blood sugar

Resistant Starch May Help Control Blood Glucose

Consistent evidence shows consumption of resistant starch in place of digestible carbohydrates can aid blood glucose control, according to a new review. In addition, some evidence indicates that resistant starch can support gut health and enhance satiety, though more research is needed in these areas.

Researchers examined the potential health benefits of resistant starch, a form of starch not digested in the small intestine and is, therefore, considered a type of dietary fiber, said study lead author Stacey Lockyer, MSc, PhD, RNutr, a nutrition scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation in London. “This in-depth review may be of interest to health professionals treating individuals with diabetes or prediabetes.”
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Some forms of resistant starch occur naturally in foods, such as bananas, potatoes, grains, and legumes, while others are produced or modified commercially and incorporated into food products as a functional ingredient.

Promising results on markers of gut health suggest further research may lead to the classification of resistant starch as a prebiotic. Microbial fermentation of resistant starch in the large intestine to produce short-chain fatty acids likely underpins some of its biological effects, including increasing satiety. However, effects on appetite have not resulted in notable changes in bodyweight after long-term consumption.

Emerging research suggests potential for resistant starch as an ingredient in oral rehydration solutions and in the treatment of chronic kidney disease; yet, the researchers note there appears to be little impact of resistant starch on metabolic markers, such as blood pressure and plasma lipids, though data are comparatively limited.

“Current evidence points towards resistant starch as a dietary component with several potential health benefits and no harmful effects, besides possible gastrointestinal symptoms in some individuals at high intakes,” they concluded.

—Mike Bederka


Lockyer S, Nugent AP. Health effects of resistant starch [published online Jan. 5, 2017]. Nutr Bull. doi: 10.1111/nbu.12244.