The skinny on resistant starch: can it really help you lose weight and prevent cancer?

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Janine Higgins, PhD Nutrition Research Director CU’s Colorado Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute, Auroraresistant-starch-healthy

Until approximately 15 years ago, it was believed that all starches were digested in the upper digestive tract and absorbed as sugars into the bloodstream. However, it has since been noted that some starches resist digestion in the upper digestive tract and, so, pass into the large bowel relatively intact. These starches are referred to as resistant starch (RS). In the bowel, RS is highly fermentable. It has the properties of both soluble and insoluble fiber and, thus, has been studied widely for its effects on bowel health. RS has been shown to increase bulk and decrease transit time and prevent the proliferation of pre-cancerous bowel lesions in rats. The metabolic benefits of RS include lowering post-meal blood sugar levels after consumption and increased fat burning. How are these processes related? What do we know about the mechanisms of action of RS, if anything? Do different mechanisms underlie the bowel and systemic effects of RS consumption? How can we consume more RS? Any other questions you’d like answered about RS?

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