Resistant starch

We all know that carbohydrates are to be enjoyed in moderation, but thanks to a sneaky fat fighter known as resistant starch, you don't have to feel so guilty after over indulging.

TODAY nutritionist Joanna McMillan breaks down which carbohydrates have the highest resistant starch content which will improve digestive health and assist with weight control.

Resistant starch is a type of carbohydrate that passes through the small intestine undigested, and moves on to the large intestine where it is broken down and fermented, hence using food as energy and burning fat. It changes the order in which the body burns food. Usually carbohydrates are used first, but resistant starch seems to move fat to the top of the list to be burned for energy before it has a chance to be stored.

Resistant starch isn't stored because the tougher coating of seeds and grains it is found in make it impossible to digest. It also may be structured in a way that digestive enzymes are prevented from breaking it down - this is found in raw potatoes and unripe bananas.

Ideally, the recommended daily intake of resistant starch is 20 grams per day to obtain the health benefits related to its consumption including; digestive health, improved glycaemic response and weight control.

Resistant starch intake can be increased by the following:

  • Eat more canned or soaked legumes such as kidney beans, chickpeas and butter beans.

  • Include more intact wholegrains, seeds and cereals, in your diet e.g. oats, barley corn and linseeds.

  • Eat fruit such as bananas before it’s ripe.

  • Eat salads that have been cooked and cooled, such as potato salad, rice salad and pasta salad.

  • Look for breads and cereals with added restricted starch.
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