Starches, the enemy for fat loss right? Well, not all of them.
Today we’re going to discuss resistant starch foods. We’ve been hearing this word thrown around but it seems that many people aren’t really sure what it means or even why it’s good for us. So why you should care about resistant starch?
Maybe you thought all starch was bad?
Let’s look at what resistant starches are and what they can do for our bodies.
What Are Resistant Starch Foods?
Resistant starches are a specific type of starch that is not completely broken down. What does this mean? This means that it’s not completely absorbed either.
Instead, it transforms into short-chain fatty acids through the bacteria found in the intestinal tract.
Back to the original question…. what does this mean? Why should you care? Well, it turns out consuming resistant starch foods dcan have some pretty awesome health benefits.
And that’s when you start caring what this whole “resistant starch” thing means. You’re going to be pretty blown away by what this specific starch can do for you.
You might be wondering what foods are considered resistant starches. You’ll probably be surprised at the answer to that.
Resistant starches are contained in, of course, whole and completely unprocessed foods.
Resistant starches are ‘clean’ carbohydrates and include things like:
- Green Legumes
- Whole Grains
You might be wondering Are Carbs Evil?
Not all of them. Calorie quality comes into play here.
What Exactly Are Starches and How Are They Absorbed?
What exactly makes a starch resistant? Here’s how it works – basically, all starches are made up of two different types of polysaccharides. These are known as amylopectin and amylose.
Now, amylopectin is extremely branched. This means there’s a lot more area available on the surface for the whole digestive process.
Needless to say, amylopectin is broken down really fast.
Because of the speed in which it’s broken down, amylopectin breakdown creates a surge in your blood sugar (aka your glucose). And, because of this, there’s a big jump in insulin too.
With us so far?
Amylose is a little different. It’s actually a straight chain, so unlike amylopectin, there isn’t much room on the surface area.
Because it’s limited there, this slows your digestion down.
Any food that contains higher levels of amylose is digested a lot more slowly.
And, because of that, they aren’t as likely to cause blood glucose or insulin levels to rise.
Now you might be connecting the dots here on your own but we’re happy to spell it out for you.
Resistant starches got their name because that’s what they do – they literally resist digestion.
So although most starches are taken apart and broken down into sugar and are then absorbed into our blood, all by the enzymes that can be found in our small intestine, we can’t always absorb all the different types of starch.
What Types of Starch Can’t We Absorb?
Well, resistant starches – or, sometimes called RS. These types of starches aren’t completely absorbed when they’re in the small intestine.
Rather, these starches make the journey to our larger intestine (or our colon). Once it gets that far, it’s not exactly a warm welcome. The bacteria in this area then get busy and start fermenting the starches. You get the idea, you know what happens next.
And here’s an interesting fun fact – RS has a lot of similar qualities to fiber. However, this doesn’t reflect back on nutritional labels. It’s a rare occurrence when you see RS listed on the label, but odds are, fiber is there too.
Resistant Starches Are A Key Diet Component
Just because we don’t absorb RS doesn’t mean it isn’t a big deal. In actuality, RS still has a huge role in our diets. So you’ll want to read up.
Want to know what else you might be missing from a muscle building diet?
Still with us?
Let’s switch back to the whole unwelcoming fermentation process. We know it’s unpleasant. As the RS is being fermented within the colon, there are a bunch of other things going on. First of all, the short chain fatty acids (or the SCFA), which include propionate, acetate, and butyrate, are being created. On top of that, there are multiple gases being produced, too.
Now, SCFAs are able to be absorbed within the body while they’re in the colon. Or, if they don’t feel like doing that, they’re more than happy to stay where they are and eventually volunteer as energy through the colonic bacteria.
And SCAFs aren’t something that should be ignored, either. The benefits and uses of SCFAs include:
- They can help you absorb certain minerals
- They fuel the blood that flows to the colon
- They’re capable of increasing your nutrient circulation
- They can prevent pathogenic bacteria from growing
- They aid in the prevention of absorption of cancerous/toxic compounds.
Like we said, SCFAs kind of a big deal. The level of SCFAs that’s in our colon is connected to the different types and the amount of carbs we eat.
Do you know what you’ve been doing wrong when it comes to low carb diets?
We can put this together for you too – the more RS you eat, the more SCFAs you’ll have.
Resistant Starches and SCFAs
RS does a lot more than just make you feel good on the inside. It also helps in keeping you thin and healthy.
In fact, a group of researchers discovered that the less processed a food was, the less energy it offered in comparison to refined foods.
AKA even though whole foods and processed foods may or may not have the same amount of calories, our bodies still absorb less calories of energy when we consume whole foods.
Because RS isn’t 100% digested, our bodies only take about 2 calories of energy for every gram. Usually, it’s about 4 calories per gram from various other types of starches – but not RS.
Think about it – if you consume about 100 grams of a resistant starch, it’s really only equals out to about 200 calories. Now, if you eat 100 grams of some other type of starch, that’s about 400 calories.
Foods that are higher in resistant starch are good at making you feel full, without the bulging waistline.
But we humans mess things up sometimes, don’t we?
Yes, it’s a nasty habit of ours. We take a nice potato and turn it into a fried potato chip. Or we take healthy oats and turn them into sugary cereals.
So basically, we’ve taken something healthy and made it unhealthy. The way that we alter starchy veggies and processed grains kills the levels of RS we eat.
And then any sources of fiber from things like psyllium or wheat bran just don’t offer the same health benefits.
What does all of this mean? What are we leading up to? If you take away only one thing from this article, let it be this: In order to reap the benefits of resistant starches, you need to eat it while it’s in its whole food form.
Let’s take a look at some countries and their eating style. A lot of the more developed countries, like the US, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, have a diet based around processed foods – a lot of it. So it’s safe to say they’re eating anywhere from 3-9 grams of resistant starches every single day. In countries that are less-developed, their diets circle around more plant-based foods. So their RS intake is more. Like a lot more. Like 30-40 grams more. Every day. Kind of puts the more developed countries to shame, huh?
Starches to Eat, Resistant Starches and What To Avoid
Like we’ve been saying, RS has some seriously awesome benefits. Without further wait, here they are.
RS has been proven to assistant with lowering your blood fats and cholesterol. And while it’s doing this, it’s also been shown (in rats, at least) that is can cut back on new fat cells being produced. Pretty sweet.
Added Bonus: Because SCFAs can jumpstart breaking down carbs within the liver, RS is likely to upsurge the amount of fat we can use for energy.
We mentioned before that resistant starches can help you feel fuller for longer.
Here’s how that whole thing works – SCFA’s activate our hormones to be released. Now these hormones (like peptide YY and leptin) are the ones that make us want to eat.
Cheeseburger? Check. French fries? Yes. They make us hungry and sometimes, they make us make the wrong choice.
Now if you start adding more RS into your everyday diet, it could take up to 12 months for these hormones to understand what’s going on.
Starches: Putting it All Together
It’s also been shown that resistant starches put the brakes on nutrients being released into our bloodstream. That means your appetite is nice and level. And, because it resistant starches don’t get digested into blood sugar, your body isn’t going to have as much as a response, so less insulin will be produced.
In fact, some research has shown that RS could possibly make a difference with insulin sensitives through modifications within the fatty acid flux (this is between the muscle and fat cells).
Ghrelin levels (Internal Link) could possibly go up because of the amount of RS being consumed; therefore taming insulin sensitivities. Plus, as there’s data showing RS lowering the blood fats, this helps with insulin sensitivity (internal), too.
The perks don’t stop there, either. Suffering from things like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, ulcerative colitis (UC), or diverticulitis? We’ve got some good news for you. Adding more resistant starch to your diet can help you out. It adds more substance and water to your stool (sorry for the gross details, but it’s part of life) and this helps you have better, more regular bowel movements. Hurray!
Plus, having more SCFAs help get rid of any strange bacterial cells within your colon, boosting your absorption of certain critical minerals, like calcium.
And the list keeps going. As we touched on earlier, RS has a lot less energy from calories per gram in comparison to other starches. That means you’re going to eat less.
The concept of eating higher quality calories will save you from adding additional, lower efficiency meals to satisfy hunger.
Finally, remember how we said RS can add water to your stools (and we apologized for TMI)? Well think about that. It also helps keep you better hydrated all around. This can be super helpful for anyone that’s getting medication or treatment for diarrhea or even cholera. Your body will get hydrated faster.
Where to Get Resistant Starches
Alright, we know you’re probably reaching for your keys and getting ready to head to the nearest store. But here’s something to remember – the longer that you cook a starch, the hotter is gets. These two things factor into how much RS it has…unless it falls into the Type 3 RS category.
This category includes foods that’re cooked, then they’re cooled. Because of that cooked then cooled process, the starch within these foods actually changes its form. And the way it changes make it even more resistant to the digestive process. So this includes cooked then cooled foods like bread, cornflakes, rice, and even potatoes.
It still isn’t time to go to the grocery store yet.
Now that you know what foods are useful resistant starches and how they help your body. These critical foods are essential to any set of fitness and weight loss goals.
We’ve got one more thing to discuss – how much resistant starch you should eat in a day?
According to research, RS can be tolerated well up to 40 to 45 grams every day.
If you go overboard and start eating more than that, you’re going to know, because you’re going to feel really bloated and probably get diarrhea.
We know that certain areas of the world stay in better shape and have good health and wellness overall because they’re eating whole and unprocessed foods. These foods, like we said, include starchy veggies, grains and green legumes.
While you may start to see some results from bumping up your RS intake to 6 to 12 grams each day, try and aim for around 20 grams. If you eat a lot of plant-based foods, this will be an easy thing for you to do.
Now, remember, don’t go over 40 grams!
You want your body to feel great, not bloated and sick to your stomach. Try to avoid RS products that have been industrially produced or modified. Why? Because the digestion process has already basically been done for you with these foods. You want whole, unprocessed foods in order to get the most benefits.
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