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!

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. Well I have tried RS for the last 4 months, ramping up slowly to 3 tblsp every morning in my first glass of water. I spent those 4 months farting, cramping and bloated. It was bad every day at work, every evening, I was blowing off steam as it were and could not stop. I had some cool dreams but saw no other obvious changes and frankly I had to stop. I have lost a pantsize due to the bloating being gone and I have not had to farm in a few days. It was bad, it was hell, it was my own personal Ragnarok most days but I stuck with it and waited. It never got better.

    Any suggestions as to what I could do differently? Does Richard or tatertot want to add my unique butterfly data to the mix I would be happy to help. Just dont make me take the stuff again.

    Warmbear wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • “Any suggestions as to what I could do differently? Does Richard or tatertot want to add my unique butterfly data to the mix I would be happy to help. Just dont make me take the stuff again.”

      A few:

      1. Try some of the probiotics. Mark has one (which I’m going to be adding to my recommendations) and the three SBOs brands I’ve recommended. What I did was got them all and pounded them for a week, along with the RS, then backed off and now I take one of just one brand per day, and I rotate. In this way, cost goes way down.

      2. Mark was very perceptive in suggesting that you don’t take this stuff day in, day out. you also don’t take the same dose. Some days it’ll be 1 TBS, some days 4-5, and some days 2-3, and then I’ll skip altogether at LEAST one day per week, more often two in a row, and sometimes three. I learned this last memorial day when I went on a camping trip and forgot the PS, and wow everything got good and when I resumed things were better.

      3. Or, don’t worry about PS and try to get it from one or all of the primary foods: green bananas and plantains, or cooked and cooled rice, beans, potatoes. Maybe toss in a TBS or two every now & then.

      In any case, I would definitely be doing #1. Things were pretty good for me with just the RS in various forms, but I didn’t know how good it could be until introducing the variety of probiotics.

      Richard Nikoley wrote on March 26th, 2014
  2. I tried potato starch around 2 Tbsps before bed for a couple of weeks. My sleep improved and I did have more vivid dreams. My headaches enduced from bruxism (teeth clenching) was unbearable while supplementing potato starch, I had to stop. I also felt lethargic and down. Not sure if its a nightshade sensitivity or if my gut needs better bugs (probiotics) Would love to hear anyone elses experice who can relate. Facinating how much the gut and brain are connected.

    Cletus wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • I had some tooth clenching/grinding, and for me it was needing more magnesium. When my kids or I make significant changes in our gut, we tend to need more magnesium through the transition, and then it drops back to our normal levels. Since tight or twitchy or spasmy muscles are often (though not always, of course) helped with extra mag, it’s worth a trial.

      Tanya wrote on March 28th, 2014
  3. Don’t forget shiritaki noodles, supposedly they are quite high in resistant starch plus they are very low carb only a few carbs for a big handful and so ar great for diabetics. They have close to zero flavor so if you put them in sauce they just taste like the sauce. They are easy to prepare and add to variety in meals.

    Eva wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • Does anyone know how many grams of RF are in shiritaki noodles?

      I am one of the folks who can’t eat nightshades. (Hubby is allergic to bananas so I don’t usually have them around). Seems like this might be the answer :)
      Hoping this will fix the fact that I have had constipation issues since going AIP protocol :p (consuming plenty of fiber & water, so its something else).

      Kistin wrote on April 9th, 2014
      • Shirataki = konjac. I use a lot of konjac noodles. Now, however, i’m wondering if cooking them defeats the purpose.

        TwitchyFirefly wrote on April 25th, 2014
  4. So it sounds like I can have cooked beans that are cold from being in the fridge. Does that also apply to sweet potato hash?

    nikko wrote on March 26th, 2014
  5. I am pretty confused. I understood that going paleo meant no potatoes, beans, grains or other starchy foods and very little fruit. This article says yes to the potatoes, beans, green bananas, plantains and tapioca. Once I’m eating those things am I even eating a paleo diet any more?

    Dootsy wrote on March 26th, 2014
  6. i’ve been totally on the RS bandwagon, and would be interested in what people think of this: http://sanscarbs.wordpress.com/tag/resistant-starch/

    Jenny wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • Jenny

      I looked at that a while back. Suffice to say I don’t think Ray Peat has a clue of what he’s talking about in terms of starch granules clogging blood vessels. At the time, Tim gave that a good look, can’t recall, and we dismissed it. Maybe he’ll see this and refresh my memory.

      Otherwise, I don’t have hard and fast numbers but those who have the toughest time with resistant starch seem to be uncannily associated with people on chronic VLC or ketogenic diets. What can I say? I just don’t think they’re healthy for most people long term. I think they’re best seen as an intervention that ought to come from a warning label. I was just looking at three studies done on the Inuit to measure their blood levels of ketones. Guess what? Normal. Not in ketosis except as for anyone else, in a severely fasted state (which is how ketosis should be done: IF).

      I recommend go with Mark’s sane carbohydrate curve (see he got it right way back when) and/or Paul Jaminet’s stuff. Funny, if you go to Paul’s site and click on the Reader Results tab, he has it all organized by complaint or condition and when I look down that, it looks just like the names of all the complaints I’ve seen in my comments for years from people years on VLC or Ketogentic, especially older folks.

      Atkins was fabulous for me at 30-y-o. At 45+, LC Paleo was great for two years and then unless it was 75 deg or more, I had cold hands and feet. Now, after really focussing in on upping starches to the 100-200g daily, I’m toasty. This weekend my wife was away, I didn’t bother turning on the furnace, the hour went from 60-63 during the day and I felt fine working where I’m sitting now, all day in shorts and a t-shirt, with toasty hands & feet.

      Richard Nikoley wrote on March 27th, 2014
      • Hi, Richard, thanks so much for your helpful reply.

        I think I’m diabetic, so I’m one of those people who’s maybe been on VLC too long. I’ve been cold a lot, and some of my hormones seem out of whack–hair’s thinner, no period, although I am 40 and breastfeeding, which could be some of it. Every time I’ve upped my carbs in the past, I’ve had issues, but maybe it’s time to try again, and try not to be so tied to low glucose measurements. I’m going to take a look at Mark’s glucose curve and Jaminet’s site again.

        It makes sense that the persorption issue can’t be as bad as it sounds from Ray Peat. If so, we would all need to minimize starch, even if it’s from “healthy” sources such as roots and starchy squashes, so that they don’t produce micro-emboli in our bloodstreams.

        Jenny wrote on March 27th, 2014
        • Jenny:

          Here, check this out. My story of how I used safe starches in reasonable amounts to totally correct years of high FBG numbers as well as high post-meal, now totally back to normal. This is not going hog wild. It’s essentially Mark’s carb curve.

          But it’s always funny to me. Everyone always talks about Mark’s original curve in the under 100g part and almost never in the 150-200g range.

          http://freetheanimal.com/2014/03/eating-starches-diabetes.html

          Thing is, note I’m doing several things at once, here, so there are confounders (but what do I care? I’m not writing a paper for peer review.).

          1. I’m using supplemental RS via PS and others.

          2. 80% of my starchy intake is beans, rice, potatoes cooked, cooled and eaten cold or reheated (I have come to like cold beans with an o/e egg or two on top.

          3. I introduced the probiotics. I was already doing better, but introducing the probiotics along with getting over my LC habit (I had been doing it for so long, it was actually hard to get starch regularly)

          Richard Nikoley wrote on March 27th, 2014
  7. Can someone explain this to me in more simple terms? I thought we shouldn’t be eating rice, and only eating potatoes after a vigorous workout. Maybe I’m missing the point. Halp :)

    Erin wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • How is this primal? What would Grok eat?

      Terri wrote on March 27th, 2014
    • Traditional peoples generally have one or more sources of starch such as tubers, sago palm, coonties, nut sedge “nuts” and so on…lots of recent paleontological evidence for prehistoric people, also. There have been a lot of overly simplistic, inaccurate descriptions of the foods our ancestors ate. Who wouldn’t want to eat the local equivalent of mashed potatoes when it was available? :)

      Energy! wrote on March 30th, 2014
  8. Would you recommend avoiding sweet potato at night if trying to lose weight?

    Ellie wrote on March 26th, 2014
  9. Hi Mark, I tried potato starch for a while and experienced the expected initial gas and bloating but also knee pain, which doesn’t make any sense (isn’t the starch in potatoes devoid of inflammatory compounds?). I’ve switched to green banana flour and, while I’m not tracking blood glucose, etc., it feels okay. Do you have any idea what happened with the potato starch?

    Gaby wrote on March 26th, 2014
    • Perhaps you are sensitive to nightshade vegetables.

      Susan wrote on March 27th, 2014
  10. Jenny, go to Free the Animal – though I don’t know exactly where on the site the info is. Look for posts about PS not being a weight loss choice.

    Harriet wrote on March 27th, 2014
  11. I am all over this. I simply wasn’t feeling good on VLC any more and Richard Nikoley’s Resistant Starch-based dietary guidelines make a lot of sense to me (and some of the comments on that post in relation to starch’s effect on mucus, since I’ve had so many sinus/congestion problems over the last couple of years). Only been eating this way for a couple of weeks, and despite a bit of discomfort bloating wise, feel much better and happier already.

    Tracy wrote on March 27th, 2014
    • Same here. I just wasn’t feeling good (LC/VLC paleo/primal) any more after 2 years. Been using RS, (potato starch) and added safe starches-converted rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes since middle of January. Some probiotics (especially a soil based one) I feel very much bettter, sleep better, my eczema cleared up along with strange itching all over. Lots of energy. I don’t have a weight issue and quite healthy, but feeling and motivating well is the end issue for me. Not sticking like glue to rapidly outmoded thoughts about an eating plan. I still stay away from gluten, wheat, corn, and processed food. Mainly Paleo/Primal. I actually follow the Jaminet Perfect Health Diet, which makes sense FOR ME. (65 YO woman in a family full of autoimmune disease–all my 3 sisters and my daughter and various nieces and aunts). I am clear as far as I can tell, but then I have always tried to take care of my health.

      Junkgrl wrote on March 27th, 2014
      • I had some really bloated and “full” feeling days at first, along with burping, but that has died down and I feel good around my middle again. Nice trips to the bathroom. I stopped the PS for a couple of days this week (a recommended action) and started again this morning. It has been fun experimenting. If I plan to eat more foods with resistant starch that day, I leave off my evening dose I take before I eat supper. My normal dose is 4 T now, twice a day.

        Junkgrl wrote on March 27th, 2014
  12. How about potato salad? – Cooked & cooled yet still palatable.

    WelshGrok wrote on March 27th, 2014
  13. Mark you said:

    “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.”

    This is confusing. Why would people with already healthy gut function respond positively or even need RS? They already have good gut function. Seems to me that if they respond positively, they then did NOT have good gut function before.

    And if RS is a good way to feed the good gut bug as you said it was, how can it cause detriment to a compromised gut? Isn’t it supposed to help?

    Fredrick Hahn wrote on March 27th, 2014
    • “They already have good gut function”

      So why would someone with good metabolic function ever need to consider the number of carbohydrates in their diet, eh Fred?

      “And if RS is a good way to feed the good gut bug…”

      Some pathogenic ones eat it too. It’s the good ones that keep the bad ones in check. Once the proper balance is restored, one doesn’t need to worry about feeding the bad ones too.

      In our book, we have an entire chapter on “Chemical Warfare, all written in military metaphor. It is quite remarkable how these things communicate in 2 chemical languages (one species specific and one common to all bacterium) and essentially have all battlefield roles you see in modern warfare. Keep in mind you’re dealing with 500-1,000 species and no two individuals have anything close to all the same ones, nor in the same proportions.

      Richard Nikoley wrote on March 27th, 2014
      • Richard said: “So why would someone with good metabolic function ever need to consider the number of carbohydrates in their diet, eh Fred?”

        ***Why? Well, so that they aren’t raising their blood glucose levels past what is healthful and, over time, potentially causing hormonal disruption. Your example is akin to saying “Why would someone with good lung function ever need to consider the amount of cigarettes they smoke?” A few won’t hurt you but a lot over time just might.

        I’ll have to read your book. Given what you said however it seems to me that it would be near impossible to improve your good gut bacteria over your bad bacteria when you have no idea what it is you have.

        Fredrick Hahn wrote on March 27th, 2014
        • Fred:

          This is my point. There are tons of reasons why good gut function gets damaged.

          1. Top dog is antibiotics, especially oral where they are absorbed in the gut.

          2. Crap diet that feeds pathogens.

          3. Crap diet that staves beneficial and commensals.

          4. Low fiber diets that starve good bugs, allowing bad ones to get out of control and good ones to feed off mucosal lining.

          Fred, you need to really wrap your mind around the fact that there are 100 trillion of them in a single gut. The total number of people that have ever lived on earth: 110 billion. Humans have 25,000 genes. The gut biome genome is 3 million, more than 100x greater.

          A single cup of native soil contains on average 200 billion bacteria, 20 million protozoa, 100,000 meters of fungi, 100,000 nematodes, and 50,000 arthropods.

          Bacteria, on average, go through 6 generations per day, and they’ve been doing it for 3 billion years. They synthesize many vitamins, as well as targeted antibiotics in their 3 billion year old manufacturing facility.

          I’d add that Grok didn’t do showers or wash his hands before eating, and at most, he just brushed the dirt off stuff. We’re one with the soil and the biome of the earth.

          This has all been a HUGE blind spot for LCers and frankly, it’s the paleo’s who have begun to connect dots.

          Everybody is in a different place with gut health, which is why some people respond great to RS and some not at all. But it is unequivocally necessary for good gut health and as Dr. BG “Grace” says, RS alone won’t help if you’re feeding empty cages, which is why for many for whom RS did little, nothing, or gave adverse reactions, once they began getting soil based organisms via probiotics like Mark’s and three others I recommend, things changed rapidly for most.

          Richard Nikoley wrote on March 27th, 2014
        • Fred,

          That is a common misconception that we “have no idea what it is you have” with functional medicine lab testing from Genova and several over labs now. I wrote this on pg 2 of MDA’s post here but I’ll repost below.

          The litmus test is RS (or inulin or adding beans or adding salads/fiber).

          IF there is no gas, no results or adverse results or excessive gas for an excessive duration, then this may be a strong indication that the gut may not house the requisite and mandatory commensal organisms necessary for longevity, optimal health and immunoprotection (cancer, autoimmunity, athletic and brain performance, etc).

          “In my patients with autoimmune arthritis, 100% invariably have parasites and/or microbial pathogens (bacterial, fungi, etc). Have you ever considered having this assessed? Parasites are often hard to diagnose requiring 3-5 day sampling. These do not remediate easily on the ‘food prescription’ and need some care. Ancestral societies all engaged in proper botanical care, no? Clay, charcoal, antiparasitic and antimicrobial botanicals that are far less likely to harm the commensal symbionts.

          These 16S rRNA stool and urinary fungi and bacterial dysbiosis marker tests are cutting edge yet shamelessly underutilized
          http://www.gdx.net/product/10150‎
          http://www.gdx.net/product/10003‎

          If a part of one’s gut were missing (like a commensal benficial Clostridium, Bacteroidetes, Bifido or Lacto strain) or ‘amputated’, previously we would not know or be aware, no?

          Now tools exist where we can tell an ‘arm’ or ‘heart’ are missing or maimed. These strains keep nightshades and other common food ‘allergens’ from breaching and triggering hypersensitivity from the immune system fyi. They keep Candida and Klebsiella from translocating and triggering arithritis reactions in joint tissues because candida and Kleb resemble the same strings of amino acids found in joints and other mammalian tissues.”

          Grace/Dr.BG wrote on March 30th, 2014
  14. I’d really like to know if adding vinegar to rs foods negates or lessens their value. I’m a vinegar fan both for taste & for its digestion-aiding qualities, but would the latter be a downside in this case? For instance I love a good, sharp potato salad, with vinaigrette instead of mayo…

    Paleo-curious wrote on March 27th, 2014
    • Hey, as far as I know, vinegar has the same effect as RS. I use vinegar everyday in my salad. Vinegar is known to regulate blood glucose. So RS and vinegar would definitely be an enhancement (cooled potato salad).

      La Frite wrote on March 27th, 2014
  15. My husband and I have recently started making tapioca flour tortillas and they are delicious and an excellent, fast, filling meal when filled with delicious meat and veggies. I had no idea that they were this good for us though! We were treating them as an occasional treat. Gonna go make a big batch! They break down to about 2 table spoons per tortilla so they are maybe an easy way to get in the RS. If anyone wants to try them, I found the recipe here: http://www.paleonewbie.com/paleo-gluten-free-tortillas-recipe/

    Lindsay wrote on March 27th, 2014
    • Lindsay

      Unlikely your tapioca four tortillas have much RS. 2 reasons:

      1. Nobody seems to know just how much RS is in tapioca flour. Using potato starch as a control, which gives no spike, people who have tested tapioca flour are all over the map.

      2. But even if it does have appreciable amounts, cooking them (like steaming, nuking, or flaming them over the gas stove) will kill the RS.

      Richard Nikoley wrote on March 27th, 2014
  16. People mention Shiratake noodles and shiratake rice as resistant starch.
    Is this correct?

    Sabine wrote on March 27th, 2014
  17. I have a question for Richard Nikoley. Richard, what is the RS situation in the following 3 scenarios:

    1- steamed potatoes cold from the fridge (leftovers) fried up scrispy into hashbrowns on Saturday morning (with onions, yum)

    2-Same leftover potatoes, microwaved in my leftovers at work for lunch

    3-leftover cooked, cold rice made into fried rice the next day

    Sorry if I missed this info somewhere, there’s so many comments now and I haven’t had time to read them all.

    Thanks,
    Dan

    Dan wrote on March 27th, 2014
    • Dan:

      I don’t think there’s going to be a big enough difference between 1 & 2 to worry about. Cover all bases and do both. I do prefer to cube my cold potatoes (I bake a 5lb sack at a time, toss ‘em in the fridge). I cube and fry them up with red palm oil (the real stuff from east Africa) in a wok. Ready in about 5.

      When I microwave, I do so minimally. I don’t think there’s any specific info on how the microwave affects RS. It works specifically on water molecules, so, could help (by driving more water out of the retrograded structure, making it more resistant to digestion) or hurt (by busting the structure apart). Don’t know. Best way to test would be to compare the same amount of freshly cooked potatoes, measure BG at intervals, then later, do the same thing with the cooked and reheated in the nuker. If you have substantially less BG reaction in the latter, then you’ve got good RS in there.

      In terms of rice, it’s normally a bit less than potatoes (but fried rice is the best way to do it) and beans are a bit more. However, parboiled rice has about double the RS to start with, and lots more nutrition.

      http://freetheanimal.com/2013/12/parboiled-nutritious-resistant.html

      (If anyone wants to bring up the arsenic issue, please see the comments on that post first. Totally hashed out, utter and complete red herring. Make sure and read the linked article about the “arsenic eaters.”)

      Richard Nikoley wrote on March 27th, 2014
  18. As a type 1 diabetic and paleo dietitian I took on the usage of RS as a personal experiment. While it lowered my fasting BGs, it also got a little dangerous and I would be able to eat meals with no insulin. Yet, it almost had too much of an affect; I would have to eat more to keep my blood sugars up. I lowered the dose of RS (I was using 1 heaping tsp of potato starch), I still had extreme low BGs (when working out I went from 135 mg/dl to 32 mg/dl in 20 minutes. So overall, after many episodes like this I have dc’d the use of RS. Perhaps more ideal for metabolic syndrome pts or type 2s….just my feedback on the topic. Interesting though, no doubt.

    Kelly Schmidt, RD wrote on March 27th, 2014
  19. I’ve never seen maca listed as a source of RS.. Does anybody know if it has any?

    Anna wrote on March 27th, 2014
  20. Wait — is the following really true??

    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.

    Thoughts?

    Marci wrote on March 26th, 2014Reply

    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.

    Q wrote on March 27th, 2014
  21. I had 18 inches of my small intestine and 8 inches of my large intestine (also the iliocecal valve) removed due to an infection 10 years ago. Does anyone know how RS affects that? I take pre and probiotics daily, I do my best to eat what I call healthy, mostly primal except I do not eat pork or shellfish and corn as I am allergic to these. What can I do to ensure that I absorb the most from RS and other foods. I find that gaining weight can be tough, but I still have fat that I want to decrease…. Any suggestions would be most appreciated! Thanks

    Nina wrote on March 27th, 2014
  22. They did an update on Resistance Starch in the “Latest in Paleo” podcast, episode #103 “Probiotics, Antibiotics, Meat and Obesity” which contained updated information from Tim Steele.

    ChrissyR wrote on March 27th, 2014
  23. Interesting… From time to time I really enjoy cooked and cooled lentils with olive oil, salt, pepper, and lemon juice… Glad to hear it may be doing some good!!

    GiryaGirl wrote on March 27th, 2014
  24. What exactly is unmodified potato starch? Where I live (Germany) I can only buy potato starch (in stores or on amazon), which doesn’t say unmodified or modified on it. It is regular starch used for cooking (binding sauces etc). Is that unmodified?

    Martin wrote on March 27th, 2014
  25. Richard said:

    “This is my point. There are tons of reasons why good gut function gets damaged.

    1. Top dog is antibiotics, especially oral where they are absorbed in the gut.

    2. Crap diet that feeds pathogens.

    3. Crap diet that staves beneficial and commensals.

    4. Low fiber diets that starve good bugs, allowing bad ones to get out of control and good ones to feed off mucosal lining.

    Fred, you need to really wrap your mind around the fact that there are 100 trillion of them in a single gut. The total number of people that have ever lived on earth: 110 billion. Humans have 25,000 genes. The gut biome genome is 3 million, more than 100x greater.”

    *****You’re being aggressive, argumentative and creating strawmen. None of what you said above did I argue or refute.

    “A single cup of native soil contains on average 200 billion bacteria, 20 million protozoa, 100,000 meters of fungi, 100,000 nematodes, and 50,000 arthropods. Bacteria, on average, go through 6 generations per day, and they’ve been doing it for 3 billion years. They synthesize many vitamins, as well as targeted antibiotics in their 3 billion year old manufacturing facility. I’d add that Grok didn’t do showers or wash his hands before eating, and at most, he just brushed the dirt off stuff. We’re one with the soil and the biome of the earth. This has all been a HUGE blind spot for LCers and frankly, it’s the paleo’s who have begun to connect dots.”

    ****You seem to be suggesting in response to virtually every comment I write that low carbers are idiots and paleo peeps are smart. Like you are trying to create fictitious warring factions. Why?

    “Everybody is in a different place with gut health, which is why some people respond great to RS and some not at all. But it is unequivocally necessary for good gut health and as Dr. BG “Grace” says, RS alone won’t help if you’re feeding empty cages, which is why for many for whom RS did little, nothing, or gave adverse reactions, once they began getting soil based organisms via probiotics like Mark’s and three others I recommend, things changed rapidly for most.”

    *****This is evasive. And for most? You are, once again, being argumentative. I am not suggesting nor have I suggested that RS isn’t good. I was pointing out some issues regarding RS that seemed illogical to me. Try not to be so defensive.

    Fredrick Hahn wrote on March 27th, 2014
    • Fred, I’m not being defensive.

      Make no mistake: I am taking VLC and ketogentic advocates as lifestyle, to task. You didn’t surmise that?

      I have been doubling down on that bet for a year. All is going to plan. After all, it’s you out defending your turf, right?

      I mean, you’re here in the first place because this is a clear potential undercutting of the entire VLC catechism from forever, and it’s all over the place.

      You, sir, are the one being defensive.

      I am on the attack.

      Richard Nikoley wrote on March 29th, 2014
      • “You, sir, are the one being defensive.I am on the attack.”

        ****I like that. Of course, if what you’re suggesting is that you are on the offensive, remember that the best offense is a good defense. But I get it. You’re just being YOU.

        You’ve dazzled me with your inexpert knowledge of the human gut biome, but you haven’t addressed my statement that it seems somewhat illogical to say on one hand that RS is good for the gut but only for someone with a healthy gut and potentially bad for someone with an unhealthy gut but if you have an unhealthy gut you need RS.

        So what do you and Mark suggest one feed the good bugs and not the bad bugs if you have too little good bugs and too many bad bugs?

        I realize that neither of you are experts (meaning, not scientists or physicians who treat these issues professionally), but from your layman’s view point.

        If this has been addressed in your book, blogs, etc. then I apologize but I have not read all of your and Mark’s work on the subject yet. I am just beginning to learn about all this. (I’ve been spending most of my time on Dr. Art Ayers site).

        So if you could give me a link to a post that answers this I’d be grateful. And you’ll be rewarded (if you can call it a reward) with a free Slow Burn workout at my gym and a steak dinner (with lots of carbs) next your in NYC. :)

        Fredrick Hahn wrote on March 29th, 2014
    • That said, Fred, I’m a huge fan of ketogentic and VLC.

      It’s called a fast. One does it for 24-30+ hours every week or too.

      Hormetic, and autophagic.

      Otherwise, one avoids LC like the plague, as any animal naturally would.

      BTW, Fed, homework for you. Try to calculate how many hundreds of carbs African cats get from liver and muscle glycogen from a fresh kill, before it degrades (which it does rapidly). Then, cross reference with that with stories on northern hunters who ate liver on the spot because it made them feel so good.

      Finally, get hold of the three studies on Inuit that measured blood ketones and found them never to be in ketosis.

      Oh, yea, and find out how they used animals to ferment carbohydrates for the winter.

      I could go on and on. It’s all on my blog. :)

      Richard Nikoley wrote on March 29th, 2014
      • “That said, Fred, I’m a huge fan of ketogentic and VLC.”

        ****I know. I read your blog regularly.

        “It’s called a fast. One does it for 24-30+ hours every week or too.”

        ****Yes, I know.

        “Hormetic, and autophagic.”

        ****I’ll have to look those terms up.

        “Otherwise, one avoids LC like the plague, as any animal naturally would.”

        ***ANY animal? You mean like a dolphin or a tiger or a frog or a spider or a polar bear or a praying mantis or a…you lost me here big fella.

        “BTW, Fed, homework for you. Try to calculate how many hundreds of carbs African cats get from liver and muscle glycogen from a fresh kill, before it degrades (which it does rapidly). Then, cross reference with that with stories on northern hunters who ate liver on the spot because it made them feel so good.”

        ****You’ve said this before. You’ve said that a fresh polar kill would supply lot’s of carbs from the still present glycogen in the animal suggesting that a lion or tiger eat a high carb diets. I think you said that the typical Inuit ate ~100 grams of carbs a day. You said this to me as if I thought this would be taboo and turn these people into raging diabetics.

        First, rather than make me do homework like your my dad, it would be friendlier if you could cite your sources. You’re the one making the claim and the burden of proof lies with the claimant.

        “Finally, get hold of the three studies on Inuit that measured blood ketones and found them never to be in ketosis.”

        ****Would you be so kind as to cite them since you have them? I’m sure Dr. Eades and the entire LC physician world would be interested in this since they never make mention of this.

        “Oh, yea, and find out how they used animals to ferment carbohydrates for the winter.”

        ****Seal flipper snacks and such. Yes, I have read about it. So what? These are NOT The type of carbohydrates we are talking about when we discuss LCD.

        “I could go on and on. It’s all on my blog.”

        ****As I said, I read your blog. Are the references I asked for there? A link would be friendly.

        Fredrick Hahn wrote on March 29th, 2014
        • “*Would you be so kind as to cite them since you have them?”

          Fred:

          They are cited in the post that’s currently top of the blog:

          “The Numbers Matter and Only the Numbers Matter”

          You’ll find them in one of the block quotes.

          Richard Nikoley wrote on March 30th, 2014
        • @Fred – “the burden of proof lies with the claimant”

          There’s no such universal rule. It’s more the rule is that the burden of whatever (including bearing the costs) is on a beneficiary or a potential beneficiary. A legal notion of the claimant being obliged to provide evidence of the claim can be derived from the former rule – what you go to the courts for is to get some benefits from someone. We also have customs of expecting people to be elected to provide some justifications (far from proof) that their proposed policies would work, or in case of debaters since they get paid for the debate we also expect them to bring some proofs. Same with scientists – we expect them to provide proofs if they received some grant money.

          Opposite to that asking a normal person in a normal conversation to explain themselves for whatever they say is recognized as bad manners, Try this yourself – go to a party, and for every sentence your interlocutor makes ask intensively for him to prove it; and do a detailed quality assurance on his answers!

          Notice not providing evidence is not only a stress-reducing custom, but also a time optimization – you can get much more information in the same amount of time. It also opens this whole area of knowledge where the way of getting it should not be disclosed (like protecting one’s informants, or getting the info illegally or just in some not-so-moral way). Things one just wouldn’t get at all if proving claims would be somehow obligatory. Besides – outside of those who are paid of a few percent of those who just like arguing with evidence as a hobby – why would anyone bother provinding evidence?

          As if people don’t have better things to do than arguing with some malicious types who treat people giving them some good advice worse than people who are not interested with helping them at all by bombarding the former with pretentious proof demands, while treating the later better?

          GTR wrote on April 3rd, 2014
  26. I stumbled onto the Paleo lifestyle because I read about the strength among Indians in the books of Lewis and Clark and David Thompson. There I made the connection between diet, lifestyle and strength. This connection in 2008 brought me to the Paleo world and by extension Mark’s realm.
    Six years ago I weighed 196lbs, heavy for my 5’10” 48year old frame. Today my weight fluctuates between 156 and 158lbs. I go to the gym six days a week, three heavy days with compound lifts and sprints and three light days. I look good (not as good as Mark but close) and am happy with my progress.
    As a First Nations guy I knew some traditional Aboriginals ate starch in the form of wild onions. It turns out that raw wild onions contain RS starch. (My people ate wild onions raw and they ate a lot of them. However, I’m not speaking for all aboriginals just my small group) Since I do not have time to look for wild onions I’ve been following the Potato starch protocol since July of last year, two tablespoons a day since July and three tbsp since December. Results: weight – no change, body composition –no change, strength – moving up incrementally but I cannot attribute it to RS, sleep – I have always slept the sleep of the just, passing wind- zero before last July and a occasional toot today.
    I have made a commitment to do it for a year because the rationale behind the protocol makes sense and RS is Paleo in my corner of the Aboriginal world. I’ll report back in August with my results.

    Directm wrote on March 27th, 2014
  27. i believe that grok didn’t ponder about these things. he ate what was available

    paleozeta wrote on March 28th, 2014
    • Paleozeta

      That’s right and the evidence shows that paleoman had tone of resistant starch available.

      It’s in our book, and lots of new refs from 2013 and 2014.

      Richard Nikoley wrote on March 29th, 2014
  28. very good for who wants to stay into ketosis….

    paleozeta wrote on March 28th, 2014
  29. RS was a “missing piece” in my personal nutritional puzzle. Benefits include higher energy level that lasts into the evening, no more hypoglycemic “have-to-eat-or-I’ll-faint” feelings, no more “brain-fog” so now can focus on my work, reduced appetite and cravings, better sleep. Am also taking probiotics in various forms and trying many types of fermented foods and foods with fiber.

    A few weeks before starting RS I had begun adding more starchy carbs (potatoes and rice) which was helpful, though nothing dramatic ensued. However, the weekend after starting RS I was able to do yard work all day long both days…my hubby was amazed, because for years and years I have only been good for an hour or two, if that. It has been three weeks now and I’m getting several hours of my life back every day, instead of being dragged out much of the time. Have never been diagnosed with anything in particular but have had fatigue problems for decades related to food, blood sugar, etc.

    I’ve read a fair amount about nutrition over the years yet had pretty much overlooked the importance of gut health and how it all works. Nutrition is complicated and at times I’ve neglected to inform myself and have relied on simplistic theories like “eat low carb” without knowing enough about the ramifications. There is a ton of misinformation floating around and it can be tough to sort it out. Huge kudos to Mark/MDA, TaterTot, Richard/FTA, Paul/PHD, and others for helping to bring more information to light.

    Energy! wrote on March 28th, 2014
  30. When I try anything pre or probiotic, I immediately experience gas, bloating, then constipation so bad that I have compromised sleep for days and feel fatigued. RS had the same effect. On normal paleo and as long as I keep caffeine down, I feel amazing. Is my gut still off or am I just sensitive to anything that changes my flora?

    Dave wrote on March 28th, 2014
    • You might want to check out some of the discussion about resistant starch and fodmaps sensitivities on Chris Kresser’s site or listen to the podcast Chris Kresser did with Robb Wolf (on Robb’s site). They talk about people who are sensitive to other prebiotics increasing their digestive robustness (I mean, reducing the type/amount of things that cause digestive or other problems) by very slowly increasing resistant starch intake. And often needing some/several of the supplemental probiotics.

      Tanya wrote on March 28th, 2014
      • Thank you for that. I’m beginning with 1/2 a teaspoon of potato starch every other day or so. Maybe I’ll eat some coconut yogurt, but very little at a time and move up to more.

        Dave wrote on March 28th, 2014
    • Dave, due my own experience (I’m 53) and reading 10,000 comments in over 90 posts, seeing friends and family members, I would have to guess that you have a severely bad gut. Sorry, but basically 1%, so it’s you, man.

      You should probably go to Dr Grace’s blog and search around.

      Richard Nikoley wrote on March 29th, 2014
  31. Why does the PS have to be raw? What if I cook it for example to thicken my vegetable meal?

    My other question is, that does potato flakes make as well? As far as I know, they are already cooked and dried flakes.

    Anna wrote on March 28th, 2014
  32. It’s ironic… all you people w/ your arbitrarily restrictive paleo diet… and all you’ve done is screw up your gut.

    I’ve eaten carbs my whole life. I took the bob’s red mill for a few months.

    It did nothing.

    Why? Cause my gut isn’t screwed up to begin with… cause I’ve always eaten carbs.

    George Patrcik wrote on March 28th, 2014
  33. Is there any RS in frozen bananas? I hope so…

    Amy B wrote on March 28th, 2014
  34. Could this be a reason why those 30 bananas a day freaks dont get the diabetus?

    matthew dooley wrote on March 28th, 2014
  35. Three days of potato starch in water before bed. So far, so good. I guess I can return the gas masks I bought for the wife, kid, and dog just in case.
    Haven’t noticed a change in my outlook or dreams yet, though.

    His Dudeness wrote on March 28th, 2014
  36. I was interested in this, especially that potato starch made the list. I have tested my blood sugar 1 & 2 hours after eating white potatoes & find they elevate my sugar too long (150). I have insulin resistance. But am not full blown diabetic. I would encourage others to consider how adding these foods might increase the production of insulin (a fat storing hormone) when adding these types of starches back in. I didn’t read all of the comments, so apologize if this is a repeat comment.

    Apple2514 wrote on March 28th, 2014
  37. For those of us who cannot understand the science of this stuff, can someone just tell me how to add this into my diet? Break it down into plain Betty Crockerish recipe. :) I have to confess, I’m so very confused with all the science that there are many things I have no idea how to try – I really and truly don’t get how to add them to my life. And please, don’t be mean to me. I’m very intelligent in other areas but science and math are not ‘my thing’. And I’m not alone. Friends have given up even trying primal/paleo because the arguments get bogged down. Thanks in advance!
    *Mark and worker bees, I do very much appreciate you all – I just wish I could understand you. :)

    Lynn wrote on March 28th, 2014
  38. So why the initial gassiness, followed by no gassiness, does anyone know? Is it that RS is feeding both helpful and less helpful gut bacteria, and after a while of using RS the “good” bacteria become predominant, being somehow better adapted to thriving in the human gut?

    I’m trying to figure out whether I should try to prevail with RS, despite the fact that it exacerbates to my pre-existing abdominal bloating.

    Webraven wrote on March 29th, 2014
  39. I never tried it yet, but since tapioca flour does count too, I sounds like I could make some bubble tea like drink. ^^ (Maybe cold tea with bubbles?)

    Goyangi wrote on March 29th, 2014
  40. Does the tapioca flour have to be mixed with water and drank as is, or can it be cooked as in a pancake? Same w/ green plantains. Does cooking change them. Green banana flour: how is it used?

    Debbi wrote on March 29th, 2014
    • Ok, dumb questions. Re-read info and the answers are there.

      Debbi wrote on March 29th, 2014

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