Resistant Starch Reverses Prediabetes

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Resistant Starch Reverses Prediabetes


Resistant starch is starch that resists digestion. It is not broken down in the small intestine but reaches the large intestine, where it is fermented by the microbiota. Resistant starch's fermentation produces short-chain fatty acids, particularly high levels of butyrate, and changes the expression of >200 genes in the intestines. Some of these genes are connected to digestive function (i.e., muscle contractions and colon health), but some of these genes are connected to glucose and lipid metabolism as well as hunger.

Eight clinical studies have now shown that resistant starch significantly increases insulin sensitivity. Not just marginally - impressively so. The Maki study in 2012 showed a 56% improvement in insulin sensitivity in overweight men consuming 15 grams of resistant starch/day, but unfortunately, his study did not find benefits in women. (http://jn.nutrition.org/content/142/4/717.abstract). A follow up study by Barbara Gower showed a 34% improvement in insulin sensitivity in insulin resistant, postmenopausal women consuming 30 grams of resistant starch/day, but no effect in women who were not insulin resistant or those that consumed less resistant starch. (http://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12986-016-0062-5). (Why does it not surprise me that women are metabolically more complex and have a harder time seeing this benefit??) This link provides a page that describes and provides links for all of the blood sugar management studies on resistant starch - http://www.resistantstarch.us/health-benefits/blood-sugar-benefits/.

In March of 2015, a petition was submitted to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration asking for the claim that resistant starch helps reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, based upon these 8 clinical trials. You can find it at https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=FDA-2015-Q-2352. So far, the FDA has postponed its ruling on this petition three times already this year.

Earlier this month, I launched a Change.org petition to ask the FDA to issue their ruling on this important topic. Please sign my petition at https://www.change.org/p/u-s-fda-rule-on-the-petition-that-resistant-starch-reduces-the-risk-of-type-2-diabetes. The FDA does not have to issue this ruling in the coming months or years, but we would all benefit by knowing that the FDA thinks about resistant starch's ability to help manage blood sugar levels.

A couple of studies have been published with resistant starch to look at the impact on insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes. One study in China found improved insulin sensitivity (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17605234) but a more thorough study from the United Kingdom did not see improved insulin sensitivity. However, the Brits reported improved meal handling and improved glucose uptake into muscles. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3987287/)

Resistant starch is naturally in beans, peas, green bananas, intact whole grains (i.e., muesli but not refined whole grains), raw potatoes and high amylose cornstarch. Small quantities are in cooked and cooled starchy foods like pasta salad, potato salad or sushi rice. To get the benefits seen in the scientific studies, you'd have to eat a lot of beans and bananas every day or get resistant starch as a supplement.

Any amount of resistant starch in your diet is good and contributes to keeping your intestinal tract working well and healthy. A moderate amount will help keep you regular and help you control your hunger. A large amount will help reverse prediabetes. Choose foods, supplements or a combination to work within your philosophy and make it easy to do.

If you do add resistant starch to your diet, remember that it is fermented and will increase the amount of gas your body produces. Do not add a high quantity immediately - ramp up over time so your body can become adjusted and your microbiota can shift to the health-promoting kind. But, it is slowly fermented (because it is insoluble) and you can eat a lot of resistant starch before gas usually becomes an issue. It is not like inulin or FOS, which are fermented very quickly and produce a lot of gas for many people.

For more information on resistant starch, visit www.resistantstarch.us. You'll be glad you investigated this important nutrient. And thank you for signing my petition on Change.org.



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