Don’t Resist Resistant Starches

black beans, quinoa and corn chili
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Here’s a good-for-you carbohydrate that’s worth seeking out.

Resistant starches are a type of carbohydrate. More specifically, they are a type of fiber. As their name implies, they resist digestion in the small intestine. Because they are neither digested nor absorbed, they do not contribute to blood glucose — a boon for people with diabetes or prediabetes. But they benefit us in still many more ways.

In the colon, intestinal bacteria make a meal out of the resistant starch and, in the process, produce fatty acids that change the environment of the gut. The good bacteria love this new environment and thrive; the bad guys don’t fare so well. The good intestinal bacteria produce vitamins, detoxify cancer-causing compounds, activate health-promoting compounds, and guard our health in other ways. The fatty acids also promote healthy colon cells and may even improve the body’s response to insulin. Resistant starches might even help you control your weight by increasing the feeling of fullness.

So how can you get more resistant starches in your diet? Try to eat more of the following foods.

  • Beans, peas and lentils
  • Uncooked oats
  • Cooked and cooled potatoes
  • Barley
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Under-ripe bananas

Cooked and chilled potatoes, pasta and other starches tend to have more resistant starch than those that have been cooked but not cooled. Enjoy potato salad, pasta salad and other cold starchy salads in reasonable portions. Uncooked oats are also a good source of resistant starch, but cooked oats are not, though both offer great nutrition. I throw uncooked oats in with dried fruit, nuts and cinnamon to create a delicious homemade muesli. If you have rye flakes and wheat germ, toss them in too. Muesli is delicious mixed into cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, or even with just a bit of milk.

Enjoy the taste and health benefits of resistant starches!

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Jill Weisenberger
Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, CHWC, FAND, is a writer, nutrition consultant and speaker with a private practice in Newport News, VA, and is the author of four books, including the bestselling Diabetes Weight Loss – Week by Week and her newest title, Prediabetes: A Complete Guide. Follow her on social media and learn more at