Don’t Resist Resistant Starches

Don’t Resist Resistant Starches

Kryptonite takes the starch out of Superman; the color yellow puts a wrinkle in the power of the Green Lantern’s super-ring; and Hourman (really!) becomes, well, starchless 60 minutes after evoking the power of Miraclo. But these superheros’ sagging powers are nothing compared to what happens to you if you take the resistant starch out of your diet!

Resistant starch is a form of fiber that’s not digested in the small intestine and is found in legumes, bananas, seeds, and 100 percent whole grains. Its superpowers? It helps stabilize glucose levels, feeds good-for-you gut bacteria, and makes you feel full by contributing to the intestinal production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), such as acetate, propionate and butyrate. 

Butyrate is the major energy source for colon cells. Propionate is largely taken up by the liver. Acetate is metabolized by peripheral tissue. And according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology, specific SCFAs may reduce the risk of developing gastrointestinal disorders, cancer, and even cardiovascular disease.

Most Americans get only about 16g of total fiber daily—just over half the recommended amount—and in those 16g only about 3g to 8g is resistant starch. To get the resistant starch you need, enjoy 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies and 2 servings of 100 percent whole grains daily; include beans in one meal a day; go for that banana on your steel cut oatmeal; and munch a handful of chia or sunflower seeds for an afternoon snack. Pow! Your superpowers are back!

Medically reviewed in August 2018.

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