How Resistant Starch Improves Your Health and Helps You Lose Weight

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One of the more curious aspects of modern science is it often times eventually confirms the wisdom of ages. In this instance, science and medicine are “discovering the critical connection between the digestive system and physical and mental conditions.

But let’s get very specific…

When the microbial flora is chronically out of balance, that sets the stage for conditions such as obesity, depression, diseases related to the bowels, anxiety and much more.

The good news is you are able to restore balance and improve your health.

Let food be thy medicine, thy medicine shall be thy food.  ~Hippocrates (460-371 BC)

When diet is wrong medicine is of no use. When diet is correct medicine is of no need.
~Ayurvedic Proverb

You see, the healthy gut bacteria need nutrition, too. They’re constantly waging battle with toxic bacteria for territory and control in your gut.

Feed the good guys! But how?

Give the good gut bacteria the right kinds of nutrition: prebiotics. In short, prebiotics are carbohydrates that you’re unable to digest. Since they cannot be digested, what happens is they keep right on going and eventually land in your colon. Where they specifically select and feed bacteria that are beneficial to you.

Prebiotics are classed into three broad categories:

1. Non-starch polysaccharides (examples: fructooligosaccharide and inulin)

2. Soluble fiber (examples: bran, oats, barley, psyllium husk)

3. Resistant starch (RS)

Each type of prebiotic feeds different species of digestive bacteria. And resistant starch has garnered the spotlight, for good reasons explained below.

Once RS reaches the large intestine, bacteria ferment the starch.

This is when the benefits of RS are made possible.


Why resistant starch should be a part of your diet:

As you have read, above, resistant starch (RS) selectively target the good gut bacteria. When this happens, these bacteria produce an important type of fatty acid called short chain fatty acids. The process of bacterial digestion is fermentation.

There are three types of fatty acids produced.

Butyrate, acetate and propionate are the three important short chain fatty acids (SCFA). Let’s single-out butyrate because research has shown that this SCFA greatly impacts the colon and health.

In addition, RS has a greater effect on butyrate production as compared to other types of soluble fibers.

The role of butyrate in overall health:

1. Cells lining the colon use butyrate as an energy source.

2. Increases metabolism (an important component for losing weight?)

3. Decreases inflammation; tons of research has been focused on the role of inflammation in disease and obesity.

4. Improves resistance to stress.

5. Provides support for cells in the colon due to its powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

6. Decreases intestinal permeability which is important for intestinal and colon wall integrity. This action serves to keep harmful toxins within the gut, where they’re supposed to be, and thus prevents them from entering the bloodstream.

7. Any excess SCFAs, such as butyrate, not used in the colon then enter the bloodstream. Once in the blood, they disperse throughout the body, and the liver, where their anti-inflammatory action can be most beneficial.

Additional benefits of resistant starch:

RS supports decreased blood sugar and insulin sensitivity. It’s critical to know that serious chronic disease states are grouped in a category called metabolic syndrome.


Insulin resistance and chronically high levels of blood sugar are closely associated with metabolic syndrome. It’s common to find the two referred to as precursors, or high risk factors, for metabolic syndrome.

A study conducted on obese and overweight (there is a clinical difference) men showed that daily intake of 15 to 30 grams of RS had a positive effect on insulin resistance.

Blood glucose response time:

A phenomenon known as the “second meal effect” is produced by consumption of RS. What happens is blood sugar levels (and insulin levels as well) rise less than the norm with later meals.


Is resistant starch a “weight loss wonder food”?

There’s no doubt that RS has properties that support weight loss. For one, remember the second meal effect you just read. Decreased insulin spikes are important because it prevents the roller coaster ride with low and high blood sugar. RS acts to decrease appetite and, most importantly, decreases the amount of fat storage capability in fat cells.

The last benefit, less fat storage ability, is due to the anti-inflammatory properties of butyrate which, as you now know, is produced when RS is ingested.

So, no, RS is not a weight loss wonder food. But it absolutely should be included in your daily diet. Resistant starch will only do your body good. And for weight loss, it will definitely help and support any other weight loss efforts.