Resistant Starch shows significant promise for weight loss, thermogenesis (burning fat) colon health, insulin management, and glycemic control. But what is it?
There are traditionally 2 types of Fiber:
- Soluble Fiber
- Insoluble Fiber
But you may not have heard about a 3rd type of fiber called resistant starch or RS for short. Starch is composed of a number of carbohydrates, or sugars, that are linked together. The straight-chain variety is called amylose. There is even an enzyme is saliva (and also the pancrease) called amylase that helps begin to break down these sugars so that our bodies can use them for energy. The branched-chain variety is called amylopectin.
Amylose, as mentioned above, is a straight chain and able to be packaged very tightly by stacking them one on top of the other. When they are arranged in this manner, they are very resistant to being broken down by enzymes. Thus, they are "Resistant Starch". Amylopectin is not able to be stacked in this manner due to its multiple branches.
There are 4 varieties of RS:
- RS1 - physically inaccessible. Found in seeds & legumes & unprocessed whole grains
- RS2 - these occur in their natural, granular form. Found in uncooked potato, green banana flour, & high amylose corn
- RS3 - produced by the cooking, and then cooling, of starchy foods. Examples include bread, corn flakes, cooked & chilled potatoes
- RS4 - chemically modified. They are NOT found in nature and they have many different structures.
It is called 'Resistant Starch' because it does not get broken down in the stomach or small intestine. Instead, it gets transported to the colon (large intestine) where it is broken down by colonic bacteria. This has a variety of benefits because this increases satiety (makes you feel full) and decreases the glycemic index of foods. Again, more on this in the coming days.
Resistant Starch shows promise for numerous reasons and in a variety of conditions. They appear to improve colon health (by a variety of mechanisms), increase weight loss, change the way glucose is metabolized, promote fat burning, increase insulin sensitivity, improve glycemic control, and decrease calories. I will be discussing each of these in more detail over the next several days.
Leslie Bonci, RD is the author of the American Diabetic Association's Guide to Better Digestion and she stated "Resistant Starch has the potential to become the next nutritional trend".
Maybe we should get on board.