By now, you know that overdoing carbohydrates can be bad for your health. And simple carbs can cause you to pack on the pounds, build up your belly fat and even mess with your blood sugar.
Which is why we recommend you cut back on carbs in general, and slash those simple carbs down to the bare minimum.
But there’s one little-known carb you should be eating MORE of, not less. In fact, this “fat burning carb” can help…
- improve insulin resistance
- lower blood sugar
- manage metabolism
- encourage weight loss
- support gut flora and digestion
And chances are you’ve never even heard of it before.
Resistant carbs, or resistant starches, do exactly what their names implies. They “resist” being digested. And while that might not sound like a good thing at first, it is.
Similar to soluble fiber, these prebiotics travel straight on through your stomach and small intestine to your colon intact. Once there they provide a hearty meal for your good gut bugs.
As the bacteria digest the resistant starches, they produce the short-chain fatty acid butyrate.
And that butyrate provides all kinds of unexpected health benefits, starting with feeding your colon.
Resistant carbs are kinder to your health
The cells lining your colon love butyrate. They use it as one of their main sources of energy. Which means when you eat resistant starches you help keep your colon happy and in good health.
Resistant starches also drop the pH level in your digestive tract. And they’re a powerful tool for reducing inflammation and fighting oxidative stress in your colon.
Which, according to researchers, it’s also why they may be able to help slash your risk for developing gastrointestinal disorders, colorectal cancer and heart disease.
At the same time, they can reduce your triglycerides and improve your “good” cholesterol or HDL levels.
But their benefits don’t end there.
Better blood sugar with resistant starches
Resistant starches can boost your metabolic health too. In fact, that’s where they REALLY shine.
Research shows they can lead to jaw dropping improvements in insulin sensitivity. And they do it quickly too.
In two different studies, volunteers had their insulin sensitivity skyrocket between 35 and 50 percent in just four short weeks.
And it didn’t take an entire semi-truck full of oats… a good source of resistant starches… to accomplish this incredible feat either. In fact, the volunteers took in between 15 and 30 grams a day which is equal to around two to four tablespoons of potato starch.
That means if you have metabolic syndrome, eating more resistant starches could give your own sluggish cells just the kick in the butt they need. And as a result, your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s could plummet.
But that’s not the only way resistant starches help improve glucose levels. They also lower blood sugar after eating. Which means they’re perfect for fighting off those post meal spikes that can leave you feeling lightheaded and jittery.
To figure out what the long-term impact is on the blood sugar of folks who already have type 2 diabetes we need more research. But there’s already plenty of reason to be excited.
When a group of diabetic volunteers took 40 grams of resistant starches daily for 12 weeks, their post meal blood sugars were significantly lower too.
The incredible “fat burning carb”
Yet as impressive as all that is it’s still not all resistant starches have to offer. There’s plenty of evidence that they can help us lose a little weight too.
And they tackle that task in two different ways.
First, like their kissing cousins soluble fiber, resistant starches help fill us up and keep us feeling as satisfied as a tick on a hound. That means we simply eat less without even trying. (No effort weight loss? Sign me up!)
In one study, guys ate an average of 90 calories less in a meal after consuming some resistant starch.
And second, other research has found that resistant starches may be able to bump up your metabolism a bit, making them a literal “fat burning carb.”
In a study published in the journal Nutrition and Metabolism, volunteers who got just over five percent of their carbohydrates from resistant starches had an increased fat burn of around 23 percent.
Eat more resistant starches starting today
Ready to add some more resistant starches to your own diet?
The good news is it’s not hard at all. There are three different ways to do it. Just make sure you introduce them slowly. Some folks feel bloated and gassy if they jump in too quickly.
First, you can start by eating more prebiotic-rich foods which are naturally rich in resistant starches.
A few to choose from include…
- green bananas and plantains (fully ripe ones have far less)
- kidney beans
- black beans
- garbanzo beans
- pinto beans
- potatoes and brown rice (but see below for a don’t miss trick)
Second, you can incorporate some potato starch in your diet. Experts say most folks tolerate it well (meaning not a lot of gas or bloating) and it’s an easy way to get a big punch of resistant starch.
You can find potato starch online or in natural food stores. One brand we like is Bob’s Red Mill Unmodified Potato Starch. You can swirl some into a glass of water or almond milk and drink it. Or try mixing it into your smoothies or yogurt.
And third, while we still suggest you limit the amount of potatoes and rice you’re eating you can raise the amount of resistant starch in them using a simple trick.
Cook your potatoes or rice and then put them in the fridge to cool overnight. It’s that simple.
The heating and cooling process literally transforms some of the regular starch in the foods to resistant starch. In fact, one study found it TRIPLED the amount.
With such an impressive list of benefits…. healthier gut bugs, better blood sugar, higher HDL, lower triglycerides, weight loss and more… why not give these “fat burning carbs” a try today?
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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