Resistant starch has been in the spotlight lately and I’m constantly hearing from people who are focused on increasing their resistant starch intake to maximise weight loss.
First, the basics. Resistant starch is a specific type of starch that is present in all potatoes and other starchy foods in varying amounts. It is less digestible and so fewer calories can be absorbed, it also works a lot like fibre in that it aids digestion and helps feed good gut bacteria. Resistant starch content in foods can be increased by cooking and then cooling starchy food before eating it. Reheating is fine too, it won’t reduce the resistant starch content.
Now for the big questions that I get every day:
Is it worth the effort?
Will I still lose weight if I don’t cool my potatoes before eating them?
Potatoes contain around 2-3 grams of resistant starch per 100 grams of total weight, depending on the variety. For argument’s sake, let’s use the upper measurement. Cooling after cooking increases the resistant starch content by around 10%, so 3 grams would become 3.3 grams. On my year of potatoes I was eating around 3000 grams of potatoes per day*, which works out to be around 90 grams of resistant starch. If they were all cooled before eating then I would’ve increased my resistant starch intake by a whopping 9 grams! (sarcasm intended)
Stay with me. Carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram, meaning 9 grams of starch would yield 36 calories. We are only able to digest around half the calories in resistant starch, meaning that all the effort of cooking and cooling all my potatoes before eating has resulted in saving myself 18 calories for the day.
Potatoes (and rice, and beans) are a great source of resistant starch, however you eat them. The difference from cooling them is so tiny that the only good reason I can think of for cooling your food before eating it, is if you’re storing leftovers in the fridge for tomorrow. Food hygiene is important!
My advice to those of you who want to increase your intake of resistant starch by cooling food before eating it? Life is short, find something better to do with your time!
Spud up! Andrew
*please DO NOT use that as a guide for how much you should eat! Click HERE to see my rules.
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