For thousands of years naturally occurring resistant starch has been in our daily diets. Just recently, resistant starch has been added to commercial foods to help increase dietary fiber intake.

Commercial and natural sources of resistant starch have been linked to many health benefits that include:

• Weight management
• Improved insulin and glucose response
• Digestive health

Another benefit of resistant starch is that people can tolerate up to 45 g of fiber daily from resistant starch without gastrointestinal side effects. It is being advised that nutritional professionals rediscover resistant starches as a significant food component and ingredient that may provide health benefits for conditions such as:

• Cardiovascular disease
• Type 2 diabetes
• Colon cancer

Starches provide about half maybe even more of the calories people consume. Starches are divided into two groups:

• Those that are digested in the small intestine
• Those that are not digested in the small intestine but are found in the large intestine

Starches that are not digested in the small intestine, but are found in the large intestine are the “resistant starches.”

Sources of Resistant Starch include:

• Naturally found in common foods like legumes, whole or partially milled grains and just-ripened bananas
• Foods such as potatoes, pasta, and rice when cooked and served cold as in salads, naturally contain resistant starch.
• Resistant starch can be naturally present in a high-amylose corn ingredient with the brand name Hi-maize that is increasingly being used in commercially prepared products such as bread, cereal, and snacks.
• Resistant starch can be made by chemically modifying starches

Key Health Benefits of Resistant Starch

There are numerous studies that say consuming an increased quantity of natural resistant starch, particularly RS1 and RS2 types, provides several health benefits in the areas of:

• Weight control
• Blood glucose
• Insulin management
• Digestive health

What are RS1 and RS2 Resistant Starches?

RS1 resistant starches include:

• Legumes
• Seeds
• Whole grains

RS2 resistant starches include:

• Bananas (less ripe)
• High-amylose corn (ingredient called Hi-maize) used in commercial breads, cereals and snacks

Exploration of the health benefits of resistant starch is an on-going and active area of research. Many of the studies use amounts of resistant starch well in excess of common and usual intakes.

Evidence for the health benefits of resistant starch continues to grow; however, more human studies using realistic chronic intakes of resistant starch are needed.

I suppose, for now, one can conclude to at least try and include more of legumes, seeds, whole grains and bananas in the daily diet for the purpose of increasing fiber intake. You might also watch food labels on commercial breads, cereals and snacks for the ingredient called Hi-maize.

Source: Nutrition Today, Volume 42, Number 3, May/June, 2007

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information in this article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All health concerns should be addressed by a qualified health care professional.

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Author's Bio: 

Connie Limon, Trilogy Field Representative. Visit and sign up for a weekly nutrition and health tip. The article collection is available as FREE reprints for your newsletters, websites or blog. Visit to purchase an array of superior quality, safe and effective products inspired by nature, informed by science and created to improve the health of people, pets and the planet.