While highly processed carbs like white bread, cookies, cakes and chips are known to contribute to weight gain, there are other carbs (high in resistant starch) that can actually help you lose weight! And they happen to be some of my favorites like pasta, potatoes and bananas. However, how they are cooked and served makes a difference.
What is resistant starch?
Resistant starch is defined as a portion of starch that cannot be digested by amylases in the small intestine and passes to the colon to be fermented by microbiota. The microbiota are the microorganisms in the human body, including those in the gastrointestinal tract. The good bacteria in the colon ferments the starch and creates short-chain fatty acid byproducts that is shown to trigger the body to burn fat instead of glucose. Recent and ongoing studies address the impact of digestion-resistant starches on the prevention and control of chronic diseases, including diabetes, colon cancer, and obesity.
Cooked legumes, peas, and cooked and cooled starchy foods are high in resistant starch.
- Pasta should be cooked “al dente” (on the hard side) and when served chilled, the change in temperature changes its structure. Wholemeal pasta (1.4 grams of resistant starch per 100 grams or 3.5 ounces) is higher in resistant starch compared to white pasta (1.1 grams).
- Bananas should be on the underripe side. As bananas ripen, the starch changes to sugar.
- Buckwheat, millet and brown rice contain 1.7 to 1.8 grams of resistant starch per 100 grams (3.5 ounces).
- Raw oats and muesli (discussed in my award winning book: Beyond The Mediterranean diet: European Secrets Of The Super-Healthy) are excellent sources of resistant starch (3.3 grams per 100 grams). Check out my recipe for overnight oats here: https://www.worldrd.com/overnight-oats-cherries-pecans/
- Lentils are also an excellent source (3.4 grams per 100 grams) as are other beans and peas. Here is a simple and delicious lentil soup recipe: https://www.worldrd.com/healthy-lentil-soup-recipe/