Resistant starch in whole grains

Resistant starch in whole grains helps with weight loss and insulin-resistance; it does this in part by modifying the friendly bacteria in the gut.

In an increasingly obese world the number of Americans dieting in the past year has risen dramatically; up from 38% five years ago to over half of the adult population today. Alas few are succeeding and many continue to put on weight; and are becoming very angry and depressed in the process.

There are many reasons driving this obesity pandemic, far worse than that caused by viruses; it's the cause of the degenerative conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and fatty liver. A major factor is the extraction of fibre and "resistant starch" from the food found typically in the grocery store.

Two types of resistant starch (RS)

Bread sourdough loaf100% wholegrain bread
Fava and lima beans in potGreen lima and fava beans

There are in fact five types but we shall focus on only two; a third is not commonly eaten and the other two constitute ultra-processed foods and should be shunned.

  1. Resistant starch in unprocessed whole grains and legumes.
  2. Retrograded starch that has been allowed to cool overnight; and can be reheated.

Fava beans contain 47% resistant starch.

Green lima beans have a high amylose content which is more resistant to enzyme action.

Cooled gelatinized corn gritsCorn grits cooled overnight

Both resistant and retrograded starches produce far less glucose which would have been digested and absorbed in the small intestine but instead pass through to the colon; they are fermented by the friendly flora producing instead highly beneficial "short-chain fatty acids."

So they behave in many ways like the fibre in our diet that also does not yield glucose that would raise blood sugar.

Glucose from carbohydrate is in fact our chief source of energy but we get more than enough of it; chronic over-consumption of refined starch is the chief cause of type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease and obesity.

Dieting rule No. 1

Only make changes to your diet that are you are prepared to continue with for the rest of your life; anything less is blowing in the wind and doomed to fail.

  • Could you start eating legumes daily? We prefer those that are green to the dried kinds but lentils too are excellent. Chickpeas need to be cooled and retrograded.
  • Could you give up commercial bread made from refined flour for ever and eat only wholegrain?
  • Could you start cooking your starches like pasta, potato and grits the night before and allow them to cool in the fridge overnight?
  • Would you consider baking your own sourdough wholegrain bread several times a week?
Bread loaf in panIt takes just five minutes to mix the dough


The friendly bugs in the intestines known as the microbiome play an absolutely vital role in weight loss, reducing fat absorption in the gut and controlling inflammation in the body. But they can only flourish if fibre and resistant starch reach them in the colon.

There is no other safe, inexpensive and successful way to lose weight permanently.

You could get that resistant starch from a dietary supplement. Why not rather just get it from your food? Researchers have found that it will increase the friendly gut microbiota, particularly the Bifido and Lactobacillus species; they then outnumber and help overwhelm any pathogens that are present[1].

High fat diets

High fat diets remain controversial with researchers divided on the benefits when it comes to weight loss and health outcomes.

Some research certainly shows that a high resistant starch diet with low fat had an immediate impact on weight loss; but not so with high lipids. All the fibre slows gastric emptying and sends messages to the brain about satiety.

It is highly likely that the source may be the key; fruit oils (olive and avocado), seed lipids and animal fat.

The ketogenic diets demand very low carbohydrate from any source coupled with high fat mostly from animals; that deals with hunger. The lipids also provide satiety; and increase absorption of important phytonutrients. 

Dieting rule number two

Only make changes to your diet that are you are prepared to continue with for the rest of your life; anything less is blowing in the wind and doomed to fail.


Researchers using a powerful double-blinded intervention gave two groups of individuals either 40 grams of resistant starch or a placebo control carb for 8 weeks. After a month long washout period they crossed over to the other prepackaged sachets.

1. Weight loss

The resistant starch (RS) group lost on averal 2.8kg after the four week trial but the control group none. Fat mass and waist circumference also decreased.

2. Insulin resistance

The RS group had a significant drop in insulin concentrations; but the Control Starch (CS) group showed no change compared to baseline values.

There was also a significant improvement in the insulin sensititivity.

3. Chronic inflammatory response

Levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines were significantly lower in the resistant starch group as compared to the control.

Intestinal permeability was significantly lowered indicating a restoration of the gut barrier in the RS group.

4. Excreted fats

The RS group had significantly higher levels of excreted cholesterol, triglycerides and fatty acids in the faeces compared to the Control Starchers.

5. Gut microbiota

There were distinct changes in the gut microbiota in both the RS and CS groups after the dietary interventions were initiated.

6. Abdominal discomfort

Those enjoying resistant starch in whole grains have far less abdominal discomfort and passing the stool becomes easier; especially if they are having sourdough bread.

Reduce total or just refined starch?

There are very definitely two schools of thought in regard to restricted starch consumption for weight loss. One group looks to putting the body into ketosis by reducing all carbs to less than 20 grams per day. That means virtually no grains, whole or otherwise; or legumes. Most fruit is also restricted.

The second school calls for the dropping of all refined carbs but allowing resistant starch in moderate amounts. They believe this is more sustainable long term. Weight loss will be slower but is less likely to return with a vengeance when we return to eating the staff of life for example, which we may feel we cannot give up for ever; nor need to.

Dieting rule number 3

Only make changes to your diet that are you are prepared to do for the rest of your life; anything less is blowing in the wind and doomed to fail.


How to make kefirColander, starter culture and fresh milk

In the healthy tum there is a massive 2kg of friendly bacteria, viruses and yeast cells; and other lesser known creatures. However few people eating typical grocery store food, subjected to antibiotics both in their food and as treatment come close to that figure.

Two factors are important; the total mass of bugs and their diversity. For this reason a probiotic food such as kefir or sauerkraut, both containing many different species is preferable to a supplement supplying only a limited range.

Sauerkraut in bottle

Where to start

Keeping in mind dieting rule no.1 choose either increase the amount of resistant starch in the diet; or start to avoid all refined starches, keeping cakes and puddings for high and holy days only. It's a matter of personal choice.

Resistant starch in whole grains which has been allowed to retrograde overnight and then reheated to make a porridge gives you the double benefit.

Whole grain corn has a particularly large amount (25%) of resistant starch.

Maizemeal grits porridgeWholegrain grits porridge

Dieting rule number 4

Only make changes to your diet that are you are prepared to continue with for the rest of your life; anything less is blowing in the wind and doomed to fail.

Resistant starch in whole grains

Resistant starch in whole grains is not digested forming glucose. It does not contribute to weight gain.

In fact those eating 40 grams of resistant starch lost 2.6kg over two months.

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frequently asked questions

Do whole grains have resistant starch?

Yes true whole grains certainly do have resistant starch provided that they are not refined. Millers usually remove all or most of the bran which is where the fibre is; and the germ which contains the fat. They stimulate the glands in the stomach and small intestine that slow gastric emptying, stimulate the beta-cells in the pancreas and send messages to the brain providing satiety.

Starch granules with the bran limit the accessibility of the enzyme amylase that digests the starch.

Amylose and the fat from the germ form a complex that resists amylase digestion.

What foods are highest in resistant starch?


Our newsletter is entitled "create a cyan zone" at your home, preserving both yourself and Mother Earth for future generations; and your family too, of course. We promise not to spam you with daily emails promoting various products. You may get an occasional nudge to buy one of my books.

Here are the back issues.

  • Investing in long-term health
  • Diseases from plastic exposure
  • Intensive lifestyle management for obesity has limited value
  • A world largely devoid of Parkinson's Disease
  • The impact of friendly bacteria in the tum on the prevention of cancer
  • There's a hole in the bucket
  • Everyone is talking about weight loss drugs
  • Pull the sweet tooth
  • If you suffer from heartburn plant a susu
  • Refined maize meal and stunting
  • Should agriculture and industry get priority for water and electricity?
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  • Bake your own sourdough bread
  • Microplastics from our water
  • Alternative types of water storage
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  • Go to bed slightly hungry
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  • Blue zone folk are religious
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