of RS is formed when starchy foods like potatoes,rice, legumes, cornflakes, etc are cooked and cooled before consumption.
  • RS4 - This is the modified/manufactured RS that is so processed to resist digestion.

Most starchy foods have some amount of RS in them.

Resistant starch is considered a dietary fiber when naturally present in food and a functional fiber when it is added to foods. Total fiber includes both dietary fiber and functional fiber.

Health Benefits

Some very important benefits of resistant starch are:

  • Weight Control

Adding resistant starch increases the fiber content of foods. This has a negative effect on weight gain and obesity. The likely benefits are reduced hunger pangs due to increasing feeling of satiety and possible alteration in enzyme secretions that affect the digestion of food.

RS is also thought to burn fat and cause its reduction and consequently, accumulation. It also helps to increase the metabolism of fatty acids within the fatty tissue thus again reducing fat storage. By increasing metabolism, it further prevents weight gain.

RS can be incorporated to replace high calories foods like flour and other carbohydrates that are quickly digested thus reducing the fat content of foods.

  • Managing Blood Sugar Levels

Consuming foods rich in RS decreases the glycemic response in both healthy and diabetic individuals.

RS also increases sensitivity to insulin in healthy, those with type 2 diabetes as well as insulin resistant persons.

When pregnant ladies consume RS rich foods it increased the glycemic health of the offspring. RS also prevented the development of insulin resistance.

  • Digestion

RS rich foods help to maintain a healthier colon and overall a healthier digestive system as it allows the beneficial bacterial to proliferate thereby reducing the population of harmful bacteria. Resistant starch also helps to lower the intestinal pH and makes the bowel movements regular by improving the intestinal matter bulk.

Natural resistant starch also helps to keep the colon healthy, protects against colo-rectal cancer by the production of short chain fatty acids protective compounds like butyrate in particular, as well as acetate and propionate.

  • Kidney Health

RS maintains the health of kidneys by reducing blood urea levels as it causes increased excretion of nitrogen.

  • Other Benefits
  1. RS benefits eye health, improves calcium and magnesium absorption thereby strengthening the bones and those with ulcerative colitis.
  2. It reduces cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
  3. RS improves the brain function and health in aging individuals by not only improving appetite and increasing food intake but also improving the motor coordination in the aged.

Foods Rich in Resistant Starch

Superfoods are foods that are not only nutritional powerhouses and prevent chronic diseases, improve eyesight, build bones, improve brain function but also help one to stay slim by preventing weight gain. These foods are also rich in resistant starch.

Plantains

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Plantains

  • 1/2 cup of cooked plantains contains 3 grams of resistant starch which boosts metabolism and burns fat.

Quinoa

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Quinoa

  • Quinoa is a whole grain that's not only rich in protein but that keeps one's hunger satiated with few calories. Contains 1 gram of resistant starch in 1/2 cup cooked quinoa.

Pearl Barley

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Pearl Barley

  • Pearl Barley is a low calorie grain with appetite-filling fiber. It provides almost 2 grams of resistant starch in a half cup serving.


Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

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Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans

  • Chickpeas contain over 2 grams of resistant starch in a 1/2 cup serving. Also a good source of healthy fats, fiber and protein.

White Beans

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White Beans

  • A half cup of white beans provides almost 4 grams of fat-burning resistant starch and is also rich in fiber.

Pine Nuts

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Pine Nuts

  • Pine nuts contain heart healthy fats that burn belly fat.

Potatoes

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Potatoes

  • Potatoes are a source of resistant starch that burn body fat and though high in calories they are very filling and offer a lot of satiety. Contain 0.6-0.8 grams of resistant starch in 1/2 cup of cooked/mashed potatoes.

Oranges

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Oranges

  • Oranges are low in calories but quite filling because of the fiber in them and helps control one's hunger thus aiding in weight loss.

Dark Chocolate

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Dark Chocolate

  • Dark chocolate contains medium chain unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) which are considered healthy fats and which boost metabolism and burn fat. It also helps to slow digestion and keeps on full longer, thus reducing food intake.

Bananas

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Bananas

  • Bananas are not only filling but boost metabolism as well. Also they are extremely high in resistant starch as a single somewhat green banana offers 12.5 grams of resistant starch. Even a ripe banana has almost 5 grams of resistant starch.

Lentils

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Lentils

  • Apart from the filling fiber and protein, a 1/2 cup serving of lentils provides 3.4 grams of resistant starch that boosts metabolism and burns fat.

Green Tea

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Green Tea

  • The antioxidants in green tea burn fat and calories. Studies have found that consuming 5 cups of green tea a day reduces as much as twice the weight from the belly.

Kidney Beans

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Kidney Beans

  • Kidney beans not only contain over 5 grams of fiber per serving of half a cup but are also rich in resistant starch at almost 2 grams per serving.

Grapefruit

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Grapefruit

  • A compound in grapefruit lowers insulin, the fat storing hormone thereby inducing weight loss. It is also filling as it contains 90% water. Eating half a grapefruit before every meal will aid in losing up to a pound in weight a week.

Red Wine

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Red Wine

  • Red wine contains resveratrol, the antioxidant that prevents the storage of fat. Red wine boosts metabolism and drinking a moderate amount of red wine leads to lower belly fat and narrower waists than in liquor drinkers.

Brown Rice

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Brown Rice

  • Brown rice is packed with fiber and a 1/2 cup contains 1.7 grams of resistant starch. It is also low in calories and energy but a dense food and is quite filling.

Salmon

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Salmon

  • Salmon is rich in MUFAs and protein minus the fat. Study has found that those who ate a MUFA rich diet lost more weight while those on a low fat diet in fact gained weight.

Avocado

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Avocados

  • Though avocados are rich in fat, it is of the right kind, the oleic acid is a healthy mono unsaturated fat. However be careful that you do not overeat. Stick to half an avocado. It is also rich in protein and fiber and along with MUFAs will aid in reducing belly fat and control weight.

Oats

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Oats

  • Oats are not only rich in fiber but also in resistant starch with a half cup serving providing 4.6 grams of it and this helps in boosting metabolism and burning fat.

Resistant Starch Content in Foods

Food Item
Resistant Starch in grams
Serving Size (Cup)
 
 
 
Navy Beans
9.8
1/2
Bananas, slightly green
6
small size
Potatoes and Yams
4
1/2
Barley
3
1/2
Brown Rice
3
1/2
Corn
2
1/2
Cornflakes
0.9
1
Rice White
1.1
1/2
Pasta
1.2
1
Pizza
2.8
1 slice (100 gm)
Lentils
3.4
1/2
Green Peas
2
1/2
HiMaize
4.5
1 Tbsp (9.5gm)

Recommended Daily Values

The recommended daily values of dietary fiber includes the resistant starch component. This includes the value both for well being and disease prevention.

A value of 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women has been established for the daily fiber intake according to the National Academy of Science, in the U.S.

According to prevention.com it has been found that the average American consumes about 4 grams of resistant starch. Experts however suggest consuming around 8 grams of resistant starch per day.

A corn product called Hi maize can be used to replace about 1/4th of the normal flour to reap the benefits of resistant starch. Better still is to eat 1/2 to 1 cup of cooled resistant starch rich foods per day.

References

  • http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/nutrition/a/resistantstarch.htm
  • http://freetheanimal.com/2013/06/resistant-starch-an-overall-primer-with-references.html
  • http://foodaust.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Hi_Maize-supplement_web.pdf
  • http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/health-fitness/healthy-eating/what-are-resistant-starches?page=all
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resistant_starch
  • http://www.prevention.com/food/healthy-eating-tips/resistant-starch-natural-fat-burner?page=4
  • http://www.ehow.com/list_6850812_list-resistant-starch-foods.html#page=1
  • http://www.ndwheat.com/uploads%5Cresources%5C635%5Cresistant-starch-fact-sheet.pdf
  • http://www.resistantstarch.com/NR/rdonlyres/DE2ADBB0-FF7D-40A7-B409-03493FEFFDFA/4601/Foodswithresistantstarch_LR.pdf

Disclaimer

The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or healthcare provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.

What Are Carbohydrates?

Resistant Starch

Superfoods that Promote Weight Loss and Optimal Health

© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly

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    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 3 years ago from The Caribbean

      Rajan, I recently read that gluten-free diets are fattening for lack of carbs. Your article is right on! Thanks for the food items suggestions. Voted Up!

    • hawaiianodysseus profile image

      Hawaiian Odysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

      I am very delighted to read this information because: 1) I'm definitely in need of a nutritional program to complement my walking in an attempt to lose a few more pounds; and 2) I'm always open to learning new things, and this is the first time I've heard about resistant starch. While the concept is very new and thus a little challenging for me to wrap my head around, I'm thankful that you did such diligent research and wrote an excellent hub about it. Thank you so very much for another awesome job of nutritional/health reporting, Rajan! Aloha, and have a wonderful day!

      Joe

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 3 years ago from Arizona

      Good to know we eat most of these foods and do stay away from processed carbs...Great hub here, and you certainly covered the topic..Pinning.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Valuable information; my favorite is, of course, dark chocolate. :) Thanks for the information Rajan and I hope you have a great Friday.

    • CarlySullens profile image

      CarlySullens 3 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

      Great Hub! I learned a lot. I have several of these food choices already in my home, and some I need to expand my grocery shopping list and begin to include them. You taught me a lot. Thank you. Going to share, and voted up!

    • epbooks profile image

      Elizabeth Parker 3 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Very informative article and well-written! Voted up.

    • HeatherH104 profile image

      HeatherH104 3 years ago from USA

      This is so useful! All I hear is to reduce/eliminate carbs it's good to know some are good. I guess it's all about balance. Voted up and shared.

    • sandrabusby profile image

      Sandra Busby 3 years ago from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA

      Fantastic hub, Rajan. voted up, shared, etc.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 3 years ago from New York

      You got my vote when I saw dark chocolate....seriously, this is a good hub in defense of necessary carbohydrates. You explained well and gave many good examples. Quinoa is the new superfood! It has high nutritional value, is anti-inflammatory and heart healthy in addition to what you wrote. Oh and best of all for me, it is naturally gluten free!

      As always, a helpful hub. Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • livingsta profile image

      livingsta 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      This is very useful and interesting information Rajan, thank you for sharing this with us. Voted up and sharing!

    • Kathryn Stratford profile image

      Kathryn 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

      This is fascinating, and I have not heard much about this resistant starch! I liked the lists of healthy foods, too. Many of them are ones I enjoy regularly.

      Voted up and sharing.

      Have a wonderful day! I'm going to add a link of this article to one of my diet hubs! This is great information.

      ~ Kathryn

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      This is good information. I especially love dark chocolate (now you're talkin'), plus oranges, green bananas, and 'taters cooked any way. Glad to know there are redeeming qualities to carbs.

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 3 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      I really loved your list of Superfoods For Weight Loss. I thought this was a great article because I think a lot of people automatically think that all carbs are bad for you. Thanks for sharing. (Voted Up) -Rose

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 3 years ago from North Texas

      An excellent hub! Everyone who wants to lose or control their weight should read this hub and save all the money they may be spending or thinking of spending on the Flat Belly book and diet plan, etc. Bookmarking this hub for reference. Voted up, useful, and will share!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 3 years ago from America

      All heart healthy foods. Thanks for sharing. Great information. Voted up .

    • Tom Schumacher profile image

      Tom Schumacher 3 years ago from Huntington Beach, CA

      Nice hub! Other foods that are rich in antioxidant content are cherries, red apples, raspberries, plums, and strawberries. Although red wine is more enjoyable to consume, these red colored fruits are a great alternative and the perfect compliment to oatmeal and a banana for breakfast. Voted up for useful!

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @MsDora-carbs can be good or bad both; but the carbs from whole grains, fruits and vegetables are the good carbs. Thanks for the thumbs up.

      @HO-carbs from whole grains, fruits and vegetables are the healthy ones and should be eaten as they contain fiber including the resistant starch. Thanks for appreciating, Joe.

      @Carol-glad you appreciate the difference between the healthy and unhealthy carbs. Thanks for the sharing.

      @Bill-thanks for the read and thumbs up.

      @Carly-thanks for the read, vote up and sharing.

      @Elizabeth-thank you.

      @Heather-the carbs from whole grains, fruits and vegetables are the ones we need to incorporate into our diet. Thanks for the read and sharing.

      @Sandra-thanks for the vote up and sharing.

      @Mary-glad you appreciate not all carbs are bad. Thanks.

      @Dahlia-glad you like the info and thanks for sharing.

      @Kathryn-good to know you like the info. I really appreciate you linking this article to one of yours. Thanks.

      @FlourishAnyway-thanks for the appreciation.

      @Rose-I'm glad you appreciate the fact that not all carbs are to be avoided. Thanks.

      @Au fait-thanks for all the kind words, votes, bookmarking and sharing.

      @moonlake-thanks.

      @Tom-I agree all colored fruits are loaded with antioxidants and are so healthy. Thanks for your input.

    • Gypsy48 profile image

      Gypsy48 3 years ago

      An excellent hub with helpful nutritional information. This will definitely help me out. Voted up.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Another wonderfully interesting hub rajan and thank you for sharing. Voted up as always and wishing you a great day ahead.

      Eddy.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Rasma-thank you and have a wonderful weekend.

      Eddy-thanks and have a great weekend.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 3 years ago

      Wonderful Rajan, I needed this, thank you. Voted up, Useful, Awesome, Interesting and will share.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks for reading and sharing, Shyron.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      So glad a great deal of the food I enjoy is on your list. Thanks for this informative hub and passing this on.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks Gypsy.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 3 years ago from North Carolina

      I found this hub so very helpful, Rajan. Thank you for breaking the information down for easy understanding. The table was helpful, but adding each of these RS foods, with photo and info, was even more beneficial. UP/U/A/I and shared.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Hi, Denise. Glad you found the information useful and liked the formatting. Many thanks for appreciating. Thanks for all the votes and sharing.

    • chef-de-jour profile image

      Andrew Spacey 3 years ago from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK

      I enjoyed this hub, not only is it packed full of well researched information but is nicely presented. Those involved in sports and fitness and well-being, as well as people watching what they eat, will do well to read this article.

      Votes and a share.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks for the votes and sharing, Andrew. I'm glad you like the info.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

      Good morning rajan jolly

      I am so glad that I found this as I have always thought, silly me, that carbs are the enemy and now I see a whole list of them that are actually helpful for weight loss. I am bookmarking this and pinning it. Shared and voted up ps

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 3 years ago from Northern California, USA

      This is an amazing article about carbohydrates. It is very comprehensive. I'm pinning it for reference and sharing this valuable report.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @Patricia-glad you found this hub to dispel some doubts about carbs. appreciate the pinning, sharing and votes.

      @Marlene-thanks for the bookmarking and visit.

    • Indian Chef profile image

      Indian Chef 3 years ago from New Delhi India

      Rajan very informative hub. Dark Chocolates did come up as a surprise. Voted up and interesting and shared.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks for appreciating and sharing, Indian Chef.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 3 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      rajan,

      This is an awesome well-researched hub which I found very informative. Thanks for educating me and others that not all carbohydrates will make you fat. Voted up in all categories. Sharing with followers, on Facebook, Pinning, and Tweeting.

    • Justsilvie 3 years ago

      Very informative and helpful. Voted up and shared!

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @Paul-glad you like the information. Thanks for all the votes and sharing.

      @Silvie-thanks for the read and sharing.

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