Probably the biggest problem with a very low carbohydrate diet is a lack of resistant starch.
Resistant starch is basically exactly what its name implies … carbohydrates that are resistant to digestion.
Resistant starch isn’t fully absorbed by the small intestine so it travels to the colon where intestinal bacteria ferments it, in essence resistant starch feeds the beneficial bacteria in our gut.
When it’s fermented it produces short chain fatty acids (SCFA) such as acetate, butyrate and propionate. SCFAs are the main source of energy for the cells of the colon and they are associated with improved symptoms of IBS and IBD and may help protect against colon cancer. They are also positively associated with weight loss.
There are some huge benefits to consuming resistant starch including:
- improving the health of our gut
- increasing our ‘beneficial’ bacteria
- promoting insulin sensitivity
- better satiety
- consumption is associated with reduced cholesterol and triglycerides
Take home message
Resistant starch consumption, increased SCFA and healthy intestinal microbiota not only have a wealth of health benefits, they also may play a pivotal role in body composition and fat loss, so it would be crazy to avoid it!
My favourite sources of resistant starch are:
- green bananas
- white potatoes (boiled and cooled)
Try to include one of these food sources everyday. My preference would generally be to eat them with or after the evening meal.