Flat-Belly Diet , have just alerted us to a new nutritional discovery: Resistant Starch.
This new breakthrough is in some ways similar to the "Mufa's" they were just telling us about. ("Mufa" is Prevention's hopelessly uncool nickname for monounsaturated fats, the secret to acquiring a Flat Belly). The good news is that yet again, you get to eat more of the stuff you like anyway but thought was too fattening.
This time it's certain starches--like corn, potatoes, rice, beans and bananas that are supposed to have slimming properties.
Yep, you heard right: corn, potatoes, rice, beans and bananas are now going to help you lose weight. And not only that: Resistant Starches are also supposed to fight heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Plus they'll boost your immune system.
Researchers at the LSU AgCenter can explain how resistant starches work better than I can. To summarize, unlike refined grains and sugars, resistant starches aren't broken down into sugar in the small intestine. They "resist" this digestion and pass on into the large intestine, where they act more like dietary fiber. Not only that, resistant starches are fermented in the large intestine, a process which in itself consumes energy.
So what's not to like about eating more spuds and other starches without guilt?
Well, this wouldn't be Cranky Fitness if we didn't have a few concerns, gripes, and random questions. Like:
1. If, as the Prevention article claims, "more than 160 studies have examined this little known nutrient's remarkable health and weight loss benefits," why the heck are we just hearing about this now?
You'd think a phenomenon this robust would have been more obvious. After all, we're a spud-lovin', starch-addicted culture. Why didn't anyone notice the awesome benefits to these good starches until recently?
Hmm... Is it just a coincidence that we're just starting to see commercial products featuring these resistant starches? (Look for "Hi-maize," a resistant starch powder made from corn).
2. The slimming effect is way more powerful if you eat the starches cold.
I mean sure, cold's fine for potoato salad and bananas. But corn on the cob? Burritos? Paella? Still sounds more appealing than brussel sprouts, but not quite as enticing as piping hot garlic mashed potatoes.
3. And, um, not to be skeptical, don't we all know people who eat a lot of these starches and are anything but slim?
4. Potatoes? Really?
We already knew whole grains and legumes were really good for you and well worth the calories. It's the potatoes and corn that are surprising. They always seemed like kind of a lousy nutritional bargain, didn't they? Technically produce, but without all the antioxidants and bonus points you get for eating a "real" vegetable like cauliflower. Plus they've got a fair amount of calories you could be saving up for an actual treat, like chocolate ice cream.
But if it turns out we're not really getting all the potato/corn calories, then it's a whole new ballgame isn't it? What if you get to eat your ice cream for a treat but have your potatoes too?
I have to admit to some skepticism, but I do notice this information is already affecting me. I let my last burrito cool to room temperature, secretly hoping this simple step was both fighting disease and making more room for future cupcake consumption. However, I'll probably forget about the whole thing in a couple of weeks unless we really do start seeing a slew of studies confirming this whole resistant starch notion.
What about you folks--any thoughts on resistant starches, or are you finding yourselves resistant to the whole idea?