Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
26 Mar

The Definitive Guide to Resistant Starch

FloursA few years back, I briefly covered a throwaway Yahoo! article about how “carbs will make you lose weight” because so many readers had emailed about it. It turned out that the “carbs” in the article were resistant starch, a type of carbohydrate that our digestive enzymes cannot break down. I’ll admit now, with regret, that I didn’t look as deeply into the matter as I might have. I didn’t dismiss resistant starch, but I did downplay its importance, characterizing it as “just another type of prebiotic” – important but not necessary so long as you were eating other fermentable fibers. While technically true, we’re fast learning that resistant starch may be a special type of prebiotic with a special place in the human diet.

Before I go any further, though, a series of hat tips to Richard Nikoley, Tatertot Tim, and Dr. BG, whose early and ongoing research into the benefits, real-world implications, and clinical applications of resistant starch have proved to be a real asset for the ancestral health community. Oh, and I even hear tell that they’re writing a book on the subject. Interesting…

In subsequent Dear Mark articles, I’ve since given resistant starch a closer, more substantial look, and today I’m going to give it the definitive guide treatment.

What Is Resistant Starch?

When you think about “starch,” what comes to mind?

Glucose. Carbs. Elevated blood sugar. Insulin spikes. Glycogen repletion. Basically, we think about starch that we (meaning our host cells) can digest, absorb, and metabolize as glucose (for better or worse).

Officially, resistant starch is “the sum of starch and products of starch degradation not absorbed in the small intestine of healthy individuals.” Instead of being cleaved in twain by our enzymes and absorbed as glucose, resistant starch (RS) travels unscathed through the small intestine into the colon, where colonic gut flora metabolize it into short chain fatty acids. Thus, it’s resistant to digestion by the host.

There are four types of resistant starch:

RS Type 1 – Starch bound by indigestible plant cell walls; found in beans, grains, and seeds.

RS Type 2 – Starch that is intrinsically indigestible in the raw state due to its high amylose content; found in potatoes, bananas, plantains, type 2 RS becomes accessible upon heating.

RS Type 3 – Retrograded starch; when some starches have been cooked, cooling them (fridge or freezer) changes the structure and makes it more resistant to digestion; found in cooked and cooled potatoes, grains, and beans.

RS Type 4 – Industrial resistant starch; type 4 RS doesn’t occur naturally and has been chemically modified; commonly found in “hi-maize resistant starch.”

It’s almost certain that different RS types have somewhat different effects on our gut flora, but the specifics have yet to be fully elucidated. In general, RS (of any type) acts fairly similarly across the various types.

Where Do We Get It?

We can get RS from food. The richest food sources are raw potatoes, green bananas, plantains, cooked-and-cooled potatoes, cooked-and-cooled-rice, parboiled rice, and cooked-and-cooled legumes.

We can get RS from supplementary isolated starch sources. The best sources are raw potato starch, plantain flour, green banana flour, and cassava/tapioca starch. Raw (not sprouted) mung beans are a good source of RS, so mung bean starch (commonly available in Asian grocers) will probably work, too.

The most reliable way to get lots of RS, fast, is with raw potato starch. There are about 8 grams of RS in a tablespoon of the most popular brand: Bob’s Red Mill Unmodified Potato Starch. It’s also available at Whole Foods.

For an exhaustive compendium of RS sources, check out this PDF from Free the Animal.

What Does It Do for Us?

Like any other organism, gut bacteria require sustenance. They need to eat, and certain food sources are better than others. In essence, RS is top-shelf food for your gut bugs. That’s the basic – and most important – function of RS.

What Are the Health Benefits of Consuming RS?

What does the research say?

Preferentially feeds “good” bacteria responsible for butyrate production. It even promotes greater butyrate production than other prebiotics. Since the resident gut flora produce the butyrate, and everyone has different levels of the different flora, the degree of butyrate production varies according to the individual, but resistant starch consistently results in lots of butyrate across nearly every subject who consumes it. Butyrate is crucial because it’s the prime energy source of our colonic cells (almost as if they’re designed for steady exposure to butyrate!), and it may be responsible for most of the other RS-related benefits.

Improves insulin sensitivity. Sure enough, it improves insulin sensitivity, even in people with metabolic syndrome.

Improves the integrity and function of the gut. Resistant starch basically increases colonic hypertrophy, making it more robust and improving its functionality. It also inhibits endotoxin from getting into circulation and reduces leaky gut, which could have positive ramifications on allergies and autoimmune conditions.

Lowers the blood glucose response to food. One reason some people avoid even minimal amounts of carbohydrate is the blood glucose response; theirs is too high. Resistant starch lowers the postprandial blood glucose spike. This reduction may also extend to subsequent meals.

Reduces fasting blood sugar. This is one of the most commonly mentioned benefits of RS, and the research seems to back it up.

Increases satiety. In a recent human study, a large dose of resistant starch increased satiety and decreased subsequent food intake.

May preferentially bind to and expel “bad” bacteria. This is only preliminary, but there’s evidence that resistant starch may actually treat small intestinal bacterial overgrowth by “flushing” the pathogenic bacteria out in the feces. It’s also been found to be an effective treatment for cholera when added to the rehydration formula given to patients; the cholera bacteria attach themselves to the RS granules almost immediately for expulsion.

Enhances magnesium absorption. Probably because it improves gut function and integrity, resistant starch increases dietary magnesium absorption.

What do user anecdotes say?

Improves body composition. I’ve heard reports of lowered body fat and increased lean mass after supplementing with or increasing dietary intake of RS. Seeing as how RS consumption promotes increased fat oxidation after meals, this appears to be possible or even likely.

Improves thyroid function. Many RS supplementers have noted increases in body temperature, a rough indicator of thyroid function.

Improves sleep, conferring the ability to hold and direct (in real time) private viewings of vivid movie-esque dreams throughout the night. I’ve noticed this too and suspect it has something to do with increased GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) from the increased butyrate. Another possibility is that resistant starch is feeding serotonin-producing gut bacteria, and the serotonin is being converted to melatonin when darkness falls.

Increases mental calm. Many people report feeling very “zen” after increasing RS intake, with reductions in anxiety and perceived stress. The latest science indicates that our gut flora can impact our brain, and specific probiotics are being explored as anti-anxiety agents, so these reports may very well have some merit.

Are There Any Downsides?

For all the success stories, the message boards are also rife with negative reactions to RS. They take it, maybe too much to start, and get gas, bloating, cramping, diarrhea or constipation, a sense of “blockage,” headaches, and even heartburn. I think RS supplementation may be a good measuring stick for the health of your gut. Folks with good gut function tend to respond positively, while people with compromised guts respond poorly. The gas, bloating, cramps and everything else are indicators that your gut needs work. But it’s not the “fault” of resistant starch, per se.

What to do if you’re one of the unlucky ones? You’ve got a few options:

You could skip it altogether. I think this is unwise, personally, because the role of fermentable fibers, including RS, in the evolution of the human gut biome/immune system has been monumental and frankly irreplaceable. There’s a lot of potential there and we’d be remiss to ignore it.

You could incorporate probiotics. You need the guys that eat the RS to get the benefits of consuming RS. And sure, you have gut flora – we all do, for the most part, except after colonic sterilization before a colonoscopy or a massive round of antibiotics, maybe – but you don’t have the right kinds. Probiotics, especially the soil-based ones (the kind we’d be exposed to if we worked outside, got our hands dirty, and generally lived a human existence closer to that of our ancient ancestors), really seem to mesh well with resistant starch.

You should reduce the dose. Some people can jump in with a full 20-30 grams of RS and have no issues. Others need to ramp things up more gradually. Start with a teaspoon of your refined RS source, or even half a teaspoon, and get acclimated to that before you increase the dose.

You could eat your RS in food form. Potato starch and other supplementary forms of RS are great because they’re easy and reliable, but it’s also a fairly novel way to consume RS. You might be better off eating half a green banana instead of a tablespoon of potato starch.

My Experience

The first time I tried potato starch, I got a lot of gas. Not the end of the world, and I realize gas is a natural product of fermentation, just unpleasant. It died down after a few days, but it was only after I added in some of my Primal Flora probiotic that I started seeing the oft-cited benefits: better sleep, vivid dreams, a more “even keel.”

Now, I do potato starch intermittently. I’m very suspicious of eating anything on a daily basis. I tend to cycle foods, supplements, exercises, everything. Gas production goes up every time I re-start the potato starch, but not unpleasantly so and it subsides relatively quickly, especially when I take the probiotics.

So there’s a learning curve to RS. It’s not a cure all, but neither is anything else. It’s merely an important, arguably necessary piece of a very large, very complex puzzle.

Resistant starch is vitally important for gut (and thus overall) health, but it’s not the only thing we need. It’s likely that other forms of fermentable fiber (prebiotics) act synergistically with RS.

Hey, it’s almost like eating actual food with its broad and varied range of bioactive compounds, polyphenols, fibers, resistant starches, vitamins, and minerals tends to have the best effects on our gut biome! You can certainly enhance the picture with isolated refined resistant starches and fibers like unmodified potato starch, but they can’t replace what our bodies really expect: the food.

Let me know what you think, and I hope you find this guide useful.

What’s your experience been with resistant starch? Good, bad, neutral? Let’s hear all about it!

Prefer listening to reading? Get an audio recording of this blog post, and subscribe to the Primal Blueprint Podcast on iTunes for instant access to all past, present and future episodes here.

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Potato starch is something I keep intending to add to my nightly homemade kefir blend.

    I assume that the time of day you take RS does not matter?

    As is I eat cooked and cooled sweet potatoes several times a week, but I doubt that’s as beneficial, with respect to RS, as potato starch.

    Christopher Lee Deards wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • according to freetheanimal, sweet potatoes have almost no resistant starch, neither raw nor cooked/cooled.

      Paul wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • In a recent post Mark talked about the very fibrous strain of potato/root vegetables that paleo person would have eaten. Can we grow these today? I’m starting a garden and that would be a great addition. Does anyone know anything about this?

        Jessica Isles wrote on March 27th, 2014
        • I think chicory root would be a good start. I am planting some in the garden this year to try. It is the highest source of inulin. But generally roots of all sorts are good sources of fermentable fibers. Yacon, turnip, daikon, radish, carrot.

          glib wrote on March 31st, 2014
    • I’d love to learn more about your kefir blend. Would you share your recipe?

      Nancy wrote on February 9th, 2015
    • Is uncooked pasta (eating hard dried pasta) different than eating cooked (or cooked and cooled or reheated) pasta?

      SandraFrog wrote on April 3rd, 2015
  2. I’m one of the ones who got headaches and worse sleep while taking potato starch, so I appreciate that you addressed that.

    Alice wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • Experienced the same, at least the bad sleep. But that was when I took the PS later in the day. I also had really bad gas issues, the smell was not roses and apples.
      Since then I’ve incorporated soil based bacteria in the form of not washing my vegetables and changed the timing to right in the morning and after those changes I’ve seen some, but not all, of the mentioned benefits.
      I’ve also upped my total carb intake and decreased my proteins and fats. I bake my own sourdough breads out of heirloom grains such as spelt, and since I started supplementing with PS I can eat, almost, as much bread I want and not notice any bloating or gas, wich was common before.

      To me it seems that everything boils down to having robust healthy gut inhabitants.

      Peter wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • I bet your sourdough bread is a-ma-zing.

        Alice wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • So this is saying it’s good to eat grains and beans now? Paleo I thought was oppposite?

          TM wrote on March 27th, 2014
        • I think it’s saying that it’s good to find out what works for each of us. :-)

          Alice wrote on March 27th, 2014
    • maybe you don’t respond well to nightshades.

      sootedninjas wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • I know I’m sensitive to nightshades, and am very disappointed to read about sweet potatoes being nearly useless for resistant starch.

        Guess it’s beans for me…


        @NullJP wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • next best thing to PS is raw Plantain and raw green banana

          sootedninjas wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • Probably it’ll be green bananas for me because plantains are loaded with oxalates and one kidney stone was enough for me.

          Alice wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • I seem to not have trouble eating potatoes and tomatoes, but your point is one I considered.

        Alice wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • It could be that both tomatoes and potatoes are in the night-shade family as well as eggplant and peppers of all kinds I know that they can aggravate fibromyalgia, My flares and fibro issues were greatly reduced when I found this out and eliminated them, because I was a big consumer of tomatoes, peppers, and white potatoes, think that, especially the first 2 were healthy and good for me, we need to remember that all our bodies respond differently to foods, the biggest thing we must learn to do as we change our diets is to listen to our bodies what is good for one is not good for all, but also consider in some cases it could be a healing crisis, if this happens keep it up just maybe at a slower pace.

          Lori wrote on July 12th, 2014
    • Did it eventually subside?

      Kimmy wrote on March 26th, 2015
  3. Okay, I’m going to try the potato starch again. I bought some after reading about the benefits, but wasn’t sure how to take it. It tasted like raw potato, and that worried me. After all, raw potato is poisonous! I’m really keen to see if it can improve my GABA levels for that “everything’s going to be okay” feeling. Tamer blood glucose levels would be nice too.

    Elisa wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • Actually, Elisa, raw potatoes generally are not poisonous. There are some exceptions, however. Here is an article about eating raw potatoes which also mentions most of what Mark wrote about resistant starch.

      D. M. Mitchell wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • I have been eating raw potatoes since a child (64 now) and I’m not dead yet. Before I stopped eating wheat, raw potato sandwiches were an absolute favorite. Green potatoes from sun exposure is mildly toxic.

      Carole P wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • Raw potatoes are not poisonous. If they were… I should be dead hundreds of times over.

      Barb wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • Potatoes contain substantial amounts of two glycoalkaloids, namely solanine and chaconine that can wreck havoc on a person’s bowels. These chemicals disrupt gut epithelial barrier integrity and aggravate or maybe cause inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). There are more concentrated in the skin of the potatoes. There are other possible toxic reactions to solanaceae that are under appreciated. There is a reported case in 2008 of diabetes insipidus brought on by high dose solanine.

        Charlie wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • Fair enough. They may not taste good, they may cause irritation and they may cause digestive issues. When I think if something as “poisonous”… I consider it to mean that it will kill 100% people stone dead, 100% of the time at the MLD (minimum lethal dose).

          Arsenic is poisonous. Raw potatoes are not.

          Barb wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • I suppose some may be sensitive too them like anything else. I remember hearing Nora Gedgaudas in a podcast say that potatoes would give her appendicitis-like attacks. I’ve never had such problems with potatoes cooked or raw. I used to eat them raw as a kid. It was something about the crunchiness of them that I loved.

          More recently, I ate so many raw potatoes one day that my pooh smelled strongly of what must have been butyrate. It wasn’t pleasant but was unlike anything I’d smelled before.
          Even then I didn’t have any digestive issues from it.

          Maybe it’s a case of having the right gut bugs. There are gut bacteria that produce phytase and can break down phytates for example.

          Chupo wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • Have you ever read about the “reported case”? A number of factors played in other than eating potato skins (I don’t remember the specifics). Also, you’d need to eat a lot of green potato skin for a reaction. I believe one study showed a person would need to eat about 100lbs of green skinned potatoes a day for a few months to die from the glycoalkaloids. The dose makes the poison. The glycoalkaloids were poisons for much smaller animals, e.g. potatoes didn’t evolve to harm humans, but much smaller animals and insects. So, peal potatoes if the green scares you, otherwise, don’t sweat it. If you want to eat potatoes, eat them. I suggest Yukon Gold, or other yellow butter potato, they’re the tastiest.

          Scott wrote on April 22nd, 2015
      • How anyone can eat raw potatoes is beyond me – They have to rank up there as one of the worst things I’ve ever tasted in my life!

        WelshGrok wrote on March 27th, 2014
        • The dosage makes the poison.The problems with poisons is that many will not kill or you will develop problems instantly some may take 10 or 20 years to manifest. By the way the form of cooking also affect the concentration frying the potatoes increase the concentration of glycoalkaloids.

          Charlie wrote on March 27th, 2014
        • Ummm, isn’t the Minimum Lethal Dose, by definition the minimum required to kill you? So……anything at the MLD would be a poisonous. Just sayin……

          Jack Navarath wrote on March 27th, 2014
        • Interesting! Raw potatoes have almost no flavor to me. Sometimes I soak them in vinegar water and salt for that reason – to give them some kind of flavor. Usually, I just eat them whole.

          I’m unusual though in that I’ve always liked the taste of commonly disliked foods such as liver and spinach but I chalked that up to having been fed those foods as a child. I was really surprised by how many people can’t stand the taste of liver and have to resort to hiding it in other foods.

          I was never “fed” raw potatoes as a child but I would eat them of my own volition when I found them in the pantry so maybe that has something to do with my liking them as an adult.

          Chupo wrote on March 27th, 2014
        • A peeled raw potato with a little sea salt is a delightful taste and texture! I ate them all the time as a child.

          Sharon Burress wrote on April 2nd, 2014
        • Slice them thin and put them to soak in some vinegar, dill weed and salt. (Which is also good on cooked/cooled potatoes). Go more for potato salad then pickles.

          The Todd wrote on January 14th, 2016
    • yes, the raised GABA and better dreaming and sleep would be fab. Is there an more optimum time of day to take it?

      barb wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • My mom is 100 and has eaten raw potatoes for as long as I’ve known her. So far, she’s not dead :-)

      Mari Ann Lisenbe wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • Fantastic about your Mom Mari Ann!! Congratulations to her 🎉. My mom has always eaten rutabaga raw while preparing it and she is 93 and healthy. Maybe it is the root veggie thing? I hope my Mom does as well as yours. 😊

        Krista wrote on April 4th, 2015
        • Very cool, Krista! My mom is coming up on 101 and still going strong. Hoping the same for your mom. Tell her to keep on eating those starchy roots :-)

          Mari Ann Lisenbe wrote on April 4th, 2015
  4. if you are feeding the gut then the gut inhabitants need to be there that can/will eat the RS. Maybe a few weeks of fermented foods to populate the colony before you try to feed it. But once that population is in place and happily fed it seems to me you’d want to keep doing it.

    John D wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • This was my experience as well. After adding in some soil-based probiotics I had better results (less gas, started having much more vivid dreams, etc). If someone is having some negative reactions it might be worth trying before giving up.

      Rob wrote on March 26th, 2014
  5. Im missing the number reasoning. What is the reason to supplement RS instead of get it from food? How much RS is “good enough” and how much real food would meet that amount?

    chris wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • The “good enough” amount seems to fluctuate person to person. And I think the reason to supplement rather than get it from real food depends on eating preferences. Check out some charts for specific amounts of resistant starch in various foods.

      John wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • Supplementing is just easier in most cases. Unless you are willing to eat 2+ very green bananas, plantains or a couple cooked and cooled potatoes a day, then mixing up some raw potato starch in water is simply much easier.

      Most natural whole food sources of RS are not very palatable.

      Nick wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • Careful with those green bananas. They are also known as ‘jet fuel’ in our house! My three teenage boys will eat green bananas for sport… Unfortunately that sport is Xtreem Fart-off’s. Try them out for the first time on a weekend when you have no other plans is my advice! Start slow and let your body adjust. Half a green banana ‘disappears’ pretty readily into a kefir and fruit smoothie.

        Marti wrote on March 29th, 2014
    • Work up to between 30 to 40 grams of RS.

      Asia wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • try doing 30 to 40 grams of RS without using RUMPS (Raw Unmodified Potato Starch). good luck with that.

        sootedninjas wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • I, too, am in favor of real food. Why on earth would anyone want to eat raw plantain or green bananas? Or potato starch, for that matter. If you eat a small amount of cooked potatoes in some form several times a week (which I do), that should be sufficient unless you have something really wrong with your GI system. 30 to 40 grams of RS a day seems ridiculously excessive and completely unnecessary.

      Shary wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • You really need to do some more reading before recommending cooked potatoes as a source for RS (which it is not, unless subsequently cooled) or calling 30-40g/day excessive, which it is not. There is a lot of good science put into this topic – 50+ years of papers.

        Nick wrote on March 29th, 2014
        • Nick, I state my own opinion. That doesn’t mean I recommend anything to anyone. In my opinion, this is just another one of those things that crop up from time to time and later disappears into oblivion, similar to the idea that eating a truckload of raw kale will cure anything that’s wrong with you. Seriously, haven’t you ever noticed the overkill that’s always part and parcel to any of these ideas?

          The flaw in most of these supposedly “healthy” nutritional ideas is that they just aren’t doable over the long haul. How many people do you suppose will still be eating cold potatoes, uncooked oats, green bananas (which make a lot of people sick), and potato starch two years from now? And how much RS is REALLY necessary? Does anybody really know, or are we supposed to just buy into the studies, which in themselves are usually notoriously flawed?

          Shary wrote on March 30th, 2014
        • Nick – research…I’ve just now started reading up on resistant starch, it’s benefits, sources, etc. And…I’m coming up with some contradictory information. Such as, the idea of simply cooking up some potatoes, cooling them, eating them may or may NOT be beneficial as not all potatoes are amylopectin. Most are not. They are amylose. And…to cloud the Bob’s Red Mill source – I called Bob’s Red Mill and evidently, since they don’t market their potato starch for the purpose of resistant starch seekers, they simply use “high starch” potatoes, cannot identify whether they are the high amylose or otherwise, plus, to further cloud the issue, they cannot state that the potatoes they use are organic – meaning non-pesticide growing techniques. I called because potatoes are listed on the “Dirty Dozen” list and therefore subject to a high rate of retention of pesticide residue. Saying all that above, to say this: I did find one amylopectin potato that has been cultivated by traditional methods (non-GMO like the others), called Avebe. So far, I have not found where these potatoes are available or grown in the USA, or marketed in any way, imported, or otherwise available to us here in the USA. It appears that they are Scandanavian? I’m a bit stumped at the moment, not really wanting to use Bob’s Red Mill, but after some thought, in our world today, an easy “fix” for our resistant starch need is most likely not realistic. I would love some input into this – some actual real testing for definitive starch content of the Bob’s Red Mill. Anyone done any lab tests at all?

          Romeo Davies wrote on August 20th, 2014
      • Someone would eat these things to see if they helped with a specific health issue. You’re just speculating about the lack of benefits based on your own prejudices.

        stanmrak wrote on April 4th, 2014
        • “Nick, I state my own opinion.”

          The problem is that your opinion isn’t based on facts. Just like the people who tell us to eat bread and do lots of cardio to “sweat it out”, and tell us that primal isn’t good.

          We have this excessive praise of people’s opinions, as if they could reshape the laws of nature. If the majority has an opinion, then it’s therefore right, says the attitude that is a side product of democracy. This is something that is propagated because politicians don’t dare oppose it, since they would then lose votes. They, and by extension their institutions, have to tell us that our opinions are what matters, not reality. “Your opinion is worth just as much as anyone else’s”. People love that praise, and it saves them from having to study the hard, immutable, inconvenient facts.

          But that doesn’t fly when those you discuss with base their opinions on reality, on scientifically discovered fact. Speaking of science, it is not something you can slander and wave away with a down-to-earth-sounding “them damn scientists think they know it all, but I’ve learned from the school of hard knocks!”. Science is a method for finding the objective truth. It goes much farther in its studies than your own guesswork.

          Erik W wrote on April 10th, 2014
        • Erik, my botany and zoology lecturers would have slapped me silly if I’d called science a method for discovering ‘objective truth’. It’s a human endeavour, and it is not perfect. It’s a great tool, when used properly, but how often is it used properly?
          Questioning existing explanations and findings is a major part of science. Which is what Shary is doing.

          ‘Will people really still be eating all those cooked-and-cooled potatoes, green bananas, etc. in two years time?’
          That’s a brilliant question. All the research in the world won’t help if we can’t put it into practice. It also raises another: how did Grok (European edition) eat 30 -40 g of RS daily? No potatoes, no rice, no bananas, no mung beans, no cassava… Were parsnips and carrots once a good source of RS? Or something else? If RS played such a key role in shaping us, what sources did our ancestors get it from? And why did they eat those foods? Certainly not because research findings told them to.

          David wrote on January 20th, 2015
        • You know, I’m getting sick and tired of people who push “science” and “facts” in the face of others. Believe me, science has been WRONG too many times to count, and your FACTS are not MY FACTS. Sure, we can’t argue about whether 2 + 2 = 4, but don’t get carried away and start telling me about this and that. First of all, there are many PHd philosophers who don’t even believe that science is learning ANYTHING about the truth of how things work or what they are. DId you know that? Read Thomas Kuhns the structure of scientific revolutions. They thought electricity was a liquid way back and they thought they knew the truth (plenty of people just like you castigating people like Nick), but now we know the truth about electicity – WRONG. The truth is that research/science/conclusions and facts are so subject to bias as to be worthless in almost every case. For every FACT about health and nutrition (carbs are good, carbs are bad) you can find many well informed “professionals” ON EITHER SIDE OF THE FACT!! That should tell you something right there. So leave people alone in their beliefs and stop waving the gun of “science” in their faces. Lots of kids right now getting forced chemo because of FACTS even when they or their parents don’t want it. You FACT people are scary. And yes, 2 + 2 does equal 4.

          Fonzy Ruffsaintjohnny wrote on January 24th, 2015
      • I’ve eaten raw oats for years. It always felt better in my gut than cooked oats. Plenty of people eat cold potato salad.
        How much RS is necessary depends on how compromised a person’s gut health is. Compromised gut health is at the root of most chronic health problems, so a lot of people will benefit from feeding good gut bacteria more.

        gh wrote on October 9th, 2014
  6. Any idea if heating the potato starch (like using it as a thickening agent in soups/stews) negates its RS function? Since otherwise cooked and COOLED potatoes or rice are recommended–hopefully it will work this way. Potato starch is a classic thickener in a Hunan cookbook I have…and to think I could do a coconut-oil beef and broccoli stir-fry, add some homemade bone broth for liquid, and thicken with potato starch…sounds good on several fronts.

    Tom B-D wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • Yes, as soon as it is heated past a certain point (I can’t recall the temp), it is no longer resistant. Same goes for cooled foods. Heated up – no longer resistant.

      John wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • 140 degrees F.
        Though some are more conservative and limit the heating to 130 degrees F.

        Paul wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • thanks to you both

          and hey, nice wheel, Paul…you get that a the PB dealership? 😉

          Tom B-D wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • let it cool down to 100 then add the Potato Starch.

          sootedninjas wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • drat i was hoping the primal cravings pizza crust recipe with both tapioca and potato starch would qualify.

        barb wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • That would have been nice. Love that recipe!

          jgirl wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • I had that pizza crust last night. Awesome! I make 4 smaller crusts and freeze them. Then just dump stuff on it and broil for a quick dinner or snack. Going to try and make a cracker out of it also. The BRM potato starch is cheap. I just put some in a tall glass, stir with one of those little whisks you can get and then drink, whisk, drink, whisk until it is gone.

          janet wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • So that pizza crust recipe has mostly tapioca starch/flour (same) in it. (Also, not Potato Starch–potato flour) If I make the crusts and freeze them and then reheat and eat, would the RS still be usable? Same as the potatoes and rice I would think. So perhaps that is a go on the RS.

          Janet wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • Actually, John, RS3 (retrograded) retains its resistance when reheated. Moreover, repeated heating and cooling actually increases the RS somewhat. However, 90% of what you’re going to get comes in the fist bang.

        Richard Nikoley wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • It turns out that the big jump in type 3 resistant starch after cooking and then cooling is not destroyed by re-cooking, in fact it is increased with each time the food is heated and cooled. Not by all that much, though… the major benefit is from cooling and then reheating the starchy, cooked food. So, make home-frys from your cooked, cooled potato. Or fried rice from your cooked, cooled rice. Or reheat your cooked, cooled beans before eating them.

        It’s actually really good news because a reheated starchy food is usually a lot more palatable than eating it cold.

        Jess wrote on May 5th, 2016
  7. cooked and cooled rice – as in sushi? or does the vingar somehow negate the benefit of the resistent starch?

    barb wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • The rice has to be either converted, or sticky (high amylose).

      Wenchypoo wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • long grain rice is highest in amylose (resistant starch), with basmati being especially high in RS. shorter, stickier varieties of rice are higher in amylopectin, which is easier to digest, raises blood glucose levels more, and lower in RS.

        converted rice is very high in RS, especially converted long grain rice.

        Jenny wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • Uncle Ben’s Converted Rice. Easy to find. Same as parboiled rice, I think.

        Janet wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • I’d like to know this too!

      Paleo-curious wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • Vinegar wouldn’t hurt. It may even be synergistic as It has some of the same properties of RS. Vinegar is also a short chain fatty acid (acetate). It won’t benefit your colon or gut biome in the same way however.

      Chupo wrote on March 26th, 2014
  8. My husband and I starting incorporating RS into our diet in January, in the form of raw potato starch. We experienced an initial increase in gas, but it didn’t last too long. We started off small (1 tsp) and worked out our way up (I’m at 1tbps, my husband’s at 2tbps), mixing it into our water or morning glass of OJ.

    One question that I’ve had difficulty finding an answer to: Do the benefits of RS outweigh the negatives of rice, legumes, potatoes, etc.? So far, I’ve been primarily adding raw potato starch. We cooked (and cooled, and reheated) rice once since we started adding RS to our diet, but I’m wary about adding rice (or legumes) back in on a more permanent basis.

    Jessica wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • This sounds all well and good but who can eat raw potatoes, rice and beans? I suppose unless you are one of the few who enjoy the foods in that form then the best way to get it is to supplement.

      Both of my boys have intermittent bowel movement issues………perhaps having them take this will help with that.

      Mark wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • I eat raw potatoes sometimes, i just like them.

        Brandi wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • How about making a smoothie out of beet,carrot,a little potato,apple and coconut oil? Add a little honey for taste if necessary. You won’t even taste the potato in the mix. Very tasty. To me this mix passes for sweets and I use it to extract my sweet tooth on occasion :-)

        einstein wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • Did you read the post? No one is eating raw rice or raw beans. Cooked and cooled potatoes, rice, and beans are high in RS. Reheating reduces the RS a bit, but not too much, especially if the reheating is done quickly (i.e. fried rice). Cold rice pudding is delicious, and cold potato salad and bean salads are not weird foods in our culture.

        Annika wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • I enjoy having rice again with my veggies. I have added back some safe starches from 2 years of LC and VLC paleo/primal. I feel much better and sleep better. There are some studies of long term LC/VLC that are showing some problems. Particularly with gut bugs having nothing to eat. Free the Animal has many posts on that.

          Janet wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • I’m quite confused now……if the stuff is cooked/cooled then it has been heated past 140 F……so I had the understanding that cooked food has a much lower amt of RS…..What am I missing here?

          Mark wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • best bowel movement ever and consistently too. Bristol Chart #4

        sootedninjas wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • For more information you might want to take a look at the book ‘Perfect Health Diet’ by Paul & Shou-Ching Jaminet; also the website at Mark Sisson wrote the forward to their book which is not only a great read, but contains a lot of information on why certain starches (such as white rice, potatoes, taro, sweet potatoes, etc…) are important to include in any diet. Their website serves as a constantly-updated companion to the book and has several discussions on resistant starch.

      Hillary wrote on March 26th, 2014
  9. Mark, I’m curious about dosage. How much RS should we be consuming? You mention 8 g/Tbsp in Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch. Presumably this leaves 59 g of non-resistant, anti-ketogenic, starch per tbsp. (Yikes!)

    MooseGeorge wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • As per Bob’s Red Mill’s website, 1 Tbsp (12g) of potato starch has 10g of carbohydrates in it, so that leaves ~2 grams non-resistant starch.

      Alex wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • Alex

        The 10g figure for BRM has nothing to do with RS. It’s presumed that it’s going to be used in cooking, sauce thickening, so that is simply it’s starch value in that context.

        In raw form, it’s about 80% RS by weight and the other 20% is moisture, actually locked inside the RS structure–which is why they burst like popcorn when heated to 140F, becoming Mark 1, Mod A starch. Actually, there are about 50 naturally occurring starch structures, three of them are resistant to human digestion.

        Also, if you go to YouTube and search making potato starch, you can see it done at home. That’s right, you can easily make your own from raw potatoes.

        Richard Nikoley wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • Thanks, Alex.

          Sarah W. wrote on August 6th, 2016
    • Check your math. 28g is an ounce. There aren’t 2+ ounces of anything in a tablespoon. Except Uranium maybe.

      Keith wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • Indeed – sometimes Google gives us “interesting” results. So potato starch is about 50%/50% resistant/non-resistant.

        But I’m still clueless about how much resistant starch we want to consume?

        MooseGeorge wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • In another article, people worked up to 4 tbs of Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch per day, in water, kefir or yogurt. Works in concert with probiotics.

      Many folks experienced gas for a few weeks, but then adjusted. I think it’s wise to work up to that dosage.

      I’m going to eat some slices of raw potato then have a smoothie with 1 tsp tapioca (which can be used instead of potato starch) and see how my gut responds.

      Sarah W. wrote on August 6th, 2016
    • Thank you! :-)

      Anna wrote on March 30th, 2014
  10. Hey guys and gals, don’t get fixated on potato starch…if it’s not working for you, as Mark says, there’s, green plantain, green banana (available on Amazon) and Bob’s Red Mill tapioca flour (potato flour is flour, but tapioca flour is really starch) and can be found where ever Bob’s is sold (I’ve found potato and tapioca starch at just about every major super market and specialty stores in SoCal like Sprouts and Mother’s).

    Also, to reiterate Mark’s point, soil based probiotics (SBO as they are sometimes called) are really what puts you over the top. I started with Primal Flora and have added all the others mentioned on FTA…variety is the key. I take them all twice a day and will be begin adjusting when I feel everything is leveled out. Then supplementing intermittently as needed.

    I’ve also added apple pectin…this is like eating an apple without the sugar…I think this may be the part of the “apple a day, keeps the doctor away” that does the heavy lifting…

    Thank Mark once again for an excellent “definitive guide”…



    Charlie wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • watch out for Tapioca Starch. In FTA they tested this and it spike BG.

      sootedninjas wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • Who did it spike over there? I got the opposite advice (that it does not spike BG) and was encouraged to try it. I’ve done several glucometer tests and it did not spike my BG.

        Anna wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • I found that tapioca starch acted the same as potato starch though I didn’t feel quite as good on it – though not bad.

          Harriet wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • I had to switch because PS was making me feel utterly terrible. It appears that people have widely variable results with these things

          Anna wrote on March 27th, 2014
        • Unfortunately I have to take that back. The tapioca starch does spike my BG now, after I took a larger dose to double check.

          Anna wrote on April 3rd, 2014
  11. Potato starch is the only thing that has gotten me regular in over four decades!

    Diane wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • Perhaps, instead, you can drink the Bone Dusters Paleo Ale, brewed from real fossils. It’s apparently coming soon from the Lost Rhino brewery.

      I love Scientific American!

      paleocrush wrote on March 26th, 2014
  12. I did an N=1 on Hubby with raw potato starch, and it only lowered his FBG reading the first time we tried it–after that, it no longer worked. Strangely enough, we found that a once-weekly serving of cooked and cooled potato salad (made with red potatoes) did the trick, but he can’t have it any more often than that.

    We tried everything: beans, converted rice, bananas/plantains, tapioca starch, arrowroot…you name it.

    Have you ever seen psyllium rise BG levels? I have, and still can’t figure out why.

    Wenchypoo wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • interesting. thanks for sharing your data point–i’m diabetic, too, and haven’t gotten to check my fbg after starting the potato starch 3 weeks ago–i’m out of test strips, and they are out of stock at the store! it seemed like it helped, initially, and for a while, i felt a greater sense of satiety. but i really need to check glucose levels after meals to really know.

      Jenny wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • i used to run out of strips until Wal-Mart introduced its Prime strips. $9.00 for 50 that’s 18 cents a piece. the fist strips is used to buy were a dollar a strip!

        will2713 wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • wow, thanks for the tip! the target generic brand strips were still $.40 each.

          Jenny wrote on March 26th, 2014
  13. I am trying to eat better and have noticed that whenever I eat the bad foods it wrecks my gut the next day….maybe time to start eating some RS and seeing if it helps even out my gut flora. Could definitely get into eating a baked, then cooled potato every now and then. Would just melt some butter to pour on it.

    Or I can be a manly man and just take bites out of a raw potato….delish!

    Jacob wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • I read you can reheat the previously cooled starchy things and that’s OK. I divide my converted rice after cooking and cooling into little 1/2 c. bags and then just reheat and eat. Been on RS since middle of January. Plus on some probiotics (including a soil based one) for about 3-4 weeks. All good so far–still some fartage but so what. It makes my hubby laugh and we tease each other about it. His is from other sources than PS.

      Janet wrote on March 26th, 2014
  14. “[C]leaved in twain”? Someone’s in an archaic mood… 😉

    Jon wrote on March 26th, 2014
  15. Been doing the Bob’s potato starch for a few months without a single side effect. Not even gas. Once or twice a week only.

    Nocona wrote on March 26th, 2014
  16. Right! It has to be RAW (or UNMODIFIED) potato starch! I made the mistake of supplementing with just “potato starch” for a week, then I found out it was modified…. I wondered why I had gained 3 pounds that week! 😛

    Paul wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • I hear all your posts in Phineas’ voice. Thanks for that.

      Hey,where’s Perry?

      His Dudeness wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • You will gain 3 pounds in a week, especially if you have been low carb. PS or any RS will feed gut bacteria. They multiply many fold over night and over the next days so you will end up with some extra pounds of gut bacteria – but all to the good. They are doing good work. Many people report a 10 pound gain over a few months but not necessarily a change in body shape as the body changes a gut increase to a fat loss and a muscle increase.

      Harriet wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • i hadn’t heard that before–that’s fascinating. where can i learn/read more about that?

        Jenny wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • 10lbs (4.5kg) of gut bacterior? – Seems unlikely…

        WelshGrok wrote on March 27th, 2014
        • *bacteria

          WelshGrok wrote on March 27th, 2014
        • Total volume of gut bacteria in your large intestine is the size of a football.

          So yes, there could be over 5 pounds of biomass there.

          Kirsten wrote on March 27th, 2014
  17. Potato starch has helped me have a more sense of satiety and better blood sugar control. I add 1 tbsp to each meal, and I also have 1 tbsp coconut oil with each meal. I did start out with gas issues which have improved, now that I’m on the 3rd week of trying it.

    Jenny wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • What brand of potato starch do you use? I’m primarily interested in lower blood glucose and becoming less insulin resistant.

      Nancy wrote on February 9th, 2015
      • I was using Bob’s Red MIll, but I’m no longer using potato starch. I tried it for several months, and finally, concluded that it was not helping my blood sugar. I’ve continued with my low-carb diet and short spurts of intense exercise, but dropped the potato starch.

        Tenny Calhoun wrote on February 9th, 2015
  18. Cold potatoes continue to be my go-to solution when I cannot sleep. It knocks me out cold and I sleep like a log until the alarm clock goes off. Something about them makes my gut happy and calms my nervous system down. I’m thinking that maybe a bit of glucose and a bit of butyrate provides the energy my brain and liver need while I’m asleep.
    They used to make me really gassy, but after I started homebrewing kefir I’ve not had a problem with either lactose or RS.

    Anders Emil wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • Read the book “Potatoes, Not Prozac” to learn why. She recommends a small potato before bed, eaten any way you like it, three hours after your last meal, and claims it raises levels of neurochemicals.

      Ann wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • What a great idea … how quick is that! Thank you. I eat bananas in middle of night when I cannot sleep. It works well! Now I know I can change it up with a potato too. I always have cold boiled potatoes in fridge now, adding them cold to meals, or cubed into slightly warm bone broth with other yummies. I feel much better, and warmer now, could also be the increase in good fats though too. :-)

      Jacqs Flying Primal wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • Glad to inspire you! Ive tried eating a ripe banana in the middle of the night and I couldnt go back to sleep! Way too energizing, my mind was a vortex of thoughts and jokes lol, I read that bananas contain neurochemicals so maybe thats why. The potato starch calms me down like nothing else, it really works wonders

        Anders Emil wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • Bananas to go back to sleep was my idea in desperation to combat chronic pain and the lack of sleep thereof. Later I read of the sleep enhancing effects of bananas. Mark’s article mentions unripe bananas, perhaps that for you instead of “ripe” bananas? I’ve never eaten unripe bananas myself, although now I am going to give them a try…*a wee shudder here* thinking about green bananas. Potatoes will be first on the snack in the middle of the night menu before dem green bananas *shudders again*.

          Jacqs Flying Primal wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • Would you share your “homebrewing kefir” recipe?

      Thanks, Nancy

      Nancy wrote on February 9th, 2015
      • I bought kefir grains and once they were at full strength I use 1Tablespoon of grains in a glass quart jar with about a quarter cup of creme and then fill the rest with whole milk, stir with a plastic spoon – never metal unless stainless steel (but I use plastic). Cover with a coffee filter and a rubber band around it and let it sit on the counter anywhere from 12-24 hours. When ready the top will look almost like cottage cheese, slightly sour smell, stir well and strain with a plastic strainer. Pour into strainer and into another glass jar (never use plastic) and stir what is in the strainer to get it to thin out so it will drain. It should still be somewhat thick tho’. I do it until my glass jar is empty and you have collected the grains in the strainer, then I do it all over again, my kefir is delicious, thick and perfect. Start with good grains – buy online or get from a friend. They grow and multiply so the more you make kefir. The more grains you will have. (I give the extras to my dogs who love them!)

        Dianne C wrote on August 9th, 2015
  19. I agree with Charlie—potato starch was okay for me, but not the be-all, end-all. I noticed my FBG was improved with properly prepared beans, white potatoes, and rice. Approach with an open mind!

    PJ wrote on March 26th, 2014
  20. I think that body temperature is actually a much more accurate indicator of thyroid system function than other tests, in many cases. There aren’t any tests that can measure how well your cells are converting T4 hormone sent from the thyroid to T3, a critical step in your hormonal system. Body temperature is an indicator tho. It should average 98.6 over the course of a day. The range of ‘normal’ body temperature is much smaller, percentage-wise, than any thyroid-related blood test. See for more info. This guy is onto something.

    stanmrak wrote on March 26th, 2014
  21. Question about “cooked and cooled” – what the heck does that mean? So, I cook it, and cool it. Does that mean I have to eat it cold to get the resistant starch? If I zap my bowl of bean soup and rice that came out of the fridge, when does it lose the resistance to digestion?

    Stephen wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • I’ve heard yes & no to this question, & I’d really like to know! Some sources say reheating is okay, others that it isn’t.

      Paleo-curious wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • According to Richard at FTA, reheating up to 140 degrees F is ok.

      Charlie wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • I’d play it a little safer than heating to 140F. The way to think of RS granules is like tiny popcorn (yes, there is moisture trapped in the structure). At around 140, they pop and they become rapidly digesting starch that you enzymes definitely will take up.

        If you want to see how this works, take a rounded tsp of potato starch in a glass, cover it with water. Stir, watch is settle to the bottom in a very tight pack, like clay.

        Then, nuke the think for a minute. You get clear hair gel.

        Richard Nikoley wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • Thanks for the clarification! That’s warm enough to be more palatable, so yay!

          Paleo-curious wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • You only have to heat it to 100 to make it taste warm enough to be appetizing.

        But I love raw potatoes…have eaten them all my life. Russets peeled are the best raw…cut off any green as they make it taste bad.
        Will try eating them at night as I do occasionally have trouble sleeping.
        Thanks for all the good advice.

        Joan wrote on March 27th, 2014
    • Yes, you have to eat it cold. Tim Steele broke it down here:

      Bill Lagakos wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • That is not at all what he says! Nowhere does Tim or Richard say you have to eat it cold. In fact the table shows the same amount of potato cooked and cooled, eaten cold has less RS than cooked, cooled, then reheated quick and dry. Nor do any of the dozens of RS articles that Tim and Richard wrote ever state that potato and rice have to be eaten cold.

        Hannah wrote on March 29th, 2014
    • Hi,
      This is discussed at Free the Animal in detail. You might want to check out the articles.
      Leftover (i.e cooked & cooled) rice and potatoes, reheated by any dry heat method (pan fried or oven) contains resistant starch in the RS3 retrograde form. If you reheat by boiling or other wet method the RS3 is not retained.
      My understanding is that beans have RS1 no matter what you do to them and RS3 if you cook, cool, reheat dry.

      Hannah wrote on March 29th, 2014
  22. I added 1 tbsp. potato starch and 1 tsp. psyllium seeds to my morning protein shake and it has really helped with IBS and loose bowels. I am Irish, so maybe I was missing the potatoes since going primal.

    JoeBrewer wrote on March 26th, 2014
  23. Should the carbohydrates from resistant starches (for example, a cooked and cooled potato) still be counted in daily consumption if it is not digested?

    Al wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • According to Paul Jaminet no

      paleojew wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • Counted as energy intake- yes, as carbs – no

      einstein wrote on March 26th, 2014
  24. Good to know!

    My hubby misses bread, so in trying to steer him away from that I found a recipe for a “paleotillia” and worked it over into an extremely acceptable flatbread type of sandwich wrapper. Super easy and fast if you can the dairy!

    3/4 cup tapioca starch
    1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
    1 egg
    2 tbs cream
    2-3tbs water
    1-2 tbs whatever herbs strike my fancy
    Dash of salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders

    Add all ingredients and mix well. Should be about the consistence of pancake batter. Pour about the amount you would use for a traditional pancake in a skillet with a bit of coconut oil over medium low. Flip it when the batter becomes solid.
    Reheats well and stays flexible.

    deannacat wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • So is tapioca starch also a resistant starch?

      Melissa wrote on March 30th, 2014
  25. Those who need to be in KETOSIS for medical reasons should exercise caution.

    Although some people state that resistant starches do not affect ketosis or blood sugars, this may not be true for all people.

    Eating fermentable fibres from real foods should be sufficient, like proteoglycans in meats and soluble fibres in vegetables.

    Sabine wrote on March 26th, 2014
  26. Is just eating Pistachio’s (or other seeds) enough RS to do the trick?

    Shanna J wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • According to Tatertot Tim, the effective range is 20 to 40 grams…anything above 40 will be wasted. So how much RS is in Pistachios? And, how much do Pistachios cost compared to potato starch?

      Charlie wrote on March 26th, 2014
  27. I’ve been doing an N=1 experiment since late December. I started with Bob’s Red Mill potato starch, 1 teaspoon/day for the first week, 2 tsp the second week, etc up to a full tablespoon twice a day.
    I got most of the benefits, better sleep/dreaming, felt full, lower blood glucose. Unfortunately, I ended up with looser bowels than ever and aching joints. I suspect I may have issues with nightshades…

    I’ve now moved to 4 tbsp of plaintain flour in a divided dose with much better results. Gut is happy, I’m sleeping like a log with interesting dreams, and I’m just not hungry. My body temp is up from a previous normal of 95-96 degrees up to 97-98.

    I also just came back from a four day vacation where I didn’t take the RS. I was fine the first day, after that I was hungry and slept poorly. Lesson learned – take the plaintain flour with me next time.

    Beth wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • Beth: Can you say what brand of plantain flour you’re using ? You also wrote you’re doing it in divided doses. Can you give more info on your protocol ? Thanks !

      Mike wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • Mike,

        I’m using the plantain flour from Berry Farms ( Dave Asprey mentioned it in the one decent post he did on resistant starch. (Side note – it took over a month to get my 5# order. They forgot to notifiy me they were out of stock until I asked, then I had to wait another 3 weeks to get it.)

        I do 2 tablespoons in the morning with my Synthroid and an acidophilous pearl and another dose of just plantain flour around supper time.

        Currently I’m also adding 1 1/4 tsp modified citrus pectin (MCP) as I’m having the mercury amalgam fillings taken out of my mouth. The MCP attracts and carries heavy metals out of the body.

        Any more questions, let me know.

        Beth wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • Many thanks !

          Mike wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • Good call on the Berry Farms, Beth. I use that too, as well as the Wedo green banana flour that recently came on the market. So, I have three sources of RS supplementation. Sorry about the out of stock. Been happening for months with potato starch too, even internationally, as there are thousands now doing this since I began blogging about it (90 posts and counting, going back to about April last year).

          Another thing people might want to try is simply eating green bananas. I’ve never been much of a fan of the sweetness and texture of ripe bananas, but I really like green ones and can get them often at Trader Joe’s.

          But everyone keep in mind that when the banana or plantain ripens, the RS is gone for good. No retrogradation. The RS is actually consumed and turned to sugar in the ripening process, so the RS content of the green fruits is on a curve.

          You can take green bananas and plantains, slice and freeze them in smoothie sized portions to preserve the RS. You can also dehydrate them and preserve the RS. Dried green plantains have a texture like saltine crackers and make a good dip substrate for like…hummus for example, another decent RS food.

          Richard Nikoley wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • @Richard – Thank you!
          I started reading FTA in November for the RS posts, bit the bullet after Christmas, and have been playing with it since then.

          Another thing I noticed is gut pain, or lack thereof. If I have corn, corn syrup, corn starch, my gut lets me know with horrible pain (I’m also gluten intolerant). The RS seems to do something that either protects my gut or soothes it that if I do get some corn product I don’t hurt.

          The four day vacation proved that. My hosts were unfamiliar with GF/corn free foods, I didn’t read the box of crackers until later, and I’ve been in gut pain since Sunday. It’s slowly tapering off the more doses of plantain flour I get into me again.

          The gut bugs know what to do if we give them the right food. Hmm, kind of like the rest of the body…

          Beth wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • Modified Citrus Pectin…I took it when I had surgery for Kidney cancer a year ago to keep the cancer from spreading during surgery…haven’t had any problems since. A great product!

          Joan wrote on March 27th, 2014
      • I make my own from very green plantains. I peel and slice them an eighth of an inch thick. I dehydrate them in single layers, and then grind them into flour in the Vitamix.

        Ann wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • ditto beth please share your protocol.

        barb wrote on March 26th, 2014
  28. I had been a bit worried about potato starch as it is quite fast absorbing carbohydrate leading to blood sugar spikes. Same with tapioca starch. I feel it’s better to stick to things like plantain or green banana flour if you’re not going to go with a whole foods source.

    jamie wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • Starch is indeed a fast absorbing carbohydrate, but resistant starch is indigestible and therefore does not produce a blood sugar spike. I am diabetic and was concerned about this as well, but I took a full 4 tablespoons at once and my glucose level did not rise a single point. Then my fasting blood glucose dropped 10 points and I found I could handle more carbs with my meals without spiking. It did seem strange, but it is true.

      Anna wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • Yes, Anna, a very common anecdote. And, diabetics are also finding that the more carbs the eat (within reason, of course) the better the RS actually performs.

        Many have done tests where they eat a plain baked potato (salt & pepper only) and test their BG. 200+ is not uncommon. Then they take 4 TBS potato starch and in an hour, repeat the test and spike only to 140. Steve Cooksey, Diabetes Warrior has done a bunch of tests like this.

        Richard Nikoley wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • Thank you for mentioning “plantain crackers”. This may actually be something I can try, or the plantain flour.
          I would appreciate feedback from people who have experimented with resistant starches and stayed in ketosis and also kept their blood sugars between 4.5 and 5.2 around the clock.

          Sabine wrote on March 27th, 2014
  29. I tried for a few weeks had some increase in ibs-c symptoms -just minor but felt great loads of energy but taking fermented food and probiotics with it gave me major urticaria. I did lots of reading and wondered if i was doing 1 taking probiotics that promote histamine or 2 feeding my bowel bacteria that produce histamine. I stopped everything but have started to introduce ps a teaspoon at a time. Does anyone know of probiotics that are purely histamine inhibiting?

    clare wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • I have been diagnosed with chronic ucartia so I understand what you were dealing with. I found the following on Chris Kressler’s site. This corresponds to other info I’ve read/researched on histamine and probiotics.

      And the histamine-producing category is Lactobacillus casei, Lactobacillus reuteri, Lactobacillus plantarum, and Lactococcus lactis, Enterococcus faecalis, and various types of E. coli. 

      And then the ones that seem to degrade histamine and be beneficial are lots of bifidobacteria species, but particularly Bifidobacterium infantis and then Lactobacillus rhamnosus and salivarius and sporogenes and Lactobacillus gasseri.

      Gayle wrote on March 26th, 2014
  30. Mark – great writeup! This is consistent with my experience with RS. It gives me terrible gas for a short period of time, but the benefits have been so extremely positive for me that it’s worth the discomfort and stinky fluffs.

    Full disclosure – the next part is kind of graphic. I have a “compromised gut” – diagnosed a couple years ago with IBD-unspecified (either ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s) – and almost always have lots of blood and mucous in my stool, and the stools are usually partially formed. As soon as I began dosing 2-4 tbsp of potato starch per day, my stools improved dramatically, with far less blood and mucous. Lots of times, the stools are what I’d consider “normal” – no blood, no mucous, and fully formed – which is AWESOME for anyone who suffers from IBD. Both the degree of improvement and the immediacy of the improvement were fascinating, and I hope others might see similar benefits.

    Also, I didn’t make the connection until this post, but I’ve had lots of very vivid dreams recently. Last night, I dreamed I was in a bowling alley and watched a matchup between two teams of gorgeous ladies, one team in black lingerie and one in red, both teams wearing black high heels. TMI? sorry…but it’s the truth!

    Andy W wrote on March 26th, 2014
  31. Very timely and interesting post as I have recently added small amounts of white rice back into my diet and noticed great benefits. My colon has never been so happy, I remain satiated for longer after meals, and the big one – my sugar cravings have vanished. I realize rice doesn’t have much RS, but maybe I don’t need much to receive the benefits. Not sure about the cooling/reheating thing, but my rice is always cooled as I make a batch and refrigerate it, adding it to my meals in small amounts, maybe half a cup (cooked) each day. I often eat it cold – with coconut milk and fruit it makes a great dessert. This is, of course, extremely unscientific but it demonstrates the importance of experimentation in your own diet unless you are completely dialed in. Also I lost four lbs. without trying.

    Siobhan wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • Good info! Do you, or anyone reading, have a good primal rice pudding recipe? I grew up on the stuff and haven’t had it in years….yum!

      RenegadeRN wrote on March 29th, 2014
  32. i also add about 1 tbls potato starch to the morning protein shake. also i throw in some hemp and chia seeds. Like many of us, the beginning was rough–lets just say even the cat avoided me–but i lowered the dose, stuck with it, and i’m very pleased with the results.

    Trish wrote on March 26th, 2014
  33. Question: would hummus fit the bill as cooked & cooled legumes?

    Paleo-curious wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • Good question. According to the pdf., hummus comes in at 4.1

      You can make hummus with other kinds of beans that would give you a higher rs amount.

      Sharon wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • Thanks! I’ll look into alternate beans– but which pdf do you mean?

        Paleo-curious wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • The one listed above in Mark’s section. It is in the last line under the heading… Where Do We Get It

          P.S. Even though there is an optometrist in our family, your eye creeps me out. Love your art though

          Sharon wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • Oh, thanks! I may need your family optometrist to find those elusive PDFs! 😉

          Paleo-curious wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • i would say humus has RS b/c it gasses up like crazy (n=1)

        will2713 wrote on March 26th, 2014
  34. I find taking a few tbs of potato starch a day has lowered my fasting blood glucose, and after a cheat meal ( I eat no wheat typically) of whole wheat pasta, my BG rose to only 105. In the past it could go over 200 on this kind of food. I won’t be adding wheat back to my regular daily diet but its good to know there is a safety net for the occasional pizza meal.

    ALAN wrote on March 26th, 2014
  35. Just for clarity:

    Cooking and cooling –
    An example: 1 very large potato (500g)
    Raw – 75g RS
    Cooked – 1g RS
    Cooked/Cooled – 25g RS
    Cooked/Cooled/Reheated – 26g RS
    Cooled again – 28g RS
    Heated again – 29g
    Cooled again – 30g

    The biggest increase after cooking is in the first cooling cycle when the starch molecules retrograde (crystallize). After that, they remain resistant. Extreme, prolonged heat can ‘melt’ this crytallization, as in boiling until they fall apart, but quick reheating as in stir-fry preserves the RS and can even build it slightly as mositure is driven out of the crystal structure.

    Works the same with rice and beans.

    The ‘cooling’ required is a temp af approx 50 degrees and at least 8 hours, so overnight in refrigerator is fine. Storing cooked beans and rice in freezer is even better and very convenient.

    Rice has slightly les RS than potatoes. Beans have slightly more,

    Tatertot Tim

    Tim wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • Great contribution, Tim.

      I’m assuming that microwaving would fall under the category of “quick reheating” and not have a negative effect?

      It’s really too bad I can’t wait 9 hours for my monthly baked potato. :(

      bcflyfisher wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • Tim, ( or anyone else with thoughts or experiences to contribute) what would be the best way to gradually incorporate RS into the diet for a person that has gut inflammation with chronic bloating?

      I get severe bloating from all pre- and probiotics, and a pinch of PS has the same effect on me. I’d love to fix this situation and be able to benefit from RS, but don’t know how to get there, as all recommendations seem to assume good tolerance of probiotics and only transient symptoms from RS. Thanks in advance for any thoughts!

      Webraven wrote on March 27th, 2014
      • Just another n = 1, but last year when FTA commenters were reporting great luck with RS, I tried it for a couple of months with nothing but worse constipation. Possibly like you, I’ve had horrific, 8-months-pregnant bloat for a long time along with other gut issues and had either no effect or nasty cramping and bloating from the pre- and probiotics I’d tried.

        After reading more recent FTA and animalpharm posts and comments, I bought a bottle of Prescript-Assist for the soil-based organisms and have taken it for more than two weeks along with RS. I’m going with “low and slow”–started with a probiotic capsule every other day and 1/2 tsp RS (the usual Bob’s Red Mill potato starch). Now I’m at a capsule and a Tbsp each day.

        I am really glad to report that I am feeling better than I have in literally years after just these few weeks of combining the two. Bloating is slowly going down, random cravings are decreasing, my energy level is higher than it’s been in years, and maybe most importantly my brain is beginning to work better and depression is receding.

        Just got the news that my dad died of the dementia that has been slowly killing him (as it killed his father too). He had been on innumerable doses of Cipro over the past 30 years for recurrent kidney infections. I have to wonder if having no gut flora really killed him. Let us all do whatever we can to nurture those little guys.

        Su wrote on March 28th, 2014
  36. For “cooked & cooled” potatoes,
    1. is overnight cooling in a fridge enough cooling?
    2. Can I then microwave the cooled potato the next day without jeopardizing the resistant starch?

    Mike DiLandro wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • From poking around the freeetheanimal site, it appears with regards to question 2 that reheating the cooled potatoes via microwave is fine and will not adversely the upped resistant starch.

      basil cronus wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • Thanks Basil. Do you know if sushi rice qualifies as resistant starch? It doesn’t seem that sushi rice is cooled at all in a fridge (just room temp).

        Mike DiLandro wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • I would say sushi rice is a resistant starch. From the freetheanimal site “Some of the highest sources in food is cooked and cooled rice (parboiled is the highest, also lowest GI by far)”

          If sushi rice is as you say room temperature, then it would not have as much resistant starch as rice cooled in a fridge over night. But it would still have RS, even better than rice that is still hot from just being cooked.

          basil cronus wrote on March 26th, 2014
        • I’ve always looked down my nose at the supermarket sushi that sits in the fridge for hours. Maybe I should rethink this prejudice!

          Paleo-curious wrote on March 26th, 2014
  37. Does this mean I can start eating sushi and potato salad??! 😉

    Laura wrote on March 26th, 2014
  38. Hi,

    I get frequent vaginal yeast infections and UTI’s. I was told by my ND to stop taking resistant potato starch (Bob’s Red Mill) as it is a perfect food for candida. What are your thoughts on this and what research can you cite to support that?

    I know my gut is in serious need of some re-balancing and was hopeful that this would work.


    Marci wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • I think RS can feed persistent yeast overgrowths in small intestine, if you have that condition–get it fixed, fast!

      If you don’t have that condition, RS is probably the thing you want to increase in your diet, fast. Persistent vaginal infections/UTIs can be triggered from a gut full of pathogens. Pathogens run rampant in a gut with high pH same as in your ‘lady parts’. pH is vital to a healthy gut/vaginal microbial population.

      RS is every study, leads to a lowering of intestinal pH, but not too low. It makes it ‘juuuuuuust right’. The gut bugs do all the work. Once your gut is the proper pH, the pathogens that cause UTIs and other infections will be gone.

      Think about the probiotics as well. Take them alongside potato starch or RS rich foods.

      Tim wrote on March 26th, 2014
      • Are you saying that if you have SIBO RS can feed it in the small intestine? Or are you saying RS with probiotics can FIX ones SIBO?

        Debbie wrote on April 2nd, 2014
      • Oh, it’s Tatertot Tim! I have UTIs now too – as the woman above posted – and bloating. Constipation is much improved since eating fermented vegetables for months, a decent amount of protein, and increasing my fat intake.

        But the bloating is still there, as well as weird stomach irritation. I just started the PS – about 2 tablespoons with psyllium per day. No gas really – not more than the occasional usual. Should I up the RS? I’m also taking some SBO probiotics – Dr. Higa’s right now. But, I bought the other 3 recommended by Dr. BG.

        If you have a chance to share your thoughts, I’d appreciate it. Love listening to you on podcasts! Thanks so much for sharing this. I think RS might be the missing link in my diet – I lost 80 pounds over 25 years ago and kept it off, but with major constipation, some hair loss, no energy and more! Thank you!

        Debbie wrote on April 2nd, 2014
    • Here’s something I’ve figured out for recurrent thrush. This may be TMI, but it’s the only thing that has really worked for my recurrent yeast (and bacterial) infections. Instead of applying topical creams and pessaries, simply use probiotic capsules – insert them directly at night where you would normally put a pessary. Also use coconut oil on the surrounding skin and tissue – has an antifungal action and is an emollient. You may need to use a pad overnight because as the gelatin capsules dissolve they can “fall out”.

      Normal “good” bacteria do the best job ever at keeping the nasties away…
      Good luck, hope it helps.

      Starfishmum wrote on September 7th, 2014
  39. PS does NOT spike your BG.
    At least not for me and many others on forums. I found as a chronic low carber paleo person I couldn’t get my head around this RS idea but read and read on Richards blog and on HeartLifeForum
    Of all success stories so tried it
    I have been diabetic for 20 and never have my FBG and PP BG been so low,
    Chronic paleo low carbers often have higher FBG but its solved that problem,
    I use BRMPS uodified. I had to work up slowly, about 6 weeks and take 5 T a day. Richards group says taking it before evening meal gives best sleeps.

    Bobby Dean wrote on March 26th, 2014

Leave a Reply

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!

© 2016 Mark's Daily Apple

Subscribe to the Newsletter and Get a Free Copy
of Mark Sisson's Fitness eBook and more!