If you’re trying to lose weight, you might be led to believe that you need to give up carbohydrates as is the modus operandi of low-carb, paleo, and keto pundits. But, the reality is that consuming the right types of carbohydrates can actually enhance your weight loss results during your transformation challenge!
More specifically, consuming carbohydrate sources that are rich in resistant starch can help slow digestion, improve fullness, and support weight loss.
What is Resistant Starch?
Resistant starch is a type of prebiotic fiber that “resists” digestion. What this means is that it passes through the stomach and small intestine relatively intact and is then fermented in the large intestine.
As these special fibers ferment they act as a prebiotic, feeding the good bacteria in the gut, which has a whole host of beneficial downstream effects in the body that support immunity, cognitive function and even the appearance of your skin.
There are several different types of resistant starch and some foods can even contain different types of resistant starch.
What Foods Contain Resistant Starch?
Resistant starch can be found in:
- Cooked and cooled rice
- Cooked and cooled potatoes
- Unripe bananas
How Does Resistant Starch Support Weight Loss
#1 Boosts Satiety
As we mentioned at the outset, resistant starch is a type of fiber. Foods high in fiber help slow digestion, which gives your brain added time to sense that it’s gotten enough food. This ultimately helps you consume less calories at meal time and thus less likely to overeat throughout the day.
In fact, some studies indicate that consuming ~30 grams of resistant starch per day can reduce hunger hormones (e.g. ghrelin) as well as decrease mindless snacking.
#2 Enhances Fat Burning
Not only may increasing the amount of resistant starch and fiber you consume each day help reduce calorie intake, it may also increase the amount of body fat burned.
Research notes that replacing a portion of daily carbohydrate intake with resistant starch can significantly increase fat oxidation (“fat burning”) after a meal.
#3 Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin sensitivity is a measure of how receptive or efficient the body's cells are in response to insulin -- the primary nutrient shuttling hormone in the body.
Better insulin sensitivity means that the body is better able to utilize and store carbohydrates, which ultimately bodes well for performance, body composition, and overall cardiometabolic health.
A 2019 systematic review and meta-analysis found that individuals who consumed 10–15 grams of resistant starch per day had greater insulin sensitivity, lower fasting insulin, and better blood glucose levels.
#4 Supports a Healthy Gut
Just as we need high-quality foods to thrive, so too do the bacteria in our gut. Resistant starch acts as a primetime fuel source for our gut bacteria that supports digestive health and metabolism.
What’s more, research shows that consuming resistant starch may help reduce levels of bad bacteria, promoting a happier, healthier digestive system, which ultimately helps boost overall health & wellness.
Resistant starch is a type of prebiotic fiber found in both human and animal studies to slow digestion, improve glucose metabolism, reduce abdominal fat and lower cholesterol. It can be found in many foods, particularly starchy foods that are cooked and then cooled (e.g. potatoes, rice, etc.).
When looking to increase your resistant starch intake, take things slowly as slamming your body with a bolus dose of fiber when you’re not used to consuming a lot can lead to GI distress. Some ways you can incorporate resistant starch into your day include, replacing some of the flour in your baked goods with potato starch or plantain flour. You can also add lentils to soups or salads as well as cook a batch of rice and then put it in the refrigerator to cool. Then, when it’s meal time, divide out the portion you need for your meal and store the rest.
For additional fiber supplementation during the day, you can also incorporate a fiber supplement, such as 1UP FIber Plus, which includes 8 grams of natural fiber along with vitamin C and probiotics for appetite suppression, healthy digestion, and weight loss support.
One last thing to keep in mind is that while resistant starch can help reduce calorie intake and increase the percentage of energy burned from fat during the day, it’s still helpful to track your overall calorie intake, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. Luckily, tracking your food and logging your macros has never been easier thanks to the 1UP Fitness App which is available on both Apple and Google Play.
With just a few simple clicks our Fitness App allows you to easily enter the foods you eat so that you can make sure you’re eating in accordance with your performance and physique goals. You can also access our extensive exercise database as well as our private Facebook group to get free advice, coaching and support from other like-minded individuals.
- Maziarz MP, Preisendanz S, Juma S, Imrhan V, Prasad C, Vijayagopal P. Resistant starch lowers postprandial glucose and leptin in overweight adults consuming a moderate-to-high-fat diet: a randomized-controlled trial. Nutr J. 2017;16(1):14. Published 2017 Feb 21. doi:10.1186/s12937-017-0235-8
- Higgins JA, Higbee DR, Donahoo WT, Brown IL, Bell ML, Bessesen DH. Resistant starch consumption promotes lipid oxidation. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2004;1(1):8. Published 2004 Oct 6. doi:10.1186/1743-7075-1-8
- Wang, Y., Chen, J., Song, YH. et al. Effects of the resistant starch on glucose, insulin, insulin resistance, and lipid parameters in overweight or obese adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nutr. Diabetes 9, 19 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41387-019-0086-9
- Zhang, L., Ouyang, Y., Li, H. et al. Metabolic phenotypes and the gut microbiota in response to dietary resistant starch type 2 in normal-weight subjects: a randomized crossover trial. Sci Rep 9, 4736 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-38216-9