You did not know? Me neither! That probably makes over 6 billion of us–minus the few people who specialized in the science of understanding what happens to starchy foods when they get chilled off after cooking and reheated. I did not know this was a science but apparently it is and it is a super one because now we know how to convert simple starchy carbohydrates into fiber rich low carbohydrate resistant starch, which is a fiber.
A friend of mine from the UK told me about this and I searched on the Internet and lo and behold found the BBC Two program “Trust me I am a doctor” with the episode online that examines what happens to starchy foods in our bodies when we eat them freshly prepared hot, chilled, or reheated. Here they tested pasta in an Italian restaurant on 10 volunteers who then had to take blood samples of and by themselves like diabetes blood collection for 2 hours after meal every 15 minutes.
The results show what has apparently been known for well over 20 years that cooked starch once chilled converts into what is called resistant starch.
I have been skeptical but I actually found proof of this on Wikipedia and that there are four types of such resistant starches–there are nearly a million results in the search engine about resistant starches so I suspect there is some truth to this:
- RS1 Physically inaccessible or digestible resistant starch, such as that found in seeds or legumes and unprocessed whole grains
- RS2 Resistant starch that occurs in its natural granular form, such as uncooked potato, green banana and high amylose corn
- RS3 Resistant starch that is formed when starch-containing foods are cooked and cooled such as in legumes, bread, cornflakes and cooked-and-chilled potatoes, pasta salad or sushi rice. Occurs due to retrogradation, which refers to the collective processes of dissolved starch becoming less soluble after being heated and dissolved in water and then cooled.
- RS4 Starches that have been chemically modified to resist digestion. This type of resistant starches can have a wide variety of structures and are not found in nature.
In fact, many foods we eat have such resistant starches without our knowledge. On a recent trip I was in Scandinavia for three weeks. I noticed that everywhere they ate the same rolled oats we do in the USA except they eat it raw! They mix dried fruits and nuts but that is not necessary. I actually liked the taste of the raw better so I started to eat that for my lunch since that is when I usually crave it–it is quite a heavy food. As it turns out, it is heavy because, as uncooked, it has a ton of resistant starch and my body cannot digest it! A 1/4 cup of uncooked rolled oats has 4.4 gr resistant starch in it! Frozen green peas also naturally have this mysterious naturally occurring resistant starch–1 cup cooked has 4 grams. I medium raw and slightly green banana, exactly how I like it, has 4.7 grams of resistant starch!
What a wealth of information! Now before you get the wrong idea, the conversion from starch to resistant starch type fiber has more benefits than you now eat more fiber. Since starchy foods are off the menu for most diabetics as a result of insulin rise, as it turns out, once the pasta or potato or rice was allowed to cool completely and then you reheat it, it reduces the insulin spike by 50% according to the BBC Two TV program. The chart clearly showed that eating chilled pasta after cooking had some such benefits but reheating it had a significantly higher benefit.
So, the benefits are several fold actually:
- Because your body cannot digest resistant starch, you are reducing your caloric intake without dieting!
- Obviously the 50% less insulin spike benefits everyone even if one has no diabetes!
- You gain a lot of fiber that helps your gut flora feed and produce better health
- You can put away your bacteria pills… Once you have good quantity of resistant starch fiber in your gut, the bacteria will live happily ever after since the one thing they are absolutely perfect at is reproduction.
- You can finally stuff yourself with pasta and not feel bad about it!
This is good news! We are having leftovers tonight with pasta… ummm… fiber of resistant starch in that! 🙂
Enjoy! The world’s best kept secret is not such a secret anymore!
Comments and pasta are welcome!