Carbohydrates – Resistant Starch

Resistant starch is a type of fibre occurring naturally in foods such as green bananas and uncooked potatoes, in cooled, cooked foods such as bread, potatoes or rice used in sushi and also in nuts, seeds and legumes.

These starches can assist with weight loss as well as with increasing insulin resistance and improving digestive and eye health. They protect against weight gain by decreasing hunger and increasing metabolism (hence fat burning properties). They can also be substituted for more rapidly digested foods with higher calories (eg processed flour, white rice etc).

Examples of foods containing resistant starch are oats, which release energy slowly during the day and can help to lower cholesterol levels, potatoes, quinoa, barley, brown rice (contains B vitamins too to help you to burn calories) and wonderful beans of all types and colours. 

Bananas, including cooked plantains (have you tried them with fish?), are brilliant at assisting with weight loss as well as providing vitamins and minerals, such as potassium. Green bananas have more of this undigestible fibre than ripe ones.

Green plantains (cooking bananas). Delicious when cooked with fish or sprinkled with cheese.Green plantains (cooking bananas). Delicious when cooked with fish or sprinkled with cheese.

How Does Resistant Starch Work?

So named because it resists digestion in the small intestine, this complex carbohydrate helps you to lose weight by reducing the calories that you absorb from food containing it. About ten percent of the total carbohydrate content in foods that contain it, it slows down your digestion so that you feel fuller for longer, hence not hungry.

It also is fermented in the large intestine by bacteria, thus using energy and keeping gut flora healthy whilst increasing levels of hormones (peptides and adiponectin), which have the effect  of making you feel more satiated.

This really is good news, as it also to regulate insulin resistance and control appetite, whilst preventing the absorption of some calories.

The reason for scientists advocating cold versions of beneficial RS is that, when cooked and chilled, they develop crystals which resist digestion even more than when in their warm/hot state. This extra advantage is lost when foods are re-heated.

Optimum levels of this special carbohydrate should be about five percent of total carbohydrate intake, so not much, really.

If you are wanting to learn a few weight loss tricks, this could be one of them. For example, breakfast could include a small banana on raw oats, with sugar free yoghurt, your lunchtime sandwich could be made from wholegrain bread (or buy sushi) and dinner might include chicken rolled in a sesame seed based dukkah, brown rice or a low cal potato salad. Snack on a few nuts, a monkey banana or that tiny sushi left over from last night. By all means go for green bananas if you can stand them!

I am sure that you could expand on this line of thinking. Please share your tricky ideas below?

Next:  Monounsaturated fats and anti-oxidants for weight loss.

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