By Heather Callaghan
A recent review found that the starchy foods you love – the ones that are rich in resistant starch – may benefit your health in very necessary ways. If you’ve been let down by the “low-carb” fad that just won’t die – you’ll definitely want to read this…
“Resistant starch” is a term that’s just now being bandied about as it relates to “prebiotics” and foods that help support beneficial gut bacteria. But if it weren’t for the recent interest in the microbiome, then I’m afraid your favorite carbo-licious foods like potatoes, bananas, and untarnished grains would still be banished to the waste bin of dietary history. And that would be a grievous shame. Because starchy foods provide benefits in the gut we are only just now starting to understand.
Wiley Online Library reports:
A new comprehensive review examines the potential health benefits of resistant starch, a form of starch that is not digested in the small intestine and is therefore considered a type of dietary fibre.
There has been increasing research interest in resistant starch, with a large number of human studies published over the last 10 years looking at a variety of different health outcomes such as postprandial glycaemia, satiety, and gut health. The review summarises reported effects and explores the potential mechanisms of action that underpin them. For example, there is consistent evidence that consumption of resistant starch can aid blood sugar control. It has also been suggested that resistant starch can support gut health and enhance satiety via increased production of short chain fatty acids.
Dr. Stacey Lockyer, co-author of the Nutrition Bulletin review said:
Resistant starch is a type of dietary fiber that increases the production of short chain fatty acids in the gut, and there have been numerous human studies reporting its impact on different health outcomes.
Whilst findings support positive effects on some markers, further research is needed in most areas to establish whether consuming resistant starch can confer significant benefits that are relevant to the general population; however this is definitely an exciting area of nutritional research for the future.
Canola oil, on the other hand, has long-chain fatty acids that have been found to destroy the sphingomyelin surrounding nerve cells in the brain and wreak other havoc.
Additionally, most Americans definitely don’t get the recommended 30g of daily fiber and fiber supplements have proven to be disastrous (making peopled more stopped up). Starch foods have historically been the way humans get much of this natural fiber, but both extremes of the modern SAD diet and its corresponding health diet advice have snipped these foods right out as if they don’t matter at all. Supporting healthy bacteria and gut health is attributed to starch foods in the above review.
But guess what?
There is a doctor who has studied and recommended starch all along – yes, even to diabetics. Starch enthusiasts, it should be noted, purposely don’t mix starchy carbs with fats, oils or meats because it creates an overflow of sugars in the blood and it’s the fat that causes insulin resistance. So, that definitely rules donuts and other pastries out.
Here is Dr. John McDougall, author of The Starch Solution in his riveting TEDx talk that runs over most of the trendy health advice of today. We share it here in the interest of discourse.
One thing that should be noted before hopping on to the starch bandwagon – there really are legitimate reasons to abandon American wheat, most corn and non-organic oats in modern times. It’s not to throw out one of the world’s most time-honored dietary staples. It’s only because the original foods barely exist anymore and there really is more harm than good in taking the risk of eating and mutated wheat, GMOs and glyphosate. Organic rice is best due to the influx of arsenic winding up in rice. It’s like this – high veggie/fruit eaters need to worry about pesticides since they are eating more of the foods sprayed with them – and high starch eaters should definitely take note of heavy metal and GMO contamination. That, however, doesn’t mean we should do away with the entire food group.
Explore: It’s Not Just the Gluten!
One of my absolute favorite foods high in starch (besides potatoes) are fries made from yucca root – it’s basically all starch and oh, so satisfying especially with some organic ketchup, herbs and sea salt. Cut a slit down the waxed peel of the root and peel off. Slice in half lengthwise and pull the stringy core out. Chop into fries and prepare as french fries either in the oven or fry in a pan – try it!
I also bought a bag of potato resistant starch and I add it to thicken soups, in gluten-free recipes and anytime I feel I need more starch in my life. Perhaps on those winter days where a fruit/veggie smoothie lacks comfort we can add some starch in our smoothies or enjoy starchy foods at lunch to carry us through the day. It’s a very filling practice and, I believe, helps me avoid sugary temptations. I also think adding starches back has helped my digestion and energy.
What’s your favorite starch? Have you been let down by low-carb dieting or other diets that demonize legumes, bean, grains, potatoes and fruit? (Basically all diet fads today?) Did you finally add starches back – what happened? What did you think of the TED talk? Let us know below!
Check out the review on foods rich in resistant starch and tell me what you think below – don’t forget to share and let your friends off the low-carb hook!
DISCLAIMER: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.