Most people eating a low to moderate carbohydrate diet for good health and to lose weight think they should avoid starchy carbs like potatoes and rice. But contrary to popular belief, you can eat rice and potatoes on a low carb diet if you let them cool down. They actually become a resistant starch when cool and will not spike your insulin levels like regular carbs do. Eating Resistant starches are great for weight loss.
What Is Resistant Starch?
Resistant starches are carbohydrates (starches) that are resistant to digestion. When you eat a carbohydrate like toast in the morning your body first starts digesting it in the stomach and your small intestine where then the sugar from the toast is put into the bloodstream. In response, your pancreas will produce insulin to reduce the amount of sugar in your blood and store it away in the form of glycogen in your muscle and liver (fructose is stored in the liver).
Resistant starches are digested differently. Just as the name sounds, they are resistant to digestion. Resistant starches are not digested in the small intestine. They go further down the digestive track and feed the good bacteria in your colon. They are kind of like a prebiotic / soluble fiber. You don’t consume all the calories per gram of carbohydrate from a resistant starch. This is why eating them is great for weight loss and gut health.
What are the benefits of resistant starches?
One of the most important benefits of eating resistant starches is it feeds the good bacteria in your colon and is responsible for the production of butyrate (Butyrate is a type of fatty acid that helps your gut work right.). Butyrate is like the superfood of the colon. Increasing butyrate levels has many health benefits. It promotes cell health in the colon, reduces inflammation, and decreases your risk for colon cancer. Having good gut flora (gut bacteria) is so important for your health.
In addition, eating cold potatoes and cold white rice can be very satisfying and can help you stick to a low to moderate carbohydrate diet, thus leading to weight loss and better insulin sensitivity.
What foods are high in resistant starch?
Some foods in their raw state like green bananas and plantains are high in resistant starches. Like I mentioned earlier, white potatoes and white rice can become a resistant starch (RS) as long as you eat them cold. Cook your rice and potatoes the day before and put them in the fridge overnight. You can warm them up a little but don’t make them hot.
There are some supplements you can add to your diet like potato starch. Bob’s Red Mill Unmodified Potato Starch (NOT potato flour) is a popular one. It has about 8 grams of RS per tablespoon.
Start incorporating RS into your diet slowly. It’s great for your gut health, can help you lose weight and contrary to popular belief, will not sabotage your low carb diet.
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