The Complete Guide to Resistant Starch 2023

The Complete Guide to Resistant Starch

Resistant starch: The new superfood?

Resistant starches are more common than we think-from grains and legumes to potatoes
and rice that have been cooked and cooled. For years, the realm of dieting and healthy
eating painted a bad picture of carbohydrates. Mention anything carby, and we generally
associate it with something negative or, at the very least, fattening. How about resistant starches?

We wouldn’t go so far as to consider resistant starches as superfoods, but they are a form of
dietary fibre and hold a myriad of digestive health benefits. They also have fewer calories than regular starch, which make them an ideal addition to your diet if you’re watching your weight.
There are 4 types of resistant starches (RS):

  • RS1- Physically inaccessible digestive enzymes such as partly milled grains, seeds and legumes.
  • RS2- Resistant starch granules such as raw potatoes and green bananas.
  • RS3- Retrograded starch such as cooked and cooled potatoes.
  • RS4- Chemically or enzymatically modified, cross bonded starches found in a wide range of foods.

How does resistant starch work?

Most of the carbohydrates in your diet are starches- long chains of glucose found ingrains, potatoes and various foods. What’s important to remember is that not all the starch you consume gets digested.

Some of these starches are resistant to digestion and pass right through your digestive tract and cannot be digested in the small intestine. Therefore, it functions like a soluble, fermentable fibre. In the large intestine, resistant starch helps nourish the good bacteria in your digestive system.

Resistant starch has been gaining more importance with its positive benefits on our gut and its myriad of health benefits- from prebiotics, laxation, hypocholesterolemic and hypoglycemic effects and reducing the risks of ulcerative colitis and colon cancer.

The Complete Guide to Resistant Starch

What are the health benefits of resistant starch?

As mentioned earlier, resistant starch’s resistance to enzymatic digestion allows it to pass right through your digestive tract to your colon. There, it helps nourish the good bacteria in your microbiome. This fermentation process releases short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which are thought to play an important role in colon health, cancer prevention and reducing inflammation.

Resistant starch helps to:

  • Improve gut health
  • Keeps your colon healthy
  • Increase insulin sensitivity
  • Lower risk of some conditions such as diabetes
  • Encourage weight loss by improving satiety and lowers fat storage in adipocytes

What foods are high in resistant starch?

Some examples of foods high in resistant starch include:

  • Cooked and cooled rice and potatoes
  • Green bananas
  • Raw potato starch
  • Beans and legumes
  • Sorghum and barley
  • Oats

Is resistant starch bad for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)?

Too much fibre can worsen IBS symptoms. Resistant starch may actually be good for the colon and aids in various digestive disorders.

That said, when resistant starches are broken down during fermentation in the gut, gas is produced, which may cause bloating and pain.

Ultimately, it is dependent on the symptoms you experience. It is best to include more resistant starch in your diet slowly to ensure that your body can tolerate it without aggravating your IBS symptoms.

Is there such a thing as too much resistant starch?

There is generally very little risk with consuming too much resistant starch. Too much resistant starch may lead to gas or bloating.


Resistant starch is paramount in supporting a healthy gut microbiome, and an intake of 15-20g a day would suffice.

Hopefully, this article helped shed some light on some staple foods we might already have in our kitchens, such as green bananas and whole grains such as barley and oats.

If you’d like to know more about your gut health, book a consultation with us for a thorough examination with Dr Aaron Poh.


  1. Gunnars, Kris, and Rudy Mawer. “Resistant Starch 101 — Everything You Need to Know.” Healthline, 3 July 2018, https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/resistant-starch-101#how-to-add.
    Accessed 27 December 2022.
  2. Marengo, Katherine, and Joseph Nordqvist. “Resistant Starch: What to know.” Medical News Today, 22 November 2019, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/327094.
    Accessed 27 December 2022.
  3. Mikstas, Christine. “What Are Resistant Starches? Types, Benefits, and More.” WebMD, 1 September 2021, https://www.webmd.com/diet/what-to-know-resistant-starches.
    Accessed 27 December 2022.
  4. Weisenberger, Jill. “Resistant Starch — This Type of Fiber Can Improve Weight Control and Insulin Sensitivity.” Today's Dietitian, https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/090112p22.shtml.
    Accessed 27 December 2022.
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