Every so often a buzz surrounds a particular food or ingredient and its supposed health benefits. Resistant starch has garnered hype lately in nutrition circles, and several people have asked me how it fits into The Virgin Diet.
I was impressed with resistant starch’s numerous benefits. Among them include:
- Curbing your appetite for fast fat loss
- Improving insulin sensitivity and lowering blood sugar levels
- Improving gut health
One study noted resistant starch makes “an attractive dietary target for the prevention of diseases associated with dyslipidemia and insulin resistance as well as the development of weight loss diets and dietary therapies for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.”
What Makes Resistant Starch Different than Other Carbohydrates?
Resistant starch performs much like soluble fiber. If you’ve read my books or blog, you know I’m a huge fan of fiber to improve satiety, curb appetite and cravings, and keep you regular among other things. On The Virgin Diet, I want you to get 50 grams of fiber daily from high-fiber foods and a high-quality supplement.
So any ingredient that provides similar benefits to fiber certainly gets my attention.
Here’s where resistant starch becomes unique. Most carbohydrates begin breaking down in your mouth (via salivary amylase) and continue in your stomach and small intestine.
Resistant starch resists digestion (hence its name) and remains intact till it arrives in your colon, which breaks down that resistant starch to short-chain fatty acids that colon cells then use for energy.
Resistant Starch for a Healthy Gut
Resistant starch also works as a prebiotic, much like inulin does: It feeds your healthy gut flora. Other gut benefits include reduced inflammation, therefore lowering your risk for numerous conditions including Crohn’s, constipation, and diarrhea.
Resistant Starch to Curb Your Appetite & Improve Blood Sugar Support
That it can also balance blood sugar and boost satiety are nice “bonuses” of resistant starch. Stabilized blood sugar and improved insulin sensitivity means you don’t struggle with hunger or cravings so you’re less likely to nose-dive into that box of glazed donuts your coworker brought into the office.
My friend Kris Gunnars notes several studies that found a 33 – 50% improvement in insulin sensitivity when folks consumed 15 – 30 grams of resistant starch over four weeks. That’s pretty impressive.
My Take: Is Resistant Starch a “Magic Bullet” for Fat Loss & Other Health Benefits?
Improved gut health, satiety, and insulin sensitivity are among the many reasons experts have lately hyped resistant starch. But before you head to your nearest grocery store and stock up, consider that high-fiber foods can provide many of these same benefits.
Furthermore, many resistant-starch foods are either too high in sugar (like plantains) or can potentially create reactions (corn, pasta, cereals) and are off-limits on The Virgin Diet.
I would rather see you load up on lower-glycemic, high-fiber foods like avocado, leafy greens, raspberries, and quinoa. Legumes provide a double benefit: They’re high in fiber and resistant starch, making them a win-win.
Gluten-free potato starch provides an excellent source of resistant starch to use as a thickener for soups, stews, or anywhere else a recipe calls for flour. According to Bob’s Red Mill, one of my most-trusted brands, 3/4 cup of potato starch equals one cup of wheat flour.
Still, I’m not so quick to embrace resistant starch as a “miracle food.” The best way to lose fat fast, balance hormones, and reduce symptoms like fatigue and headaches is by addressing food intolerances, doing burst training coupled with weight resistance, getting 7 -9 hours’ sleep, controlling stress, and eating lean protein, healthy fats, leafy and cruciferous veggies, and slow-release high-fiber starches like quinoa and legumes.
Do you consider resistant starch a major benefit or the latest hype for fat loss, blood sugar balance, and gut health? If you’ve used resistant starch or have an opinion about it, share it below or on my Facebook fan page.
© 2014 JJ Virgin & Associates, Inc. Celebrity Nutrition & Fitness Expert JJ Virgin helps clients lose weight fast by breaking free from food intolerances. She is author of New York Times Bestsellers The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods, Lose 7 Pounds, Just 7 Days and The Virgin Diet Cookbook: 150 Easy and Delicious Recipes to Lose Weight and Feel Better Fast. JJ is also bestselling author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy, a Huffington Post blogger, creator of the 4X4 Burst Training Workout, and co-star of TLC’s Freaky Eaters. Learn more at www.jjvirgin.com.