By Greg Maurer
Yes you heard that right – how you prepare complex carbohydrates like rice and potatoes can make a big difference in the amount of sugar, starch and calories you absorb when you eat them! To understand how this occurs let’s look at the three types of carbohydrates: sugars, starches and fibers.
All sugars are converted into glucose (your body’s preferred carbohydrate source) to be used for cellular energy. Starches are simply multiple sugars hooked together and when eaten are broken down into sugar again.
Fiber also consists of multiple sugars hooked together but human beings lack the enzymes necessary to break fiber down into sugars again. So long story short even though there are calories and sugar present within fiber we do not absorb any of them!
Fiber has many benefits to our digestive system including helping with satiety (feeling satisfied); reducing cholesterol; and providing “food” for the good bacteria which inhabit our intestines.
How to Prepare Rice and Potatoes to Lower sugar/starch and reduce calories absorbed
Scientists have discovered that you can convert a significant amount of starch to a form of starch known as “Resistant Starch” simply by cooking it, refrigerating it and then re-heating it. To put some numbers to it a cup of rice has about 240 calories. Prepared properly calories can drop by 50 – 60% WITHOUT affecting the taste AND providing many collateral benefits!
Here is here is the preparation process:
Bring water to a boil
Then add one teaspoon of coconut oil – this was used in an experiment testing the process, but the main effects are caused by cooking, cooling for 12 or more hours then reheating!
Add rice and boil for 20-25 minutes.
Refrigerate the rice for 12 hours
Then reheat the rice and eat or eat cold if you prefer – adding a small amount of a healthy oil like Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil prevents clumping and improve texture and taste for many.
This process boosts resistant starch by 10 times.
Metabolic Benefits of Resistant Starch
Resistant Starch is not fully digested and absorbed and instead ferments in the large intestine and is turned in short-chain fatty acids (SCFA’s) by bacteria. These SCFA’s feed the beneficial bacteria in the colon.
We absorb only two calories per gram of resistant starch compared to 4 calories per gram for regular sugar and starch, yet resistant starch is very effective at satisfying hunger and produces high levels of satiety.
Resistant starch can help lower blood cholesterol and fat and has been shown to reduce the production of new fat cells. The SCFA’s produced from resistant starch also reduce the release of sugar by the liver thereby increasing the amount of fat burning!
There is also a significantly reduced insulin response to resistant starch which is VERY important. Constant high levels of insulin in response to high levels of sugar and other non-fiber carbohydrate intake reduces the cells insulin sensitivity and overtime this can result in Type 2 Diabetes! This has big ramifications for the treatment of this form of diabetes which is sky-rocketing.
The effect on glucose and insulin metabolism is very impressive. Some studies have found a 33-50 percent improvement in insulin sensitivity after four weeks of consuming 15-30 grams per day.
Resistant starch may help prevent and reduce existing irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis, constipation, and ulcerative colitis.
Resistant starch can help balance immune response in the gut by balancing the production of immune cells and inflammatory chemicals.
Other Ways to Boost Resistant Starch Intake
Another great source of resistant starch is potato of all types. Like rice simply cook then cool for 12 hours and eat cold or reheat. Fine to add some healthy oil or reheat in water to change consistency and reheating in a microwave is fine.
Other food sources of resistant starch include green bananas, cashews, and raw oats. You can also boost intake by using raw potato starch powder (Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch) which is easy to add to food and shakes and has very little taste. Benefits will max out at 32 grams of resistant starch per day and start slowly to allow your digestive system to adjust.
It takes 2 – 4 weeks for the production of short chain fatty acids to increase and notice all the benefits!