I know that although I have said that New Year’s Resolutions are a waste of time and fruitless because they lead to failure and disappointment, I have made one New Year’s Resolution this year: Eat less refine starches, sweets and baked goods. I love my baking, sometimes too much, and I fight the desire to eat the entire batch of my yummy cinnamon rolls or freshly baked peanut butter carob cookies sometimes. However, as I will talk about in an article later next month, I am a very hungry woman, who is lactating, who works out for 45 minutes/7 days a week and who needs a lot of calories to get through the day. I was extremely frustrated about how to keep up with my metabolism until I heard about starch resistant carbs.
The first time I had ever heard of a starch resistant carb was in a magazine article. The article explained the health benefits of starch resistant carbs and was promoting a book called The Carb Lovers Diet, which I am sure many of you have heard of. The Carb Lovers Diet was written by Ellen Kunes and Frances Largeman-Roth. The book not only provides meal plans and recipes that help followers succeed with this diet, it explains the chemistry of why this diet works. It is appropriately named because of all the carbohydrates that are built into the diet, which may seem baffling to those diet gurus who just jumped ship from the Atkins diet, which shuns carbs completely. However, this book makes one thing very clear: no two carbs are alike and all carbs or starches are metabolized differently in the body and if you use this to your advantage, you can eat the starchy foods and still lose weight!
The reason I was attracted to this article and to this subject was two-fold. First of all, while promoting a gluten free life style, I have had many people argue that a gluten free diet causes weight gain due to the excess carbs and lack of fiber in the foods. Secondly, I realized that after looking at the carb lovers diet, many of the foods on the menu plan are inherently gluten free, so The Carb Lovers Diet might be a solution for a person who is gluten intolerant but still holding on to unnecessary weight. Let’s take a quick look at the chemistry behind the starch resistant carbs and the foods that are both gluten free and high on the list on The Carb Lovers Diet.
A resistant starch is a carbohydrate that gets digested more slowly by the digestive system. Since it takes longer to digest and process, it stays with you longer, it does not spike your blood sugar and it makes you feel fuller longer. Resistant starch actually can go all the way through the small intestine without being digested at all. In this way, it is more like fiber. When resistant starch reaches the colon, it is used for fuel by the bacteria there. This process, called fermentation, produces a certain type of fat called short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). It is these fatty acids which produce most of the calories from resistant starch, and many of the benefits.
Resistant starch is especially associated with one type of SCFA, called butyrate, which is protective of colon cells and associated with less genetic damage (which can lead to cancer). Butyrate also protects the cells in other ways. This is one of the real strengths of resistant starch over soluble fiber. Their fermentation does produce butyrate, but not at the levels of resistant starch. As with other fermentable fiber, resistant starch is associated with more mineral absorption, especially calcium and magnesium. For people with sugar issues, resistant starch seems to improve insulin sensitivity. Resistant starch is also associated with improved glucose tolerance the next day. There is evidence that this is caused by the presence of the short chain fatty acids, and by a peptide produced in the fermentation process. In addition, resistant starch produces more satiety. Resistant starch consumption is associated with lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It promotes good bacteria, and suppresses bad bacteria and their toxic products as well as promoting bowel regularity.
Some important, gluten free starch resistant carbs include beans, brown rice, quinoa, and gluten free oats. Here is a wonderful breakfast recipe to start your day to a new, healthier, gluten free body. These pancakes can be prepared the night before so they are easy to make and eat on the busy school mornings.
Gluten free Starch resistant Blueberry Pancakes*
1 cup Gluten Free certified oats
½ cup cottage cheese
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries
¼ cup 100% maple syrup
In a food processor, blend oats, cottage cheese, eggs and vanilla. (This can be prepared overnight and stored in the refrigerator until morning.
Gently stir in blueberries.
Heat a large stainless steel skillet. Coat with olive oil.
Spoon ¼ cup batter into skillet. Cook for 3 minutes on each side.
Makes 16 small pancakes. (4 servings)
Serve with maple syrup.
Would love to make this dairy free as well…see future articles for the results!