Are resistant starch foods good for diabetes?

Published on: 03/23/2022
bowl of potato salad

What is resistant starch and is it good for diabetes?

Have you ever heard of resistant starch foods?

Resistant starch is a type of fiber that can’t be digested in the small intestine. That’s where most foods including starch is digested and absorbed, and then enters our blood stream. Resistant starch goes to the large intestine, also called our colon, where it is fermented by bacteria, which means its food for the good bacteria of our gut. So resistant starch is a prebiotic type of food.

Why should we care about resistant starch?

Resistant starch foods can be healthy for you in several ways.

  • improve your digestive health
  • improve insulin sensitivity and lower after meal blood sugars
  • help you feel full so you eat less
  • reduces inflammation
  • help lower LDL cholesterol

What foods have resistant starch?

What’s interesting about this answer is that one of the foods high in resistant starch is one of the foods most avoided when we are trying to lose weight or control blood sugars. Potatoes are actually high in resistant starch, but only if you cook them and then cool them before eating.

Other foods that have naturally occurring resistant starch include barley, rice, beans, legumes, and bananas. But . . . the key is how they are prepared or what form you eat them in.

For example bananas must be unripe green bananas to have resistant starch.

How do I actually work these foods into my weekly meals?

Well according to the research article I read, 15 grams/day is the recommended amount for the health benefits.  It is estimated that in the United States we get just under 5 grams of resistance starch daily, on average.

In the research the resistance starch was added as a functional food.  An example of that would be Bob’s Red Mill potato starch, which has about 8 grams resistant starch per tablespoon.

If you decide to intentionally add resistant starch foods into your meal plan consider foods such as potato salad or other dishes where potatoes or white rice are cooked and then cooled.  Beans are a common resistant starch food but you will notice in the notes below that black beans, for example need to be cooked, then chilled for at least 24 hours in order for the resistant starch to form.

Oats is another odd food. Oatmeal cooked does not have much resistant starch, whereas overnight oats is a great source.

If you do add these foods into your meal plan for blood sugar benefit, I would recommend testing it out by checking blood sugar at 2 hours after the start of your meal. I will definitely be doing some experimenting and testing my blood sugar with these foods to see the effect!

For the same standard serving (100 grams),  these are the amounts of resistant starch in foods: 

1-2 grams resistant starch: barley, oatmeal bread

2-3 grams resistant starch: green banana, mixed grain bread, black beans that have been cooked and stored for 24-96 hours, pinto beans and white beans, hard shell corn tortillas

3-4 grams resistant starch: rye bread, sourdough wheat bread, russet or red potatoes that have been cooked then chilled, then reheated, kidney beans

4+ grams resistant starch: yellow potatoes, cooked butter beans, lima beans, overnight oats (rolled oats), semolina, rice cereal squares

Bottom line is that we may hear more about resistant starch foods in the future but for now maybe potato salad isn’t as bad as we thought!

I think I will be making this red potato salad recipe this weekend!

If you are in need of meal planning help for weight loss or diabetes or other health conditions, contact Karen about her 3-Month Membership Program. 

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Thanks for visiting my blog!

I’m Karen, a diabetes nutrition specialist who is passionate about fighting diabetes for my clients, my family, and myself.

I hope you find food ideas and answers to some of your questions here in my articles. But if you are looking for more personalized help with nutrition or diabetes please check out my services page.

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