Christine Rigby looks at your gut. More specifically, she looks so far into your gut that she can see starch passing into your colon.
I had heard about these amazing things called resistant starches, so for entirely selfish reasons, I went in search of them… or at least, everything about them.
The thinkers in the gut are the hordes of bacteria that outnumber our bodily cells 10 to 1 and, just like we do, they need fuel to perform optimally.
Most foods we eat are very easily broken down in the stomach and small intestine by various enzymes whose job is to convert our food into simple structures and ready them for rapid absorption by nearby cells.
When a starch is allowed to pass into the colon, the incredibly hungry and resourceful bacteria there break them down into different, more complex forms, such as short chain fatty acids. These include the colon cell favourite, butyric acid, which has known antimicrobial and anti-carcinogenic properties in humans, leading to increased immune function and decreased inflammation. And that’s only one of the products of deep bowel digestion!
There are technically four different types of resistant starches, but as their separate interactions with our gut flora have not yet been differentiated, we will focus on the collective range of effects these colonic fermentation sessions can have on your health and wellbeing. This will prime you for drooling over the list of places to find resistant starch at the bottom of the article.
- Not only does the consumption of resistant starch (RS) lower fasting blood glucose in the long haul, but it also reduces the blood glucose response to food (the “spike”), and has even been said to have a “second meal” effect, meaning it will continue to keep the blood glucose low during the following meal. The net result of this support system tends to be improved insulin sensitivity.
- Studies have shown that consumption of RS increases the body’s ability to oxidise lipids (burn fat). Yes.
- RS has fewer calories than regular starches, yet leads to increased feelings of fullness…basically the perfect plate date.
- RS definitely feeds good bacteria (i.e. via butyrate as discussed above) and may expel bad bacteria, as current research is exploring.
As knowledge about this new powerhouse evolves, the “cheat code” to RS loading has been Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch, weighing in at 8g per tablespoon, but there are plenty of whole food options, as well. Cooked or cooked-then-cooled red and black beans, potatoes, rice, cassava (yuca) and plantains are my favourite options.
A complete list of RS-laden foods can be found in Free The Animal’s infamous PDF, here. CHRISTINE RIGBY
* Christine is a licensed Respiratory Therapist whose only medical practice is upon her own personal biome, as she continues to discover what it means to be human by doing it every day. Christine works at a small start-up and a large bike company in Auckland, where she can be found carefully launching down its volcanic mountain roads and dodging prehistoric driving habits on her bicycle.This is her first blog for Doctor Feelgood.