When it comes to weight loss carbohydrates generally get a bad rap, primarily because carbohydrates eventually turn into sugar.
However, there seems to be great confusion over the THREE different types of carbohydrates that can be found in our diet, namely:
Sugars are simple carbs made up of only one or two molecules combined and are quickly absorbed in the blood stream.
Starch and fiber are made up of at least three sugar molecules making them complex carbs, which take longer to digest, resulting in feeling fuller for longer.
Let’s break this down further…
Most of the carbohydrates in our diet are starches, however, not all of the starch we eat gets digested. Some of it passes through the digestive tract unchanged. This is known as resistant starch (RS), in other words, it is resistant to digestion.
Successful dieters are those that chose resistant starches because they turn into fatty acids that your body burns and uses as energy.
Here’s how: RS gets fermented when it reaches the large intestine. This process creates beneficial fatty acids, including one called butyrate, which has been scientifically proven to improve insulin sensitivity.
This is important because insulin is the hormone that moves glucose (blood sugar) into your cells. When your cells lose sensitivity to insulin (known as insulin resistance) your body has to make extra insulin to do the same job, and you end up with high levels of insulin in your bloodstream, which promotes the storage of fat.
In short, when you reduce insulin production you immediately rev up your metabolism.
This is great news for anyone trying to lose weight since our muscles are “loaded” with glycogen, which is the storage form of carbohydrates. For every gram of carbohydrate that is stored, the body stores approximately 2-3 grams of water.
This means that before you see any fat shift from the scale you’ve got to deplete your glycogen stores, which basically means use up your sugar reserve!
The easiest way to do this is to avoid sugar, and simple carbohydrates, which is where the low carb revolution comes from. However, resistant starch is a dieters dream, because it fills you up and leaves you feeling satisfied, but doesn’t enter the bloodstream because its not digested or absorbed.
It’s not just bulk filler
This doesn’t mean that eating these foods is just filling a gap, RS acts as a food source to our good bacteria, known as pre-biotic which in turn helps make probiotics a win-win when it comes to healthy weight loss.
There is also a growing body of research linking imbalances or disturbances of our gut bacteria to a wide range of diseases including obesity, and one of the best ways to support a healthy gut is by providing your gut bacteria with the right “foods”. These “foods” are called prebiotics.
Studies also show that RS can have powerful health benefits such as improved insulin sensitivity, lower blood sugar levels, reduced appetite and various benefits for digestion.
The science bit…
Starches are formed from two types of polysaccharides (complex sugars) amylose and amylopectin.
Amylopectin is easier to break down into monosaccharides (simple sugars). It only contains 46% amylose (fiber) so the remainder acts like sugar in the body. It’s found in wheat, corn, and other grains.
Amylose is harder to breakdown and therefore has a lower GI (glycemic load). Amylose is helical in shape and is built up like a helix so it’s more difficult for enzymes to breakdown.
At Vitality Rising we opt for oats, rye, and barley as they are mostly made of amylose.
List of resistant starch foods
Plantains, potatoes, lentils, beans and rice all contain resistant starch.
The key is in the preparation and processing, in the case of rice, potatoes, and pasta they need to be eaten cold, so its best to eat them the day after they are cooked.
Tried and tested recipes can be found here
P.S The highest concentration of the fat burning acid butyrate is also found in butter, so don’t forget to butter up those veggies!