As I have mentioned the term ‘resistant starch’ on numerous occasions, I thought I would dedicate this next entry solely to resistant starch. What is this ‘missing’ fibre we speak of? Why do we all need it in our diets? How will it benefit you if you do consume it? How much resistant starch should I be consuming? Where on earth do I find it in the food supply system? The questions could go on!
All these questions are quite common and may be circulating your head, so lets work through them one by one together.
1. What is this ‘missing fibre’ you speak of?
Resistant starch is the newly discovered fibre. When resistant starch is consumed, it travels through the small intestine (with out being digested) and into the gut where it provides a fuel for the healthy bacteria in your body that promote good digestive health.
2. Why do we all need it in our diets?
When resistant starch reaches the gut and is fermented by the healthy bacteria that are present, a number of beneficial digestive and metabolic affects take place. Resistant starch has a prebiotic affects, helps increase stool bulk, produces short chain fatty acids (of particular interest is butyrate, that has been shown to help with cancer prevention), and increases the bodies sensitivity to insulin (so you need less of it to remove the glucose from your blood- this is a good thing!).
3. How will it benefit me if I do consume it?
By imparting the above affects, the benefits you will see include: promoting a settled stomach through improved gut health, promoting regularity through the mild laxative effect, good intestinal health, and maintaining healthy blood sugars (thereby playing a role in the prevention of lifestyle diseases such as type 2 diabetes).
4. How much resistant starch should I be consuming?
The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) have put forward a world first, believing that the research supporting the beneficial effects of resistant starch consumption is strong enough to advise Australians to aim for 20g per day. Currently consumption patterns are estimated to be around 3-9g a day, so there is certainly room to move when it comes to improving our intake!
5. Where do I find resistant starch in the food supply system?
Resistant starch is found quite readily in ‘cool carbs’; What this means is that if you cooked your potatoes, rice or pasta and then let them cool down, the resistant starch content goes up (which is of benefit to us all!). Resistant starch is also found in baked beans, lentils, and most recently, in the new grain BARLEYmax (TM) (we are proud to be a part of this one!). Another high source of resistant starch is maize (corn) based products. In Australia we had also innovatively produced Hi-Maize (TM) from a variety of maizes. This has allowed resistant starch to enter the food supply system and be quite readily available in products such as cereals, bakery products, and even sometimes dairy products.
You may like to check out this video that my fellow dietitian Dr Joanna McMillan presented on resistant starch and its benefits
As you can see, there are a number of benefits to your immediate and long term health that can come from consuming foods that are high in resistant starch. Are you meeting your daily suggested intake?