Resistant Starch and Diabetes

Last updated on September 27th, 2022

Mostly, diet affects the blood glucose levels in the body. A healthy diet must be rich in veggies, complex carbs, and fruits with a low glycaemic index. It is vital for diabetics or pre-diabetics. Diabetics must replace processed carbs from junk foods with healthy carbs from fruits, veggies, or whole grains. Generally, diabetics should avoid starch in their daily diets. As it might cause sudden spikes in the glucose levels. Simple starches get absorbed easily. Their digestion and release into glucose occur in the blood. Yet, resistant starch is the type of starch that diabetics can benefit from. Read this blog to know more about resistant starch and diabetes.

Resistant Starch and Diabetes

News is being spread about resistant starch these days. Resistant starch works well for weight loss and regulates blood glucose. If any person has not heard about it, now is a great time to learn more. Let’s begin with the definition. Resistant starch is a carb that resists digestion in the small intestine. Also, it ferments in the large intestine. As the fibers ferment they work as a prebiotic. Also, they feed the good bacteria in the gut. There are numerous types of resistant starch. They can be classified as per structure or source. Above one kind of resistant starch might occur in a single food.

Also Read: Blood Sugar Lowering Tips

Diabetes: What Is Resistant Starch?

Resistant starch is a type of starch. Its digestion into the upper gut is not simple. And, thus a small part of it remains in the gut in its unchanged form. This works as nourishment for the bacteria in the large intestine. And, results in various benefits for the body. It causes the growth of useful bacteria in the gut. Also, it causes the release of short-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids are vital for colon health. There are various types of resistant starch as well. Few types may be taken via dietary sources. Whereas, few others are synthetically manufactured through chemical processes. The major benefit of resistant starch is it is soluble and fermentable fiber.

The name resistant starch signifies “resists” digestion. It leaves the small intestine pretty much undamaged. And, then it goes inside the large intestine. Once it’s present in the large intestine, fermentation of resistant starch occurs by bacteria. And, the production of short-chain fatty acids occurs. Short-chain fatty acids play a huge role in health, such as:

  • Supporting colon health
  • Decreasing the levels of blood sugar
  • Reducing blood cholesterol levels
  • Preventing colon cancer
  • Boosting immunity
  • Lowering appetite
  • Increasing the amount of fat used for fuel
  • Aiding in weight loss

Also Read: HbA1c Levels

How Does It Work?

Resistant starch works as a soluble, fermentable fiber. It goes through the stomach and small intestine. It remains undigested, and ultimately reaches the colon. There, it feeds the friendly gut bacteria. Whereas the majority of foods feed only 10% of the cells. Fermentable fibers and resistant starches feed the other 90%. There are many species of bacteria in the intestine. The number and type of bacteria may have a profound impact on health. Resistant starch feeds the friendly bacteria in the intestine. They have a positive effect on the type of bacteria and their number. When the bacteria digest resistant starches, they produce many compounds. These compounds are gases and short-chain fatty acids, mostly butyrate.

Resistant starch offers 20% and 30% higher fat-burning post-meal. Butyrate is one of the short-chain fatty acids. And, it seems to inhibit the body’s ability to use carbohydrates as a fuel. Thus, the body reacts by burning more fat in its place.

Resistant starch might aid diabetics in better managing their blood sugar levels. Blood sugar levels tend to spike less quickly and not as high after meals. Meals contain high resistant starch than the “regular” carb foods. Resistant starch tends to improve insulin sensitivity. Also, it helps people who are at risk for diabetes or prediabetes. Resistant starch occurs in some snack bars. These snack bars aim at preventing hypoglycemia as well.

Here are a few top sources of resistant starch:

  • Whole grains including rye, brown rice, oats, wheat, barley, and corn
  • Slightly green bananas
  • Legumes (beans, lentils, dried peas)
  • Potatoes
  • Yams

Legumes comprise the highest quantity of resistant starch. Also, there are some bread and cereals available. These come with added resistant starch known as Hi-maize.

Also Read: Indian Diabetic Diet for Adults

Benefits of Resistant Starch for people with Diabetes

Resistant starch is vital for feeding the colon cells. Yet, it comes with a number of powerful health benefits. These benefits include the improvement of insulin sensitivity in diabetics. Here’s how resistant starch might aid people with diabetes:

Improves Glucose Metabolism

Meals with resistant starch in them lower the blood glucose spikes following the meal. Resistant starch improves the body’s responsiveness to insulin. Insulin is responsible for metabolizing glucose. It also keeps the blood glucose levels under check. A study concluded that intake of resistant starch improved insulin sensitivity in diabetics.

Aids Weight Loss

Foods containing resistant starch have fewer calories. Resistant starch promotes feelings of satiety or fullness. As a result, keeps the hunger pangs at bay. Also, it helps in weight loss by making them consume fewer calories. Losing weight might aid diabetics to manage the condition better. As weight loss helps in improving the body’s capacity to react to insulin.

Diabetes Diet: Foods Containing Resistant Starch

Here are a few foods that diabetics can include in their diets. It may help in improving their intake of resistant starch. Also, the respective amounts of resistant starch in them are given.

  • Raw banana and Banana flour: Consists of 4.7gm and 42 gm resistant starch.
  • Lentils: 5 gm
  • Cooked White Beans: 7.4 gm
  • Oats and oatmeal: 17.6 gm and 0.5 gm resistant starch
  • Cooked Pearl Barley (Jau): 3.2 gm

Data as per the Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2008. Specify all the amounts for portions equal to 1 cup (approx. 227 gms). Diabetics must discuss with their nutritionist/dietitian before including anything to their daily diet. Too much resistant starch results in flatulence.

Types of Resistant Starch

Not all resistant starches are similar. There are four different types.

  • Type 1: Occurs in grains, seeds, and legumes. They resist digestion as it gets bind within the fibrous cell walls.
  • Type 2: Occurs in a few starchy foods. These are raw potatoes and green (unripe) bananas.
  • Type 3: Is produced when starchy foods (potatoes and rice) are cooked. Then, cool it. Cooling turns a few digestible starches into resistant starches. Conversion occurs by retrogradation.
  • Type 4: Is man-made and gets produced through a chemical process.

Yet, this classification is not so easy. As numerous types of resistant starch might co-exist in the same food. Based upon the preparation of foods, the amount of resistant starch modifies. For instance, ripen a banana. This degrades the resistant starches and converts them into regular starches.

How to Add Resistant Starch to a Diet

  • Try cooking rice, pasta, potatoes, and beans a day in advance. Then, cool in the refrigerator overnight. It’s perfect to reheat the starch before consumption. Reheating doesn’t reduce the quantity of resistant starch.
  • Instead of cooked oatmeal, use uncooked oats. Soak them in yogurt, milk, or non-dairy milk. Then, refrigerate it overnight (often known as overnight oats).
  • Add lentils to a salad or soup.
  • As a partial flour replacement, try:
  • green banana flour
  • plantain flour
  • cassava flour
  • potato starch.

Resistant starch gets lost while baking or cooking with these flours. A person can also supplement with the little amount (one to two teaspoons) in a food.

Health Benefits of Resistant Starch

Resistant starch has several benefits for metabolic health. It is thought to improve insulin sensitivity. Insulin sensitivity is the reaction of the body’s cells to insulin. Also, resistant starch lowers blood glucose levels after meals. It also has a second meal effect. This means that if a person eats resistant starch with breakfast. It would also reduce the blood sugar spike at lunch. The effect on sugar and insulin metabolism is very remarkable. A 33–50% improvement in insulin sensitivity was found after 4 weeks of having 15-30 grams per day. Do not stress on the importance of insulin sensitivity.

Having low insulin sensitivity is the major risk factor for serious ailments. These are:

  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Heart disease
  • Alzheimer’s.

Resistant starch improves insulin sensitivity and reduces blood sugar. It helps a person avoid chronic disease and improves quality of life. Yet, not all studies settle that resistant starch has these favorable effects. It depends on the person, the dose and the kind of resistant starch.

May Aid Weight Loss by Improving Satiety

Resistant starch has lesser calories than regular starch. The two vs four calories per gram. The higher the resistant starches content in a food, the smaller calories it contains. Soluble fiber supplements add to weight loss. This is done by increasing feelings of fullness and lowering appetite. Resistant starch seems to have a similar effect. Adding resistant starch to meals:

  • enhances the feelings of fullness, and
  • makes people consume fewer calories.

When enhancing fiber intake, go slowly and drink enough water. This lowers the GI side effects. Remember all types of fiber have health benefits. Thus, consume a range of fiber-containing foods.


What occurs if a diabetic doesn’t have enough carbs?

Left unchecked, low-carbs may enhance the risk of dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. This occurs because when the body stores carbs. It also stores water along with it. Also, in response to lowered glucose levels, the body fails to produce much insulin.

Does reheating damage resistant starch?

The way of preparation of starch-containing foods affects their starch content. As, cooking or heating damages most resistant starches. Yet, a person can recapture the resistant starch content of few foods. This can be done by letting them cool after cooking.

Can I consume too much resistant starch?

Resistant starch works as a fiber in the body. It is a part of majority of daily foods. There is usually little risk of side effects with resistant starch. Higher levels of resistant starch might cause mild side effects. These side effects are gas and bloating.

Does resistant starch influence insulin?

Consuming resistant starch help in improving insulin sensitivity. A significant improvement in insulin sensitivity is also seen in males who ate non-resistant starch.



 Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 


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