Fiber and Grains

Resistant Starch: The Carb With Health Benefits

August 15, 2018   /

Author

Anne Danahy, MS, RDN

 

For many people, the word “starch” has a negative connotation, because it is associated with carbohydrate-rich foods that provide little nutritional benefit and increase blood glucose quickly. Not all starch is created equal though. Resistant starch is a certain type of starch that provides a range of health benefits, and it deserves a closer look.

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What is resistant starch?

Resistant starch is a type of fiber found in certain starchy foods, and as its name suggests, it resists digestion and absorption in the small intestine. Instead, it passes into the large intestine intact, and acts as food for colonic bacteria, which slowly ferment it.

Dietary starch provides an important source of energy for the body, and it has varying impacts on health, depending on whether it is rapidly digestible, slowly digestible, or resistant starch.

Compared to digestible starches, resistant starch offers the following benefits:

  • The glucose in resistant starch is not absorbed into the blood stream within 120 minutes of being consumed, so it can be beneficial for improving glycemic control
  • Resistant starch provides fewer calories than other forms of starch: approximately 2 kcal per gram, so it may help to minimize energy consumption
  • Because it is fermented in the colon, it increases short chain fatty acids in the large intestine, and it helps to maintain the health of the large intestine

 

 

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