Different starches digest at different rates. Resistant starches are those that pass all the way through the small intenstine completely undegisted, much like fiber. There are four sources of restitant starches: 1. starch that is hard for the digestive system to reach typically because it is covered by a fibrous shell (think fully intact legumes and grains) 2. starch that our bodies can’t break down, such as in raw potatoes and unripe bananas 3. when certain foods are allowed to cool after being cooked (potatoes) 4. chemically manufactured resistant starch. Resistant starch is known to have some positive health effects. It is good for colon health, helps increase insulin stability, and improves mineral absorption amongst other benefits.
Resistant Starch is nothing more than starch that resists digestion in the small intestine and reaches the large intestine. smirrah is correct in that there are 4 different types. What he/she failed to point out is that only certain natural resistant starches have been shown to have positive health benefits. Most of the 300+ studies that have been published have been with RS2 resistant starch from high amylose corn (brand name Hi-maize).
Don’t be fooled by chemically modified resistant starches, (called RS4) because they are not the same as the natural resistant starches. Some are available as powders and some are being used in processed foods (for instance Double Fiber Breads often have chemically modified resistant starch in them). RS4 are chemically different than the natural resistant starches and studies are demonstrating that they do not act the same within the body. Look for the natural resistant starch – either in foods (bananas, beans, unprocessed whole grains, cooked and cooled potatoes, cooked and cooled rice, etc) or with natural Hi-maize.
The benefits – Natural resistant starches have been shown to lower the glylcemic (blood sugar) impact of foods because they replace flour in recipes. It lowers the insulin impact of foods, improves insulin sensitivity, promotes regularity, stops diarrhea, protects the intestinal mucus layer from damage, prevents toxins from crossing the intestinal barrier, and shift the body from burning carbs for energy to burning stored fat for energy. Recent studies are showing that it improves satiety because its fermentation in the large intestine actually turn on the genes that make important satiety hormones. People are reporting that they’re less hungry and eat less food up to 24 hours after consuming Hi-maize resistant starch without feeling hungry. Other types of fiber do not have this long-term satiety-enhancing effect. Animal studies suggest improved mineral absorption and increased bone mineral density, but there’s no human studies confirming this in people.
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