You might be thinking that resistant starches have no place in a ketogenic diet, but don’t let the word ‘starch’ fool you! Resistant starches offer so many health benefits, like improved digestive health, regular bowel motions, satiety and stabilised blood sugars, and they should be incorporated into a well-balanced diet every day.
What is a Resistant Starch?
A resistant starch is a type of starch that resists being broken down and absorbed in the stomach and small intestine and is, instead, digested by the microbes in our large intestine or colon. Once they are fermented or digested in the colon, they are converted into short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). These SCFAs act as prebiotics and help to feed beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacterium and lactobacillus.
Because they pass through the small intestine undigested, they won’t spike blood sugar levels and are therefore a wonderful addition to a low-carb, ketogenic diet.
Benefits of Resistant Starches
One of the best-studied benefits of prebiotic resistant starches is their fermentation and subsequent short chain fatty acid (SCFA) production. We know of many SCFA’s: butyrate, propionate and acetate being the most common. Butyrate is the most commonly discussed for its health benefits because it is believed that it provides energy to the cells within the colon, decreases inflammation and improves sensitivity to insulin. We definitely want to be producing plentiful amounts of butyrate in our gut by providing the right fuel to the microbiota.
As a consequence of increasing numbers and activity of microbes, the benefits we expect with resistant starches include:
- Stabilised blood sugar levels and improved insulin sensitivity,
- Decreased appetite
- Enhanced immune function
- SCFA production
- Enhanced vitamin and mineral absorption
- Promote weight loss
- Protection against colon cancer
- Improved digestive health and intestinal barrier function
- Decrease inflammation and reduced risk of inflammatory diseases such as heart disease
Types of Resistant Starches
The types of resistant starches we recommend include:
- Kultured Wellness Diversity Dough
- Cooked and cooled sweet potato
- Cooked and cooled rice (Try this Cooked and Cooled Coconut Rice)
- Oats - fermented
- Green bananas
- Green banana flour
Foods like cooked and cooled rice or sweet potato can be added to your morning smoothie or they can be reheated and served with your favourite curry, just make sure you don’t heat it too high and make sure you have cooled your rice or sweet potato for at least 24 hours.
Kultured Wellness Diversity Dough
Unfortunately some of us have imbalances within our gut or our metabolism which means that we need to keep the sugar and carbs in our diet super low. However, it is essential to still have fibre rich foods in our diet to build and nurture a thriving gut microbiome. This is where fermenting enters the scene. Fermenting allows you to eliminate sugars such as fructose keeping it low carb and sugar free but preserves all the incredible properties of the food.
Here’s what’s in our Diversity Dough:
- Coconut flour
- Tapioca flour
- Green banana flour
- Slippery elm powder
- Tiger nut flour
- Ground flaxseed
- Psyllium powder
- Bifidobacterium bifidum
- Bifidobacterium longum
- Bifidobacterium lactis
- Bifidobacterium infantis
- Bifidobacterium breve
- Saccharomyces boulardii
How Much Resistant Starches Should I Be Having?
Short answer - only you will know! Everyone is so different when it comes to what is going on in their gut, so if you are experiencing a certain amount of dysbiosis, it is best to start very slowly - or risk things like bloating, cramping and gas!
You only need a small amount of resistant starches and prebiotic fibre to provide enough fuel to grow beneficial microbes, so you don’t need to go too hard. Listen to your body and work towards slowly increasing your gut diversity with a variety of resistant starches and prebiotic fibres.
Click here to see “How To Make Diversity Dough”