What if I told you that simply changing how you eat three common heathy foods (foods you’re probably already eating, or should be eating) could turn them into “weight-loss-wonder” foods? Would that be interesting to you?
That’s what I thought.
Here’s the deal. Not all carbs are created equal. Sure, you know there’s a difference between sugar and fiber. Most people are familiar with distinctions like “simple” versus “complex” carbs. But have you heard of “resistant starch”?
Don’t worry, most people haven’t, but that’s why we’re here.
Resistant starch is aptly named because it’s a type of carbohydrate that “escapes” digestion. That is, we don’t have the ability to digest resistant starch in the small intestine (like other carbs). That also means we don’t absorb any calories from it. Calorie-free carb? Yessir!
Editor’s Note: 17 White Foods For a Flat Stomach
Not only does it reduce the calorie content of a food, it also reduces the insulin response to a meal and improves insulin sensitivity. Boom! But that’s not even the half of it. There’s a literal laundry list of benefits attributed to resistant starch.
Because I’m a science geek fascinated by this stuff, I was going to go study by study and spell them out, but I know not all of us “got time for that.” Instead, I’m just going to lay them out in a bulleted list because, well, there’s a good chance that will catch your eye, and believe me, resistant starch is quite the catch.
So, here’s that list… Resistant starch has been shown to:1
- Increase metabolic rate and energy expenditure
- Reduce the caloric density of food
- Decrease the glycemic response to a meal
- Reduce the insulin response to a meal
- Improve insulin sensitivity
- Increase satiety or satisfaction
- Reduce hunger
- Decrease food intake
- Increase fat burning
- Decrease fat storage
- Preserve calorie-burning muscle mass
- Promote weight loss
- Enhance laxation
- Increase the uptake of minerals (e.g., calcium)
Wowzers! “Anything else?” you might be thinking. Yes, there’s actually more.
Resistant starch also acts as a “prebiotic” fiber. Because it’s not digested in the small intestine, it passes along to the colon where it is fermented by gut bacteria. In other words, resistant starch serves as “food” for the good bacteria in the digestive tract. That’s a good thing—a really good thing.
For instance, a byproduct of this fermentation process is the production of butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid, and this bad boy does a ton for overall health. For instance, it serves as fuel for our immune system, helps promote a healthy inflammatory response, supports a healthy intestinal lining, and get this, it stimulates the release of appetite-crushing hormones.
So, naturally, the question becomes…where do you go about finding resistant starch? Great question.
Here are my top 3 sources of resistant starch. As you’ll see, chances are you may have been eating them the “wrong” way all along. But that’s okay; I’ll let the cat out of the bag, giving you the skinny on exactly how you should eat them to unleash their hidden potential.
1. Green, unripe bananas. A single unripe green banana contains as much as 6 grams of resistant starch.2 In fact, unripe bananas are known to be the non-manufactured food with the highest resistant starch content.3 During the ripening process, however, enzymes convert resistant starch into sugar. To get the most resistant starch, choose green, unripe bananas.
2. Potatoes that have been cooked and then cooled. Generally speaking, cooking foods makes starches more digestible, and that’s the case for potatoes. However, when potatoes are cooked (e.g., boiled) and then cooled, those starches become resistant to digestion (resistant starch). Raw potatoes are also rich in resistant starch, but eating cold potato salad is much tastier.4
3. Raw, uncooked oats. Like I said, cooking foods dramatically increases the digestible starch. That’s true for oats. In fact, raw, uncooked oats contain about 55 times more resistant starch than cooked oats.2,5
So, there you have it, friends. Change the way you eat these three foods and unleash the metabolism-boosting, hunger-busting, fat-burning power of resistant starch!