Food Focus: Resistant Starch

Resistant starch - what is it and why is it important to know? It's significant because it's starch that doesn't get metabolized and therefore doesn't get stored as fat! Interested now?

For those of you who don't know, beans (a primary source of protein for vegans) are also very high in carbohydrates, but for years nutrition scientists couldn't figure out how our bodies handled their high levels. How could we eat so many and not gain a ton of weight?

In the 1980's two of these scientists figured it out and came up with the term resistant starch. It's an unusual form that bypasses our blood and goes right into our intestines! Therefore, it acts more like a fiber than a sugar. It feeds our gut bacteria (prebiotic!), which turns into short-chain fatty acids that keep our colons healthy. One of those fatty acids called butyrate, can actually speed up our metabolism and also helps in cancer prevention!

Beans seem to be a better choice than grains when choosing complex or "slow" carbs. The types that don't quickly raise our blood sugar and then leave us crashing. Pro tip: let beans cool before you eat them to raise the level of resistant starch. This also works for other starches like potatoes and rice.

Here's a list of other foods besides beans that contain resistant starch:

  • Raw oats

  • Peas

  • Lentils

  • Pearl barley

  • Green bananas

  • Potatoes

  • Yams

  • Plantains

  • Muesli

  • Corn tortillas

  • Sourdough bread

  • Cooked millet

  • Brown rice

  • Corn

  • Chickpeas

Sources and Additional Reading:

Hyman, Dr. Mark. "Food: What The Heck Should I Eat?", 2018

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