Resistant Starch: Promise for Improving Human Health

Just published in the journal, Advances in Nutrition.

Diane F. Birt, Terri Boylston, Suzanne Hendrich, Jay-Lin Jane, James Hollis, Li Li, John McClelland, Samuel Moore, Gregory J. Phillips, Matthew Rowling, Kevin Schalinske, M. Paul Scott, and Elizabeth M. Whitley


Ongoing research to develop digestion-resistant starch for human health promotion integrates the disciplines of starch chemistry, agronomy, analytical chemistry, food science, nutrition, pathology, and microbiology. The objectives of this research include identifying components of starch structure that confer digestion resistance, developing novel plants and starches, and modifying foods to incorporate these starches. Furthermore, recent and ongoing studies address the impact of digestion-resistant starches on the prevention and control of chronic human diseases, including diabetes, colon cancer, and obesity. This review provides a transdisciplinary overview of this field, including a description of types of resistant starches; factors in plants that affect digestion resistance; methods for starch analysis; challenges in developing food products with resistant starches; mammalian intestinal and gut bacterial metabolism; potential effects on gut microbiota; and impacts and mechanisms for the prevention and control of colon cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Although this has been an active area of research and considerable progress has been made, many questions regarding how to best use digestion-resistant starches in human diets for disease prevention must be answered before the full potential of resistant starches can be realized. [emphasis added]


“Tatertot” Tim Steele and I are trying to get our hands on the full text. If anyone can help, that would be nice.

To get up to speed on Resistant Starch, here’s a link that’ll get you to my dozen+ posts on the topic, including hundreds of comments on N=1 self experimentation with supplementing RS using 80% by weight RS potato starch. Results are at least 90% to the positive. As of this writing, just Googling ‘resistant starch’ gets you that ‘tag’ link as the top result.

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  1. Michael on December 13, 2013 at 13:02

    Trial subsriptions are free for 45 days. Easy peasy.

  2. Clem on December 13, 2013 at 14:16

    I forked over the twelve bucks to get the “secure” PDF. It is just a review article, and for me was less informative than this and other blogs. The one novel thing was some scary (to me) talk about using GMO to make starches more resistant.

  3. Richard Nikoley on December 13, 2013 at 15:43

    Got the full text. How about this quote:

    “This review summarizes the types of digestion-resistant starches, the complexity associated with the analysis of dif- ferent types of resistant starch, and the current status of re- sistant starches in foods. This review addresses how, after ingestion, normal food starch is rapidly digested and ab- sorbed as glucose, potentiating a hyperglycemic response and triggering insulin secretion and tissue-specific intracel- lular uptake of glucose that can then result in hypoglycemia. Repetition of this hyper- and hypoglycemic cycle appears to result in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, thereby con- tributing to obesity. In contrast, enzyme-resistant starches pass through the upper digestive tract to the colon, where they are fermented by bacteria, producing important metab- olites, including SCFAs. These metabolites appear to have important biological effects, including reduction of colon cancer precursors, systemic regulation of macronutrient metabolism, and altered secretion of hormones, which can lead to improved physical and mental health.”

    Pretty much gives my whole meta-point.

  4. Geoff on December 14, 2013 at 08:17

    Alright, Richard. You’ve conviced me. Just dropped the “red pill” (Bob’s Red Mill, that is). Looking forward to reporting back with some positive health improvements and dreams reminiscent of “Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun”

  5. gabriella kadar on December 14, 2013 at 08:48

    Richard the ” altered secretion of hormones” sounds very interesting. Any mention of neurotransmitters? (I’ve asked my friend to get me the article but since you already got it…. s’okay).

  6. gabriella kadar on December 14, 2013 at 12:46

    Heisenbug, they’ve only just recently been scraping the deposits off of the teeth of Neanderthals. Sure, they found starch granules. Possibly if you find the authors and people working on this, they may be able to tell you more.

    The Samara River Valley Project determined that the people living in that area (can’t recall the dates, but look it up, not a problem) consumed the starchy roots of waterplants. Heat was in all likelihood applied.

    I have corresponded with Prof. Anthony in the past and he is a helpful guy. He can direct you to whoever was working on the dietary.

  7. Gemma on December 15, 2013 at 08:37


    What about this:
    “This paper presents data from the English Channel area of Britain and Northern France on the spatial distribution of Lower to early Middle Palaeolithic pre-MIS5 interglacial sites which are used to test the contention that the pattern of the richest sites is a real archaeological distribution and not of taphonomic origin. These sites show a marked concentration in the middle-lower reaches of river valleys with most being upstream of, but close to, estimated interglacial tidal limits. A plant and animal database derived from Middle-Late Pleistocene sites in the region is used to estimate the potentially edible foods and their distribution in the typically undulating landscape of the region. This is then converted into the potential availability of macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, fats) and selected micronutrients.”

    (although not exactly that you are serching)

  8. pzo on December 15, 2013 at 08:57

    @ Heisenberg: I think it’ pointless to try to figure out RS consumption from so long ago across so many climates, foods, and populations. Maybe we are actually in a technological position to improve on these matters.

    More pzo experience, now. It’s working, at least as far as BG and insulin. I’ve doubled my intake to 8 TBL’s/day, half early in the day, half in the evening. My FBG’s are mostly in the 90’s, sometimes in the 80’s, and once in awhile 100 to 110. But the biggest improvement is post-prandial, which is the measure that counts. For the first time since monitoring my BG last spring, I can eat 40 grams of carbs at a meal, hit 150-160, and then be back to +/-100 in two hours.

    Believe it or not, I hardly ever fart any more. Yes, I have vivid dreams. And my waist has shrunk a bit despite not losing weight. I think that was noted in one of those RS research trials Tater tot mentioned early on.

    Thank you Richard, TT, Marie, and all who have carried the RS ball across the goal line.

  9. pzo on December 16, 2013 at 05:12

    “This just in…….,” as is said.

    Lowest FBG ever in my life this AM; 80. Other than an ounce of cheese w/ a slab of butter (Go fats!) around 8 PM, haven’t eaten since 3 PM. Still not hungry. Also, significantly lowest weight in several years.

    Only downed 4 TBL of PS yesterday, didn’t get around to the second dose.

  10. MsMcGillicuddy on December 16, 2013 at 06:10

    Often, we read of fecal transplants used to treat various conditions, sometimes as a last resort.

    Wouldn’t a gut flora revolution (as we’ve been discussing on this site) be a potentially less complicated strategy for solving the same or similar issues?

  11. […] there have been many others, here and there, including a brand new one just the other day (thanks to the three people, including a former "enemy," who emailed me the full text—turns out […]

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