Revisiting Resistant Starch: Part One

I should file my next few posts under Stuff I Got Wrong, or at least Stuff I Wish I Hadn’t Ignored.  One is resistant starch.  The other is “safe starch” as prescribed in Paul Jaminet’s Perfect Health Diet.  Revisiting resistant starch led to me to revisit safe starch, so I’ll start with resistant starch.

I dismissed resistant starch because of how it came to my attention.  Some articles hit the media praising resistant starch as a means of controlling blood sugar.  Reading those articles, it was clear to me that resistant starch was being promoted by the makers of high-maize resistant starch – an industrial corn product.  When I looked up the studies mentioned in the articles, it turned out researchers had replaced white flour with high-maize resistant starch in baked goods, and lo and behold, people who ate the resistant-starch versions ended up with lower blood sugar.

So it looked like the “Whole grains are good for you!” story all over again:  replace total crap with less-than-total crap, and people have better health outcomes.  That doesn’t mean less-than-total crap is good for you.  If you want to convince me resistant starch lowers blood sugar, show me the studies where it’s added to the diet, not used to replace white flour.

Oops.

Turns out those studies exist and have been around for decades.  I only became aware of that after Richard Nikoley took up the subject of resistant starch with a vengeance on his Free The Animal blog.  He’s become so passionate about the subject, he created a permanent, top-level page on the blog called A Resistant Starch Primer for Newbies.

That page includes this brief video, which offers a clear explanation of what resistant starch is, so give it a look:

Mark Sisson also wrote a nice summary of the benefits of resistant starch on Mark’s Daily Apple.

The bottom line is that despite being labeled as “starch,” resistant starch doesn’t turn to glucose in your body.  It resists digestion (thus the term) until it reaches your colon, where it feeds your gut bacteria – and that’s where the benefits kick in.  The good gut bacteria digest the resistant starch and release butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid, as a result.  Yup, eating a “starch” produces good fats in your colon.

And although the exact biological mechanism isn’t known (at least according to the research I’ve read), something about the process increases insulin sensitivity and leads to lower blood sugar, both before and after meals.  Let’s see … glucose control, insulin control, gut health … isn’t that what drew most of us to a low-carb paleo diet in the first place?

So after Nikoley had posted enough articles to overcome my resistance to the subject of resistant starch, I finally ordered some Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch, which is almost pure resistant starch, and started experimenting.  (I’ve since learned I can just buy the stuff at our local Whole Foods.)

I started out with two tablespoons per day and didn’t experience any of the explosive-gas problems some people reported on Nikoley’s blog, so I upped it to four.  I just stir it into some warm water (warning:  hot water will turn it into starch, not resistant starch) and drink it.

Like many of Nikoley’s readers, I found that my fasting glucose dropped, from around 100 in the morning to around 90.  Not bad, but the more impressive result has been post-meal glucose levels.  As an experiment, I ate about 3/4 cup of white rice without consuming any resistant starch for the preceeding 24 hours.  My glucose peaked at 150.  The next day, I swallowed two tablespoons of resistant starch around 10:00 AM and consumed the same amount of rice around noon.  This time my glucose peaked at 118 and dropped to 95 an hour later.  In another experiment, I pre-loaded with resistant starch and then had a baked potato with dinner.  My glucose peaked at 126.  Lots of Free the Animal readers have reported similar results.

I was early in the experimenting phase when Jimmy Moore invited me to participate in the 100th episode of Low-Carb Conversations, so that’s what I talked about:  resistant starch.  My part begins at around 1:27:00 into the episode.

Jimmy, in fact, has invited Richard Nikoley to host The Livin’ La Vida Low Carb show later this month and interview his partners in crime about resistant starch.  The partners are Tim “Tatertot” Steele and Grace Liu, who together with Nikoley are writing a book on the subject.

I enjoy podcasts, but I’m also a fan of written interviews, so I asked all three of them if I could submit a long list of questions, and they graciously agreed.  You’re probably familiar with Nikoley already.  Here are brief bios on Steele and Liu before we get to the Q & A:

Tim Steele lives in the small town of North Pole, Alaska where he is the electrical systems supervisor of a local hospital.  He retired from the Air Force in 2004 after 21 years of service as an electronics technician and combat engineer. In his spare time he hunts, fishes, gardens, and studies health and food science for simple solutions to modern problems.

Grace Liu, PharmD, AFMCP, is a functional medicine practitioner with an international functional medicine practice. In addition to hormone and digestive disorders, her clinical areas of interest are autoimmune disorders, diabesity, heart disease, cancer prevention, toxins, and nutrition. As science editor, she has an upcoming book being published on evolution, the gut microbiota and how to fuel it.  She also writes about gut health and other topics on her AnimalPharm blog.

On to the interview.  Like I said, I asked a lot of questions and the answers are very comprehensive, so I’ll post this in two or three parts.

Fat Head: Richard, you’ve become known as the resistant-starch blogger in the past year or so.  In fact, most of your posts recently fall into one of three categories:  1) resistant starch, 2) people who piss me off, and 3) people who piss me off about resistant starch.

Richard: Heh, never really thought of it that way but it does have a nice ring to it. I suppose I might add to that, those entrenched about anything, where it becomes more about the entrenchment than whether it still makes complete sense.  I’d use the word iconoclastic, but I think that’s something others call you and not something you call yourself — like being humble, or something. One just doesn’t say, “I’m so humble.”

Fat Head: True, if you call yourself humble, people tend not to believe you, especially if you’re proud of being humble.  Anyway, as you’ve pointed out on your blog, research pointing to possible benefits of resistant starch has been around for 30 years.  There was a bit of buzz about resistant starch three years ago, but since the articles hitting the media were about replacing white flour with high-maize resistant starch, most of us in the low-carb camp dismissed it as an attempt to sell more corn products.  So what prompted you to take such a passionate interest in the subject last year?

Richard: It was also dismissed out of hand because it had the word “starch” in it, and but for Paul Jaminet — who was only coming online around that time as I recall — we’d probably still be entrenched against starch. One prominent member of the overall community even called resistant starch an “anti-nutrient,” and even though he has since admitted he was unaware of it and has expressed a willingness to look at it again, that post from way back was referenced dozens of times in various forums and comment threads all over as justification to not even bother looking.

I think that’s a bad thing and I hope I never see anything anywhere like “Well, Richard (or Tim, or Grace) said this, so that settles it for me.”  Nobody deserves to be taken as an authority like that.  On the other hand, take a guy like Mark Sisson who, in his Definitive Guide on Resistant Starch, just plain comes out and admits he was wrong and regrets not taking a harder look.

As for me, RS didn’t cross my radar back then, for whatever reason. I was probably too busy soaking in ice cold water whilst engaging in Internet warfare or something, and when at war, things get serious in a hurry.  Pansy stuff like “resistant starch” just isn’t going to cross the attention threshold.

So, when I did begin blogging about this last April — so a year ago now, or nearly 100 blog posts and over 10,000 comments ago — it was a completely new thing for me. Tim Steele, a.k.a. “Tatertot,” brought it to me and we’d just had a pretty good run with “the potato hack,” where people were essentially doing Chis Voigt’s “20-Potatoes-a-Day” deal and virtually everyone was dropping weight very rapidly.

I tried it but stopped at about a week or so. I happen to love potatoes and don’t want that to ever change. But it was very instructive and once again, caused me to begin questioning entrenched “wisdom.” So Tim had creds with me and I heard him out. He shot me enough info to take it seriously, and there was this point where I thought that if half of this stuff is true, it’s going to be huge; and moreover, this goes way beyond resistant starch. This is about the human gut biome, so you have these news things you’re seeing every day and you have all these researchers studying resistant starch, but for the purposes of better livestock, or to help a big company get their franken-RS product into every baked good on the planet — but not for gut health, but because it’ll essentially lower GI and cause 1% fewer cases of diabetes, colo-rectal cancer, or both, or something.

But I knew the Ancestral community had a very good appreciation for gut health, was paying attention, knew why it was important, had the evolutionary context in terms of probiotics and prebiotics, and really, we’re just looking at another in a set of prebiotics. All I had to do was overcome the hurdle of the “S-word.” And that was tough. We were dismissed essentially by everyone. Ridiculed, etc. But of course, ridicule is like high-octane fuel for a true iconoclast…oops, there I go again, being all humble.

Fat Head: We appreciate your humility.  For those who don’t already know, what is resistant starch?  How is it different from other starches?

Tim: Normally when we think of “starch,” we think of the blood-glucose spiking stuff that is one step away from pure sugar.  The “bad calories” of Good Calories, Bad Calories fame.  Of course, Paul Jaminet made some of the starches “safe” for us in his Perfect Health Diet, but resistant starch is something entirely different.  RS was discovered in the ‘80s when scientists were trying to measure fiber in food.  Under microscopic examination of the effluent of human and animal small intestines, they kept finding a confounding element that they weren’t expecting—undigested starch granules.  They termed these “resistant starch.”  Resistant in this case meaning resistant to enzymes that digest food.

Grace: During my schooling and training for diabetes education, no one was aware of resistant starch or how it blunts blood sugar increases just as other fibers do — psyllium, pectin, hemicellulose, and oligosaccharides.  Resistant starch is consumed by the vast majority of the ‘core members’ of the gut microbes. It is a core fuel for the core gut bugs. The evolutionary purposes of fiber and resistant starch may be threefold:  1) store carbohydrate energy from the sun and photosynthesis, 2) provide structure, and 3) act as anti-freeze and stress protectors to safeguard the plant and ‘plant babies’ against environmental extremes such as frost, acid, moisture, dryness, mold/fungi, pests, and pathogens.

What I mean by plant ‘babies’ are the progeny that contain genetic material that will be passed on to the next generation of plants: tubers, underground storage organs, legumes, grass grains, fruits, and seeds and nuts. All of these contain some degree or a lot of RS and oligosaccharides that resistant human digestion. By shielding the genetic material, the fiber and RS buffered and protected the tuber, root, legume and grain from freezing and bursting open. Plants and microbial bugs were here on Earth billions of years long before Homo sapiens emerged. It is actually speculated that the extreme Ice Ages are what largely shaped the carbohydrate and fiber content in plants and their survival. To us mammals, the vast majority of these carbohydrates are indigestible; however, for the gut critters, these carbs are their favorite feasts and fuel. Our co-evolution was inseparable. Now, perhaps our de-evolution is imminent because we are suspiciously lacking our co-evolved microbial appendages. Antibiotic over-utilization, C-sections, and phobic attempts to be sterile and super-sanitary has perhaps amputated our collective guts.

Resistant starch will not raise blood glucose, unlike starch. It behaves like other fiber. The plants that have more RS also have more protein (again protecting and nourishing future ‘plant babies’) and a lower glycemic index. All of these contribute to a lower impact on blood sugars.

Fat Head: If resistant starch isn’t digested and converted to glucose, what happens to it?

Tim: Resistant starch ends up in the large intestine where it gets fermented by gut bugs into fat (short chain fatty acids=SCFA). Sounds simple, but it’s anything but! RS is the substrate for fermentation by the prime gut bacterial players, but one of the few fibers that require numerous ‘actors’ to degrade it into its final end stages. The gut is truly an ecosystem and the apex predators take first dibs on the prime rib, then the bottom feeders and scavengers get their turns eventually. The byproducts of all these interactions feed other microbes and create an entirely different structure in the gut than when simpler fibers are eaten. Inulin, legume oligosaccharides, and glucomannan are other fibers that behave the same way. The fibers found in human breast milk (Human Milk Oligosaccharides or HMOs) also share this trait. Unfortunately, when we are weaned we usually never get a good taste of these type prebiotics again, except for the tiny bits found in a few foods and snacks.

Richard: What’s cool beyond this is that we live mostly in a symbiotic relationship with the vast majority of these gut microorganisms. Keep in mind we’re talking big numbers, 100 trillion to our 10 trillion human cells. About the size of a football if packed together. People can have up to about 1,000 different species, and while the human genome is comprised of about 25,000 genes, the total genome of all the different microbial lines in our gut are about 3 million, over 100 times more. There’s more. A human generation is about 30 years while on average, bacteria go through 6 generations in a day, and they’ve been evolving for 2 billion years longer than we have.

It makes you wonder in a chicken or egg kinda way, are we just a nice house that bacteria built for themselves? And then it takes on sci-fi alien invasion proportions when you consider that via the brain-gut connection—with more neurons outside the brain than anything, including the spinal cord—it influences behavior, mood, sleep, satiety and more. I’m just guessing, but I’ll throw out there that you want to keep your mind-control aliens well fed and content.

Fat Head: If we’re talking about NSA mind-control aliens, I’d rather keep them starved and cranky, but I see your point.

Grace: It’s great you bring up breast milk, Tim! Since the dawn of breasts and breast milk, babies have received carbs (lactose) and over 100 oligosaccharides (fiber) from mom’s milk. The lactose is for the baby, but the fiber feeds the neonate’s burgeoning societies of microbes colonizing its gut and other organs. Another misconception about breast milk was recently busted as well. Mom’s breast milk contains over 700 species of probiotics (entering the mammary glands via the gut lymph circulation). On Day One of life, our superorganism symbiosis starts. Richard loves the cyborg and Matrix motifs, and rightly so!

Fat Head: “The Dawn of Breasts” sounds like a movie I might have rented when I was single, but I digress.  So as counter-intuitive as it sounds, when we consume resistant starch, the stuff is converted to short-chain fatty acids in our colons.  What happens to those fatty acids?  Do we burn them for energy, or do they mostly feed our gut bacteria?

Grace: The SCFAs made are butyrate, propionate (metabolized by the liver) and acetate (muscle, kidney, heart and brain). Approximately 30% of butyrate is burned for host energy and the remaining 70% is rapidly absorbed to feed the intestinal cells, which are as enormous in surface area as that of a tennis court. The gut also houses a hidden brain which is innervated by over 100 million neurons, bigger than our spinal cord. Additionally the entire gastrointestinal tube is lined by immune cells; therefore, the gut is one long lymphoid organ. For an extremely large and often overlooked organ, studies demonstrate what happens when it is not properly fueled or fed. In sterile, germ-free animals, their immunity and immune organs are blunted and intestinal organs atrophied when the gut bugs are absent.

Richard: Another thing to keep in mind is that you basically have three types of these critters:  1) the symbionts, i.e., we cut a deal and it’s win-win, 2) the commensals, those who do nothing for us, but don’t harm us, either, and 3)  the parasites or pathogens. The commensals are an interesting lot, because while they may not do anything directly for us and so don’t fit technically the definition of symbiosis, some do stuff for the symbionts who do, such as produce stuff they need to eat.

Keeping the whole thing in balance by feeding them fermentable fibers, primarily, is the ideal way to keep the pathogens in check. It’s chemical warfare down there, and it’s far better to have a specifically targeted antibiotic, manufactured in a 3 billion-year-old chemical plant, than to have to resort to carpet bombing or nuking the whole thing with broad spectrum antibiotics.

Tim: The end-result with the biggest impact does seem to be the creation of SCFAs, especially butyrate.  A colon flooded with butyrate has a lower pH and healthier colonocytes.  The lowered pH creates an environment that favors beneficial over pathogenic microbes and the increased butyrate serves as fuel for the special cells that line the colon.  When these cells are fueled by butyrate, they behave normally, self-destructing when they need to and regrowing as they should.  Colonocytes can also run off glucose, but when fueled by glucose, they behave completely differently.  They don’t self-destruct and they are at higher risk for cancer.  A low carb/high fat diet for you is a low fat/high carb diet for your gut.

Fat Head: When the makers of high-maize resistant starch sent out press releases announcing that resistant starch doesn’t raise glucose levels, my thought was “Whoop-de-do.  Neither does cardboard, but that doesn’t mean eating it will improve my health.”  But resistant starch doesn’t just have a neutral effect on blood glucose; it seems to have actual positive effects.  Describe what you’ve heard from people about how resistant starch affects their fasting blood sugar levels.

Tim: If you replace 50% of the wheat in white bread with sawdust, the glycemic index will be cut in half! — this is how most people read those reports.  But with RS, it’s a bit different.  Some of the immediate blunting of blood-sugar spikes is definitely from the same action as in the sawdust and cardboard analogies, but RS is also acting as a powerful prebiotic in your large intestine, making long-term changes that affect hormones that stimulate insulin among others.  Usually within a few days, many people who have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes notice lower fasting blood glucose in the morning and post-prandial spikes that are lower than normal after a carby meal.

Some really neat experiments were done by Steve Cooksey (the Diabetes Warrior) involving a dose of RS before exercising, and he clearly demonstrates that RS increased his insulin sensitivity while exercising — which is something that diabetics struggle with continuously.  RS has been shown to increase whole body insulin sensitivity … that’s huge!

Richard: For me personally, RS alone wasn’t enough to get me all the way there. For some low carbers, even clinically diabetic ones, RS just works like a champ, right off. Steve Cooksey, as Tim mentioned, is one of those. Then there are others for whom it seemingly does nothing, or works for a while then nothing. I was in the middle. So, instead of 110-120 fasting, it brought me to 100-110. And in terms of post meal, I was seeing spikes maybe 20 points less but still in the 140-160 range, often.

But I had been so used to eating low carb so much of the time that it was difficult, and I had to really force myself to eat the rice, potatoes or legumes with almost every meal. As it turns out, I now prefer a bowl of my pinto beans with a couple of over-easy eggs on top to my bacon and eggs; and anyway, I was getting pretty tired of the most Paleo food on the planet: bacon. It began tasting like a salt lick to me (just guessing) a long time ago, but I digress. So, yeah, some days it’s the beans and eggs, some days “refried wok potatoes” from previously baked and tossed in the fridge to form retrograde RS that resists degradation with mild reheating.

Long story short, by getting my starchy carbs (“safe” in every sense) up to the 100-200 range, maybe 150 average, BANG!, my BG normalized, both in terms of fasting and post meal. I understand that this is hugely inconvenient for a lot of folks to hear, entrenched in low carb doctrines, but it is nonetheless true, and I’m far from the only one to report it.

Grace: What is impressive to me is how RS and other fibers improve insulin sensitivity anecdotally and in clinical trials. We have seen a huge number of improvements in fasting BGs reported at Free the Animal. If a person has noticed fasting BGs > 125 mg/dl in the mornings, then with consumption of  RS, they may report that their fasting glucoses return to the 80s range. Many of these folks at FTA noticed trending of higher glucose readings the longer that they were adapted to chronic VLC. With no other changes to diet, they noted that after eating RS, their BGs began to shift downwards. It’s not uncommon to see high fasting sugars in regards to VLC diets. It is related to normal feedback mechanisms of the body to preserve circulating glucose for the high energy organs — liver, brain and muscles — by ratcheting up insulin resistance in peripheral tissues. Under perceived starvation, insulin resistance can occur at even the muscle level — exactly where you don’t want it.  If one is trying to lose body fat, this physiological insulin resistance may strongly hinder your efforts. The best ways to improve insulin sensitivity in my opinion is to not starve insulin-regulating organs of what they need (gut, fiber + RS; muscles, carbs) and use the organs that use insulin — muscles. Studies demonstrate that weight loss can depend on the glycemic index of diet, but even more predominantly the insulin-resistant status of the individual.

Fat Head: People are also reporting that if they consume resistant starch, they get less of a rise in glucose levels after eating starchy foods like beans or rice or potatoes.  Is there a timing issue involved?  Do we need to consume resistant starch shortly before consuming other starches for that blunting effect to occur?

Richard: It was actually first called “the lentil effect” because they noted that legumes yielded less of a spike in glucose than one would expect for the amount of carbohydrate ingested, and that the blunting persisted, often into the next day, for other starches or sugars a person ate. They had unwittingly discovered what RS and other fermentable fibers do when the gut critters get fed.

Tim: What you are referring to is the “second-meal effect.” This has been studied for many years and is a normal part of our physiology.  When you embark on a diet that incorporates RS at every meal or at least every day, then every meal is a ‘second meal’ and you see long term reductions in HgbA1C as well as postprandial glucose spikes.

Grace: This effect is one of the coolest side benefits. It appears to last 2-4 hours depending on the study. Many other fibers like glucomannan, psyllium and pectin have it as well. In a way it provides even further shielding from potential high-glucose damage, because one study demonstrated for a high glycemic meal with sufficient fiber and resistant starch, glucose tolerance was maintained at the next meal. Ultimately what impacts the second meal effect is the fermentability of the indigestible carbohydrates and fiber, and this is contigent upon the right species being located in the gut, which ultimately do the magic.

Fat Head: Do researchers understand how resistant starch ends up lowering glucose levels?  What’s the mechanism?

Tim: Well, it’s not so much that it lowers glucose, it’s more about increasing insulin sensitivity.  Remember all those hormones that people have been talking about…Peptide YY, Glucagon-like Peptide-1, Ghrelin, and Leptin?  These are all modulated by the microbes in your gut.  When the right microbes are present and they are being fed enough fermentable fiber such as RS, they start producing these hormones that act together with them to increase insulin sensitivity.

Grace: In the gut, pancreas and immune system are fatty acid receptors called GPRs 41 and 43. The selective fats that bind these are the SCFAs (butyrate, etc.) made from the gut microbes metabolizing RS, oligosaccharides and other indigestible complex carbohydrates.

When GPR41/43 are activated by butyrate, they decrease body fat, increase satiety (PYY), increase insulin sensitivity and other anti-diabetic effects, reduce inflammation, power immunity, suppress and shrink cancer cells, divert oxidative DNA damage, maintain tight barrier and gut function, and many other beneficial host activities. We even double our butyrate from the gut microbiota with exercise.

Butyrate from microbial production also binds the ketone receptors known as GPR109a (formerly known as HM74A in humans and PUMA-G in animals). This was a surprising and recent discovery. I suspected butyrate would bind it, but no confirmatory studies occurred until recently. It makes sense, no? We are cyborgs and controlled in symbiosis with our microbes. Microbes maketh who we are and what we burn and store. Earlier the research showed only niacin (vitamin B3), nicotinic acid, and ketone bodies could bind HM74A with fidelity and duration. Therefore many of the health benefits that short-term ketosis affords overlaps with what is achieved by optimal gut health. This is what I observe clinically as well as anecdotally at my blog Animal Pharm and Richard’s blog Free the Animal.

Tim: Thanks, Grace…you had to go there didn’t you?  As if this stuff isn’t boring enough!  Now you kind of see our problem, Tom: this stuff is just so complex that everyone’s eyes sort of glaze over when we talk about the magic of RS.  These GPRs that Grace talks about are an incredible piece of the puzzle, but just so hard to work into conversation or even write about.  GPR stands for G Protein-coupled Receptors (the G doesn’t even seem to stand for anything).  And, we haven’t even mentioned Peyer’s patches, Treg cells, and defensins!  Seriously, you could write an entire book on the deep science of RS. People spend their entire lives studying it, but sometimes it’s best if we answer questions like this with, “It just works…who cares how?”

Okay, I admit it:  Tim’s right — my eyes did glaze over a bit with all the chemical names.  I don’t like words without vowels.  But I agree … if it works, it works.  So far it’s working nicely for me.

More Q & A in my next post.  We have a ways to go yet.


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173 thoughts on “Revisiting Resistant Starch: Part One

  1. Mary D.

    Tom, thanks for interviewing these three. Things have come a long way since the fall of 2011 when Paul Jaminet’s safe starches concept was looked at by many in the paleo world as insanity. His intelligent reply to those critics is what won me over:
    (http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/10/jimmy-moore’s-seminar-on-“safe-starches”-my-reply/)
    I’m experimenting with potato starch too, gotten up to 2 T. per day mixed into a little V-8. Bob’s Red Mill must be awfully happy with this turn of events, wonder if they’re going to have a shortage soon? The whole topic of gut health is fascinating – it looks like a lot of people could trade thousands of dollars in medical bills for the price of some potato starch and good probiotics. It’s the biggest news over at our new website http://www.thepaleoscoop.com

    I was one the people he mentioned in his response, since I made a crack on Jimmy’s blog about my ancient Irish Ancestors not eating rice or plantains. (Potatoes didn’t come to Ireland until they were brought over from The New World.) That’s what I meant about the whole “safe starch” concept being something I got wrong. My Irish ancestors likely did consume some kind of roots or ground tubers along with plenty of animal foods.

    Reply
  2. Dave

    Thanks Tom,
    I’ve been reading everything I can find on RS and started potato starch about 2 weeks ago. I ramped up too quickly and it was really distressing so I backed off to 2 TBS at bedtime and all’s well. I think folks looking at not having the “right gut biome” are kind of looking at it as if it were black and white. My belief, not scientific and has no research, is even if your gut biome is out of wack, unless you are coming off a series of antibiotics your gut biome probably has some of the right bugs and if you feed them they will establish DOMINANCE! I’ve been lcfh for 6 months, I take no probiotics but use no antimicrobial junk, no sanitizing wipes, I don’t wash my hands after petting the dog, so that probably diversifies my gut biome.

    That’s part of the idea, yes. By feeding the beneficial bacteria, you increase their number.

    Reply
  3. Firebird7478

    They mention glucomannan twice in the transcript. That’s the ingredient in that diet pill Lipozene (Which you can get cheap as Glucomannan in any vitamin shop). They say you don’t need to change the diet for fat loss. I thought it was about appetite control but the discussion seems to suggest otherwise.

    I wasn’t aware of that. Kind of makes sense.

    Reply
  4. Pam

    This is all intriguing. Who started all of this and do they have ties to the potato starch industry?

    Richard Nikoley, Tim Steele and Grace Liu have nothing nice to say about the industrial-product high-maize corn starch and have no industry connections that I can see … although I’ll bet the makers of Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch are pleasantly surprised with the increased sales.

    Reply
  5. Dave Mayo

    I noticed the doc mentioned how LC diets can cause BG to creep up. I know the popular thought right now is that this is mediated physiologically within our bodies at the cellular level, but it seems like it is also possible that this could be caused by the gut bugs pulling some hormonal strings. It’s interesting that protein fermenting gut bugs are associated with inflammation and inflammation is associated with insulin resistance. Maybe as the dry or winter season approaches and plant materials become less available, our gut bugs change our physiology in a way that better adapts us to the change in food environment. A lack of fiber and an increase in protein consumptions may flip on the thrifty genes via the microbiome. In another way, stuff like gluten may be problematic because it is a concentrated dose of indigestible protein that can mess up this finely tuned symbiosis.

    Reply
  6. Becky

    Egad. Just followed a few of those links to other discussions. Conclusions are hard to make, even on an individual basis, about what to do except TRY stuff. When you’re going for optimal health from good health, it’s possible to really not notice a difference, but very possible to do actual harm, over time. When you’re correcting a condition (hopefully), you may be setting up another one.

    On a paleo diet, I got diverticulitis. Paul Jaminet did, too, on VLC, and discusses it in some podcasts, though not in the book. He believes that without sufficient carbs, the colon mucus is compromised and weaknesses in the colon wall occur.

    This disease has changed my life and is an awful condition to have, as it is very hard to know what sets off attacks, even when tracking food. One tends to obsess over one’s gut flora because the bad bacteria are what cause attacks. How to keep them at bay with the good guys is the hope. Eating is no longer pleasurable, but a minefield.

    I can’t eat white potatoes or potato starch because I am definitely nightshade intolerant. Instant joint pain. I’ve tried tapioca-starch “breads” but highly suspect them of being problematic bacteria-wise. (They have preceded two attacks.)

    But most of all I’m suspicious of almost everything I read now … it seems to me that everything we do “to be healthy,” if it is in any way extreme or repetitive (daily, for years) is doing something else we won’t know about until we find ourselves hooked up to an IV in a hospital, staring out the window and wishing we’d eaten differently.

    If you want to experiment, you might be better off with plantain flour.

    Reply
    1. SB

      If you don’t have issues w/ bananas, you can try buying (then slicing and freezing to maintain greenness) green bananas and then throwing a handful into a smoothie made w/ yogurt (bacteria!), milk, and some berries (or not. but it would be pretty un-sweet). I’ve been having 1 smoothie/day and it has helped some intestinal distress w/in a couple weeks. Your mileage may vary.

      Reply
  7. Kat

    I have spent the last few years trying to stick to a low FODMAPs diet to reduce IBS symptoms after being diagnosed with FODMAP malabsorption by a gastroenterologist. Has anyone successfully healed their gut using resistant starch so that they could start absorbing FODMAPs again? When I try RS the gas and bloating etc is too extreme to continue any longer without knowing that it is actually going to improve eventually. I have tried about 6 months of dehydrated green plantains.

    I don’t have an answer on that one. If anyone knows, chime in.

    Reply
    1. Tate

      Have you tried taking it with probiotics or mixed with homemade Kefir? If you look at what happens with RS, it tends to feed the dominate microbes unless it is already bound by other bacteria. I think this may explain why some people have great results and other have terrible results. When I make my Kefir, I do so with 4 tbs of PS and then let it ferment until the whey starts to separate. I haven’t had anything but positive results.

      I’ve taken with probiotics and also stirred into yogurt with some blueberries.

      Reply
    2. Nikki

      @ Kat
      Some history: I have IBS problably since my middle 20’s starting with lactose intolerance. In those days (25 years ago) there was no such thing as lactose free milk on the supermarket shelves. Fastforward 15 years, I gave up wheat and PUFA. What a difference! Fast forward another 5 years, after my third child, I’m still struggling with my IBS but now if I do eat wheat, I don’t have an IBS attack. I am hoping for more healing (I now have low thyroid – no meds, low B12 and low Vit D which I both supplement) with resistance (potatoe) starch but I too don’t tolerate it well. I get severe bloating (I look six month pregnant) and usually no fartage that most people speak of. Once I find a reasonable price source of soil-based organisms in Ontario, Canada, I’ll try it again.

      Perhaps if you investigate Dr. Grace’s blogspot AnimalPharm, you might find some guidance. She insist upon a test to see what gut bugs you have and perhaps if you have that info you could start from there.

      Reply
    3. Lori Miller

      I quit eating foods that gave me FODMAPS problems (fruit and wheat) and lost my taste for them to the point that fruit doesn’t smell good and bread and pastries don’t even look like food anymore. Some people find it easier to cut out certain foods entirely than to try to do the moderation thing.

      Reply
  8. Mark S. (not Sisson)

    Reading this post and comments reminds me of my home-brew beer making days, years ago. (No, really!) The concept of RS is completely new to me but this discussion brings up remarkable parallels to beer making.

    Consider:
    1. RS feeds gut biota, produces nutrients for the intestine and maybe the rest of the body.
    2. Raising the temperature of RS to 140*F+ converts it to regular starch.

    Now, when I was sparging malted barley to make wort to brew into beer, I used a similar process, sort of the reverse of the above:

    1. I combined 180*F water with crushed malted barley, which resulted in a 140*F mash. This temperature was held for a predetermined amount of time, so that enzymes would convert the starches in the barley into glucose. Sparging (sprinkling 140*F water with a rotating device) onto the top of the mash while simultaneously draining the wort out the bottom of the vessel allowed capture of the optimal sugar content.
    2. After boiling the wort with hops, the wort is rapidly cooled to fermentation temperature. Brewer’s yeast is then added. (Herein lies the similarity to the fermentation of RS by gut biota.) Fermentation then proceeds for several days to a week or so. Sugar is converted to carbon dioxide and alcohol. But there are added nutritional benefits, such as B-vitamins produced by the yeast, and nutrients inherent in the barley itself.

    So I have to wonder if drinking beer could be considered a short cut to the processes that occur with RS in the gut. Hmm…this could prove to be an interesting and fun experiment.

    I don’t know if I’d want to try healing my gut with beer.

    Reply
  9. Azurean

    So apparently, when you take a high-carb meal with a set amount of carbs, the blood glucose is lower if you took some resistant starch before. The question is : where did the glucose go, if not in the blood ? Did it stay in the intestine waiting its turn ? Did it get stored quicker as fat ?

    It’s a matter of insulin sensitivity, so insulin would do its job: move the glucose into muscle cells, stimulate the liver to store it as glycogen, or move it into fat cells, depending on what else is happening in the body. Ultimately, increased insulin sensitivity means lower insulin levels, which is good.

    Reply
    1. Dave L

      A low carb diet is one way of dealing with pathological insulin resistance generally caused by things like refined sugars and trans fats in the standard American diet. A very low carb diet creates physiological insulin resistance which is glucose sparing to reserve what blood glucose is available for tissues that cannot metabolize free fatty acids and ketones, and it can be therapeutic for some people.

      Pathological insulin resistance causes diabetes because it forces the body to make more and more insulin to deal with glucose in the diet. High insulin, high blood glucose, and insulin resistant tissues combined is the problem to be avoided or corrected.

      A properly functioning metabolism should be able to handle a “normal” amount of glucose in the diet without spiking blood sugar and insulin. All cells get fed, glycogen gets stored, and stored fats get released as needed, all without prolonged elevated levels of insulin. Resistant starch is supposed to help the gut bacteria help the host organism by restoring hormonal balance, including insulin sensitivity.

      That being said, I wonder what Peter at Hyperlipid thinks about resistant starch?

      Reply
      1. Sabine

        Peter at Hyperlipid recently published a link to a lecture about mitochondrial DNA related diseases.
        It was a very good reminder of our differences. Our genetic differences also may mean, that what works or is acceptable for one person, may be detrimental for another person.
        I think, this also fits in well with resistant starches and the amount of carbohydrates one can tolerate. It will be different for different people.

        I agree completely.

        Reply
  10. Michael

    While I’m supportive of your general approach concerning prebiotics, I would personally be a little more circumspect with regard to probiotics including SBOs. What one doesn’t see on the blogs, nor in the media, are the reports on bacteremia as a result of these totally unregulated products. But they are there on pubmed, and I would be specifically concerned in the case of immunocompromised patients.

    Btw, I’m not saying your are personally recommending probiotics to others, but I do see it recommended more and more. In the above comments, too, about ‘feeding empty cages’, etc. Like I said, it’s not without risk.

    Reply
  11. Jose Vila

    I read your blog daily! Love the Egg Updates! Thanks for always sharing interesting topics like this – very exciting stuff! So, I decided to peel a potato and eat it raw like an “apple,” after a 22 hour fast, and Powerlifting routine, with my LCHF meal… Will the alkaloids in the raw potato be an issue for me? Or is an actual raw potato a healthier source when compared to a couple of spoons of ground potato starch?

    I’m not sure on that one. I don’t like the taste of raw potatoes, so that’s not an option for me. I’d say peel them well.

    Reply
  12. tony

    Congratulations Tom. Amazing article. I have two questions:

    1. Is the Garden of Life Primal Defense you advertise a soil-based probiotic product? Any other soil-based probiotic products? How would I recognize one?

    2. Would RS blunt the bad effects of consuming bad carbohydrates?

    Yeah, that’s the probiotic I started taking, so I chose that for the ad space.

    RS appears to blunt the glucose response to other carbohydrates, but I haven’t tried it with anything truly bad … say, white flour bread.

    Reply
  13. Firebird7478

    They mention glucomannan twice in the transcript. That’s the ingredient in that diet pill Lipozene (Which you can get cheap as Glucomannan in any vitamin shop). They say you don’t need to change the diet for fat loss. I thought it was about appetite control but the discussion seems to suggest otherwise.

    I wasn’t aware of that. Kind of makes sense.

    Reply
  14. Stephen

    Please be careful with this RS enthusiasm. While some of the starch in potatoes and rice (that has been cooked and cooled) is RS, most is still regular starch (carbs). I fear that some may take this advice as a license to once again eat far too many carbs, thinking they are “good” carbs.

    Here’s a link to an interesting paper where the amount of starch converted to RS was measured in various kinds of rice, cooked with a variety of mehods. As you’ll see, regardless of the kind of rice, or the cooking method, most of the carbs remaining (after cooking) are not RS.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23945407

    I agree with your caution. I’m doing this within the context of a Perfect Health Diet, which means I’m still keeping my non-RS carb load around 100 grams per day or less.

    Reply
  15. Jose Vila

    I read your blog daily! Love the Egg Updates! Thanks for always sharing interesting topics like this – very exciting stuff! So, I decided to peel a potato and eat it raw like an “apple,” after a 22 hour fast, and Powerlifting routine, with my LCHF meal… Will the alkaloids in the raw potato be an issue for me? Or is an actual raw potato a healthier source when compared to a couple of spoons of ground potato starch?

    I’m not sure on that one. I don’t like the taste of raw potatoes, so that’s not an option for me. I’d say peel them well.

    Reply
  16. Stephen

    Please be careful with this RS enthusiasm. While some of the starch in potatoes and rice (that has been cooked and cooled) is RS, most is still regular starch (carbs). I fear that some may take this advice as a license to once again eat far too many carbs, thinking they are “good” carbs.

    Here’s a link to an interesting paper where the amount of starch converted to RS was measured in various kinds of rice, cooked with a variety of mehods. As you’ll see, regardless of the kind of rice, or the cooking method, most of the carbs remaining (after cooking) are not RS.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23945407

    I agree with your caution. I’m doing this within the context of a Perfect Health Diet, which means I’m still keeping my non-RS carb load around 100 grams per day or less.

    Reply
  17. Galina L.

    I am the one of of not enthusiastic crowd. During the time when “safe starches” became popular, I gained weight trying to re-introduce some starches into my diet, especially the beets/potatoes based salad typical for my native Russian fare, which was prepared from chilled ingredients. Instead I modified the salad, exchanging not very ripe avocados and hard-boiled eggs for potatoes, but keeping cooked beets and carrots in the recipe. It also contains raw and fermented veggies.
    The way unusually violent reaction of my body on the raw potato starch stopped my experimenting in that direction. If my blood sugar levels were creeping up, I would most probably try to bent my body into the accepting that staff with the use of different probiotics, but so far I like how the physiological IR feels – it means my blood sugar never drops too low, I have the stable level of energy regardless of eating or not. Ketosis also provides numerous health benefits, especially for a mental well-being, however, the deep ketosis is not my goal.

    I am not on a strict meat/butter/eggs diet, I also eat a variety of vegetables and small amounts of starches, especially in my soups.

    We definitely have to take individual variability into account. There’s no diet that’s best for everyone.

    Reply
  18. Richard Nikoley

    Great way that you put this post together Tom, from what we all smashed out on Google Docs.

    And, I must also congratulate the intelligence level of your readers. What a collection of great contributions and sensible questions and queries.

    Great set up for parts 2, 3, 4, 5…..

    (I think the thing was over 10,000 words once we’d finished.)

    Well, you all are writing a book, so we got some book-length answers.

    Reply
  19. Firebird7478

    Any suggestions on the best way to warm up RS to 140 degrees or under? My guess that reheating in a microwave is not the answer.

    If I were using a microwave, I’d use low power and check the food with a meat thermometer.

    Reply
  20. Galina L.

    I am the one of of not enthusiastic crowd. During the time when “safe starches” became popular, I gained weight trying to re-introduce some starches into my diet, especially the beets/potatoes based salad typical for my native Russian fare, which was prepared from chilled ingredients. Instead I modified the salad, exchanging not very ripe avocados and hard-boiled eggs for potatoes, but keeping cooked beets and carrots in the recipe. It also contains raw and fermented veggies.
    The way unusually violent reaction of my body on the raw potato starch stopped my experimenting in that direction. If my blood sugar levels were creeping up, I would most probably try to bent my body into the accepting that staff with the use of different probiotics, but so far I like how the physiological IR feels – it means my blood sugar never drops too low, I have the stable level of energy regardless of eating or not. Ketosis also provides numerous health benefits, especially for a mental well-being, however, the deep ketosis is not my goal.

    I am not on a strict meat/butter/eggs diet, I also eat a variety of vegetables and small amounts of starches, especially in my soups.

    We definitely have to take individual variability into account. There’s no diet that’s best for everyone.

    Reply
      1. Galina L.

        Sure, Tate.
        I can give only an approximate amounts of ingredients because I usually do not measure everything when I prepare salads. I prefer to cook my beets on a stove top in a plain water without salt or anything (it may take time, but I often cook several beets and keep it unpeeled in a refrigerator wrapped in a paper for several days) rather than to use canned ones because it tastes better. Canned beets could be use too. Some people pre-cook beets in a microwave before stove-cooking in a water, others use a pressure cooking.
        The approximate amount of veggies – one tennis ball size coked beet or three egg-sized, one big potato, one or two cooked carrots, chopped onions – chop, add olive oil and salt, keep in a fridge . Before eating add 2 big fermented chopped pickles or a cup of sauerkraut and some brine as a dressing. You can also add herbs, fresh cucumber, celery. You can additionally dress it with a mayo mixed with a sour-cream if you wish so. I grew-up on such salad, especially at winter time – we didn’t have fresh veggies at winter when I was growing up. I also eat often a soup made with beets and cabbage – “borsh”

        Reply
  21. Susan

    I’d like to try the cold potato option to start, rather than investing in a large bag of the potato starch, just to see how things go.
    Does it make any difference what kind of potatoes you use? There is quite a difference in texture between say Russet potatoes and either red or white potatoes. I can imagine there might me a difference in starch levels also.

    Looks as if preparation matters more than the type of potato:
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-04/fi-rsc042513.php

    Keep in mind that when you cook and cool a potato, it doesn’t all turn into resistant starch. You’ll be eating a mix of starch and resistant starch. The bag of potato starch, by contrast, is ALL resistant starch.

    Reply
  22. Norm

    I have been experimenting with safe starches but I start gaining weight as soon as I go over 100 grams, 4/5 KG within two weeks creeps up along with increased hunger and craving for sugar. I don’t have blood glucose issues on around 40 grams of carbs per day (85 fasting and does not go over 130 1 hour after having even boiled white rice with cold milk, if I have rice with eggs or meat it hardly goes over 110 after 1 hour. I really want to add safe starches but this weight gain issue and more cravings for carbs and sugar really is a big problem. Now Im quite curious about supplementing resistant starch to see if it can help me break through my plateau.

    Reply
  23. Alex

    Glucomannan is also said to feed the butyrate generating organisms, and in my experience, glucomannan creates none of the explosive gas and bloating that raw potato starch does. Thankfully, that bag of potato starch won’t go to waste because it is an absolutely wonderful thickener for cooked sauces (cooking turns it into ordinary digestible starch.) At 6’1″ and 165#, I don’t worry about a little bit of starch in an otherwise low-ish carb diet.

    Reply
  24. HxH

    Does the rice or potato have to cool down to a certain temperature first, before you can re-heat it to below 140? Before going LCHF I hadn’t figured out how to even re-heat cooked rice (from leftovers) that isn’t dry and awful! If I can just let it cool to room temperature before I eat it that would be preferred.

    I don’t know if it has to reach a specific temperature. I just stick a cooked potato in the fridge overnight.

    Reply
    1. Richard Nikoley

      HxH

      Don’t worry about it. Overnight in the fridge is fine. RS3 or retrograde that gets formed in the process is resistant to breakdown with sensible reheating. The 140F only applies to raw RS2.

      Reply
  25. Richard Nikoley

    Great way that you put this post together Tom, from what we all smashed out on Google Docs.

    And, I must also congratulate the intelligence level of your readers. What a collection of great contributions and sensible questions and queries.

    Great set up for parts 2, 3, 4, 5…..

    (I think the thing was over 10,000 words once we’d finished.)

    Well, you all are writing a book, so we got some book-length answers.

    Reply
  26. Firebird7478

    Any suggestions on the best way to warm up RS to 140 degrees or under? My guess that reheating in a microwave is not the answer.

    If I were using a microwave, I’d use low power and check the food with a meat thermometer.

    Reply
  27. Susan

    I’d like to try the cold potato option to start, rather than investing in a large bag of the potato starch, just to see how things go.
    Does it make any difference what kind of potatoes you use? There is quite a difference in texture between say Russet potatoes and either red or white potatoes. I can imagine there might me a difference in starch levels also.

    Looks as if preparation matters more than the type of potato:
    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-04/fi-rsc042513.php

    Keep in mind that when you cook and cool a potato, it doesn’t all turn into resistant starch. You’ll be eating a mix of starch and resistant starch. The bag of potato starch, by contrast, is ALL resistant starch.

    Reply
  28. Norm

    I have been experimenting with safe starches but I start gaining weight as soon as I go over 100 grams, 4/5 KG within two weeks creeps up along with increased hunger and craving for sugar. I don’t have blood glucose issues on around 40 grams of carbs per day (85 fasting and does not go over 130 1 hour after having even boiled white rice with cold milk, if I have rice with eggs or meat it hardly goes over 110 after 1 hour. I really want to add safe starches but this weight gain issue and more cravings for carbs and sugar really is a big problem. Now Im quite curious about supplementing resistant starch to see if it can help me break through my plateau.

    Reply
  29. Dave

    Good job Tom! It is always nice to revist subjects with fresh eyes. I stumbled on RN’s blog early on and began using RedMills UMPS at that time. Over the course of a year I have notice some changes especially in BG. But the convincing time was just currently when I got off the RS for about 2 months and noticed a rise in BG without significant diet changes.. back to UMRS!
    By the way my wife (Korean) has been cooking her rice in large batches then dropping it into smal containers and freezing for years. She then pulls out a serving and nukes it for a minute so it is just right. I would bet some good RS there, but unconfirmed.

    Thanks again…waiting on Part 2

    Almost certainly some resistant starch in the cooked and cooled rice.

    Reply
  30. Alex

    Glucomannan is also said to feed the butyrate generating organisms, and in my experience, glucomannan creates none of the explosive gas and bloating that raw potato starch does. Thankfully, that bag of potato starch won’t go to waste because it is an absolutely wonderful thickener for cooked sauces (cooking turns it into ordinary digestible starch.) At 6’1″ and 165#, I don’t worry about a little bit of starch in an otherwise low-ish carb diet.

    Reply
  31. HxH

    Does the rice or potato have to cool down to a certain temperature first, before you can re-heat it to below 140? Before going LCHF I hadn’t figured out how to even re-heat cooked rice (from leftovers) that isn’t dry and awful! If I can just let it cool to room temperature before I eat it that would be preferred.

    I don’t know if it has to reach a specific temperature. I just stick a cooked potato in the fridge overnight.

    Reply
    1. Richard Nikoley

      HxH

      Don’t worry about it. Overnight in the fridge is fine. RS3 or retrograde that gets formed in the process is resistant to breakdown with sensible reheating. The 140F only applies to raw RS2.

      Reply
  32. Pam

    @ Tate
    I make kefir all the time. Could you or anyone who know elaborate on feeding PS to the Kefir as it ferments the milk. Does it make the kefir bugs multiply more quickly or get stronger or what exactly?

    Reply
    1. Tate

      I think it does ferment a little faster, but I don’t strain it to remove the grains like is recommended. When I consume the Kefir, I put about 1/4 cup aside (after blending) to make the next batch (about 750 mL). So, I am using more of a starter culture than most people. Anyway, within 24 hrs at about 70F, the whey will separate from the curds. I know this is further than most people let the fermentation go, but I like mine a little more sour. I think the PS may make it ferment more quickly, but with the other confounding factors, I am not sure. My brother likes his Kefir less fermented and drinks it before the whey separates, but he also strains the grains and doesn’t use the PS (time and temperature are the same). Kefir is pretty resistant to screw-ups. I would just experiment until you get a result you like.

      Reply
      1. Tate

        Also, the reason I put the PS in at the beginning is to give the lactic acid producing bacteria a head start on the resistant starch. By having the bacteria bind to the resistant starch, it theoretically provides a vehicle to get the bacteria past the stomach alive and into the large intestine. At first I was worried the resistant starch would be broken down prior consumption, but can tell you this is not happening due to, well, CO2 production in the large intestine to put it politely.

        Reply
  33. Clint

    Tom, if this is stupid question, sorry, but I was wondering, if at restaurant and I had rice with my meal, could I eat it last when it has turned room temperature, will I have RS? Or does it have to be refrigerated first?
    Thanks.

    There are no stupid questions when you’re trying to learn. I believe it has to be cool for several hours to convert some of the starch to RS. Keep in mind it doesn’t all convert to RS, just a portion of it.

    Reply
    1. Richard Nikoley

      Clint, needs to cool to about 40F to form retrograde. However, what you can do is take along a baggie of PS and simply stir it into any food you want that’s less than 140F. Wide application. I even add it to mashed potatoes once they have cooled down to just nice 7 warm.

      Reply
  34. Rae

    A ha, sushi vindication. I always figured it was a totally justifiable carb splurge, given how nutritious raw fish and seaweed are. But the cooled, room-temperature sushi rice might not be so bad after all. Very interesting, Tom!

    Could be, although I don’t like sushi so it’s not a temptation either way.

    Reply
  35. Eric

    I noticed a secondary benefit to adding BRM Potato Starch to the “Shamrock Shake” recipe I got from Maria Emmerich. It smooths out the texture of the shake and less of it sticks to the blender pitcher!
    I’ve looked but havent found the reference, but how much of the formerly RS retrogrades back into RS when you cool a potato?

    I couldn’t find out either. I’ll ask the panel.

    Okay, Tim Steele tells me when you cool a cooked medium potato (roughly 25 grams of carbohydrate), you get about 5 grams of RS. Reheat it and cool it again, you’re up to around 9 grams of RS.

    Reply
  36. Dave

    Good job Tom! It is always nice to revist subjects with fresh eyes. I stumbled on RN’s blog early on and began using RedMills UMPS at that time. Over the course of a year I have notice some changes especially in BG. But the convincing time was just currently when I got off the RS for about 2 months and noticed a rise in BG without significant diet changes.. back to UMRS!
    By the way my wife (Korean) has been cooking her rice in large batches then dropping it into smal containers and freezing for years. She then pulls out a serving and nukes it for a minute so it is just right. I would bet some good RS there, but unconfirmed.

    Thanks again…waiting on Part 2

    Almost certainly some resistant starch in the cooked and cooled rice.

    Reply
  37. Pam

    @ Tate
    I make kefir all the time. Could you or anyone who know elaborate on feeding PS to the Kefir as it ferments the milk. Does it make the kefir bugs multiply more quickly or get stronger or what exactly?

    Reply
    1. Tate

      I think it does ferment a little faster, but I don’t strain it to remove the grains like is recommended. When I consume the Kefir, I put about 1/4 cup aside (after blending) to make the next batch (about 750 mL). So, I am using more of a starter culture than most people. Anyway, within 24 hrs at about 70F, the whey will separate from the curds. I know this is further than most people let the fermentation go, but I like mine a little more sour. I think the PS may make it ferment more quickly, but with the other confounding factors, I am not sure. My brother likes his Kefir less fermented and drinks it before the whey separates, but he also strains the grains and doesn’t use the PS (time and temperature are the same). Kefir is pretty resistant to screw-ups. I would just experiment until you get a result you like.

      Reply
      1. Tate

        Also, the reason I put the PS in at the beginning is to give the lactic acid producing bacteria a head start on the resistant starch. By having the bacteria bind to the resistant starch, it theoretically provides a vehicle to get the bacteria past the stomach alive and into the large intestine. At first I was worried the resistant starch would be broken down prior consumption, but can tell you this is not happening due to, well, CO2 production in the large intestine to put it politely.

        Reply
  38. Clint

    Tom, if this is stupid question, sorry, but I was wondering, if at restaurant and I had rice with my meal, could I eat it last when it has turned room temperature, will I have RS? Or does it have to be refrigerated first?
    Thanks.

    There are no stupid questions when you’re trying to learn. I believe it has to be cool for several hours to convert some of the starch to RS. Keep in mind it doesn’t all convert to RS, just a portion of it.

    Reply
    1. Richard Nikoley

      Clint, needs to cool to about 40F to form retrograde. However, what you can do is take along a baggie of PS and simply stir it into any food you want that’s less than 140F. Wide application. I even add it to mashed potatoes once they have cooled down to just nice 7 warm.

      Reply
  39. Rae

    A ha, sushi vindication. I always figured it was a totally justifiable carb splurge, given how nutritious raw fish and seaweed are. But the cooled, room-temperature sushi rice might not be so bad after all. Very interesting, Tom!

    Could be, although I don’t like sushi so it’s not a temptation either way.

    Reply
  40. Eric

    I noticed a secondary benefit to adding BRM Potato Starch to the “Shamrock Shake” recipe I got from Maria Emmerich. It smooths out the texture of the shake and less of it sticks to the blender pitcher!
    I’ve looked but havent found the reference, but how much of the formerly RS retrogrades back into RS when you cool a potato?

    I couldn’t find out either. I’ll ask the panel.

    Okay, Tim Steele tells me when you cool a cooked medium potato (roughly 25 grams of carbohydrate), you get about 5 grams of RS. Reheat it and cool it again, you’re up to around 9 grams of RS.

    Reply
  41. Tim "Tatertot"

    Just wanted to say I love the comments this post received. It shows me that people are looking past the starch/carb/potato aspect and realize that gut health is the goal.

    If anyone wants to try this and are totally against starch in general, there is always inulin, glucomannan, pectin, and a few other good prebiotics out there. Do some research, lots has been written over the last 30 years, but manufacturers get stymied when people fart. Metamucil had a great inulin product for a couple years, if you looked at the FAQ’s all people could focus on was the gas they were getting. The product is now off the market.

    For anyone researching this on their own, just search for articles and studies on prebiotics, you’ll find more than you can ever read. Then do a search for gut microbes and probiotics! Richard, Grace, and I have shared thousands of scientific papers and articles to try to glean as much useful info as we could.

    None of us are in league with any starch or supplement manufacturer. We’ve even contacted a few for help with questions on their products and have been given the cold shoulder mostly. I think this has their attention and we’ll probably see some big moves shortly. If there’s one thing we’ve done for the industry, it’s taking the shame out of the common fart, now they can proceed to hawk their goods in meaningful doses.

    Reply
    1. GeeBee

      “Metamucil had a great inulin product for a couple years, if you looked at the FAQ’s all people could focus on was the gas they were getting. The product is now off the market.”

      Are you referring to Fibresure? (active ingredient inulin) You can still buy it in Australia.

      Maybe Australians aren’t offended by farting?

      Reply
  42. Laura S.

    After reading this, I pulled out my bottle of Colon Health probiotic from the fridge and the main ingredient is Potato Starch. I LOL’d and took one. I am interested in giving this a try. I have noticed that my fasting BG is between 100 and 110, but it never goes over 130 during the course of the day. I’d like it to be lower in the morning.

    Does Dreamfields Pasta play into this at all? I have some in the freezer that I have not tried. I was wondering if I could give it a try now.

    Thanks for sharing this information, Tom.

    Dreamfield’s pasta is a scam. Toss it.

    http://www.dietdoctor.com/fraud-settlement-for-low-carb-pasta-maker-8-million

    Reply
  43. Tim "Tatertot"

    Just wanted to say I love the comments this post received. It shows me that people are looking past the starch/carb/potato aspect and realize that gut health is the goal.

    If anyone wants to try this and are totally against starch in general, there is always inulin, glucomannan, pectin, and a few other good prebiotics out there. Do some research, lots has been written over the last 30 years, but manufacturers get stymied when people fart. Metamucil had a great inulin product for a couple years, if you looked at the FAQ’s all people could focus on was the gas they were getting. The product is now off the market.

    For anyone researching this on their own, just search for articles and studies on prebiotics, you’ll find more than you can ever read. Then do a search for gut microbes and probiotics! Richard, Grace, and I have shared thousands of scientific papers and articles to try to glean as much useful info as we could.

    None of us are in league with any starch or supplement manufacturer. We’ve even contacted a few for help with questions on their products and have been given the cold shoulder mostly. I think this has their attention and we’ll probably see some big moves shortly. If there’s one thing we’ve done for the industry, it’s taking the shame out of the common fart, now they can proceed to hawk their goods in meaningful doses.

    Reply
    1. GeeBee

      “Metamucil had a great inulin product for a couple years, if you looked at the FAQ’s all people could focus on was the gas they were getting. The product is now off the market.”

      Are you referring to Fibresure? (active ingredient inulin) You can still buy it in Australia.

      Maybe Australians aren’t offended by farting?

      Reply
  44. Laura S.

    After reading this, I pulled out my bottle of Colon Health probiotic from the fridge and the main ingredient is Potato Starch. I LOL’d and took one. I am interested in giving this a try. I have noticed that my fasting BG is between 100 and 110, but it never goes over 130 during the course of the day. I’d like it to be lower in the morning.

    Does Dreamfields Pasta play into this at all? I have some in the freezer that I have not tried. I was wondering if I could give it a try now.

    Thanks for sharing this information, Tom.

    Dreamfield’s pasta is a scam. Toss it.

    http://www.dietdoctor.com/fraud-settlement-for-low-carb-pasta-maker-8-million

    Reply
  45. Kristin

    Well, Tom, you are one blogger I do feel I can trust. You work hard to provide good clear information. I also kept on scrolling when I saw things about resistant starch, especially since there is a specific product on the market. “Oh look. They are trying to sell me a way to eat starch again. Snake oil.”

    This article and thread has me thinking again. And chuckling a bit at myself. Because I’m a bit of an 80/20 kind of person. I will do a ‘cheat’ once or twice a week because it keeps me on my diet as a long term lifestyle. One of my cheats is sushi. Hmm. I’ve also been eating some mashed potatoes here and there. And usually I make a small batch and divide into three or four servings. So other than the first one I’m doing the refrigerating and reheating thing. But reheating for me means leaving on the counter until room temp and then heating it gently on the stove just until it softens up. I’ll be checking the temp now. And potato salad? I’ve missed potato salad. I agree though that the total carb count should still stay low. I’ve just found lately I need to add just a little more starch to my diet while staying also at around 100/day. I also seem to benefit from the occasional day of nothing but meat/fat/green veg like an Atkins induction day.

    Always a process of discovery.

    It’s definitely an ongoing journey. We’ve been including sweet potatoes and squash in our diets for some time now, although not every night. I also do the high-carb Saturday night recommended by Tim Ferriss in his book “The 4-Hour Body,” although I still leave wheat and sugar out of the equation.

    Reply
    1. Richard Nikoley

      Kristin:

      “But reheating for me means leaving on the counter until room temp and then heating it gently on the stove just until it softens up. I’ll be checking the temp now”

      No need. So long as you don’t go crazy and nuke the stuff for 5 minutes, the retrograded RS (RS3) is not susceptible to breakdown with reheating above 140. In fact, it actually creates a little bit more RS with reheating above 140 by squeezing more moisture out of the structure (whereas, when raw, RS2 bursts like popcorn at 140). Finally, repeated heating and cooling forms a little more RS3 each cycle (think refried beans that get repeatedly heated up and cooled).

      Reply
      1. Kristin

        Richard, Thanks for the additional information. This is such good news for me that I’ve already been adding some RS to my diet.

        Reply
  46. Nikki

    I just found out that soil based organisms are banned in Canada. Well, I guess it’s the fermented foods option.

    Or you could eat with dirty hands.

    Reply
  47. Kristin

    Well, Tom, you are one blogger I do feel I can trust. You work hard to provide good clear information. I also kept on scrolling when I saw things about resistant starch, especially since there is a specific product on the market. “Oh look. They are trying to sell me a way to eat starch again. Snake oil.”

    This article and thread has me thinking again. And chuckling a bit at myself. Because I’m a bit of an 80/20 kind of person. I will do a ‘cheat’ once or twice a week because it keeps me on my diet as a long term lifestyle. One of my cheats is sushi. Hmm. I’ve also been eating some mashed potatoes here and there. And usually I make a small batch and divide into three or four servings. So other than the first one I’m doing the refrigerating and reheating thing. But reheating for me means leaving on the counter until room temp and then heating it gently on the stove just until it softens up. I’ll be checking the temp now. And potato salad? I’ve missed potato salad. I agree though that the total carb count should still stay low. I’ve just found lately I need to add just a little more starch to my diet while staying also at around 100/day. I also seem to benefit from the occasional day of nothing but meat/fat/green veg like an Atkins induction day.

    Always a process of discovery.

    It’s definitely an ongoing journey. We’ve been including sweet potatoes and squash in our diets for some time now, although not every night. I also do the high-carb Saturday night recommended by Tim Ferriss in his book “The 4-Hour Body,” although I still leave wheat and sugar out of the equation.

    Reply
    1. Richard Nikoley

      Kristin:

      “But reheating for me means leaving on the counter until room temp and then heating it gently on the stove just until it softens up. I’ll be checking the temp now”

      No need. So long as you don’t go crazy and nuke the stuff for 5 minutes, the retrograded RS (RS3) is not susceptible to breakdown with reheating above 140. In fact, it actually creates a little bit more RS with reheating above 140 by squeezing more moisture out of the structure (whereas, when raw, RS2 bursts like popcorn at 140). Finally, repeated heating and cooling forms a little more RS3 each cycle (think refried beans that get repeatedly heated up and cooled).

      Reply
      1. Kristin

        Richard, Thanks for the additional information. This is such good news for me that I’ve already been adding some RS to my diet.

        Reply
  48. Nikki

    I just found out that soil based organisms are banned in Canada. Well, I guess it’s the fermented foods option.

    Or you could eat with dirty hands.

    Reply
  49. Janknitz

    I ferment my own sauerkraut, beet kvass, and pickles after obtaining the veggies from trusted organic sources. Rinse gently, don’t peel. Viola, soil based organisms even Canada can’t ban.

    Reply

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