Breakthrough Yale research has found that a fiber-like compound called resistant starch hiding in bananas and beans has a surprising superpower: It helps heal a common GI problem that worsens many of our biggest health concerns.
“Simply getting more in your diet can be a one-stop solution for whatever you struggle with most — weight gain, fatigue, brain fog, digestive issues, diabetes, joint pain, even hot flashes,” says weight-loss guru Alan “Dr. C” Christianson, NMD, author of the bestselling The Metabolism Reset Diet ($18.47, Amazon). “Every part of your body benefits.” The first sign it’s working? A rapidly shrinking waist. When Dr. C tracked women using his resistant starch-based plan, they shed up to 10 pounds and a jean size every week!
For those not familiar, resistant starch is a type of carb in foods like bananas, beans, and rice that resists digestion. “Most carbs quickly turn to blood sugar,” Dr. C explains. “But resistant starch lingers in your system for seven to nine hours as good bacteria in the gut slowly break it down.” During that time, magic happens.
Most of the resistant starch we eat is gradually turned into a special type of fatty acid “that helps create a protective coating throughout your digestive tract,” notes Dr. C. Yale scientists found this coating makes it easier for your body to repair damage in the gut — a very good thing, even for folks who don’t have bothersome tummy trouble.
Turns out, stress and poor eating habits often leave our gut secretly and constantly inflamed. “Chronic inflammation causes a crisis inside us that throws off everything from metabolism and hormone regulation to immunity. It’s the root cause of many problems that leave us sick, rundown and prone to weight gain,” Dr. C says. “Resistant starch helps counteract all of it.”
As inflammation subsides, a cascade of good things happens, such as stronger resistance to colds and easing of age-related hormonal fluctuations. You also get an instant uptick in calorie burning, energy production, and brain function. No wonder a Purdue University study found just one generous serving of resistant starch-rich food a day boosts weight loss 340 percent!
Per University of Colorado research, fatty acids from one meal rich in resistant starch ignites fat burning, amping it by 25 percent for 24 hours. A few servings of resistant starch also stabilize blood sugar for days, slashing hunger and increasing insulin sensitivity by 98 percent (a hormonal shift that fights ab fat!)
And that’s not all: Resistant starch is nature’s power food for the bacteria in our digestive tract, fueling types that don’t respond to probiotic supplements.
According to probiotic expert Raphael Kellman, MD, author of The Microbiome Diet ($14.39, Amazon), “When we eat resistant starch, most of it becomes nourishment for bacteria that are key to good health and a healthy weight. These bacteria reduce inflammation, boost metabolism, improve insulin levels and regulate the calories we absorb from the food we eat. Resistant starch bolsters them, so you can lose even stubborn pounds.” To that end, Dr. C advises eating two servings of resistant-starch–rich foods daily. “A daily four- to eight-gram supplement will intensify benefits,” he adds.
Resistant Starch Diet Plan
Dr. C suggests you aim to get two servings of resistant starch-rich foods daily. Your best bet is beans; other top sources include not-too-ripe bananas and oats, plus cooked and cooled potatoes, rice and pasta (cooling develops the resistant starch; reheating is fine). Beyond that, simply build meals around protein, lots of veggies and a little good fat and fruit. To amp results, add an optional 4 to 8 grams of a resistant starch supplement. As always, get a doctor’s okay to try any new plan.
Resistant Starch Diet Sample Day
Breakfast — Pumpkin Spice Smoothie: Blitz 1 cup of water, 1 cup of ice, 1/2 banana, 4 tsp. of pea protein powder, 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree, 2 tsp. of resistant starch supplement, and a dash of pumpkin spice.
Lunch — Chicken and Chick Peas: Pour 2 Tbs. of dressing into a Mason jar; top with layers of chickpeas, cooked chicken, and your favorite veggies (like greens, carrots, cabbage, and tomatoes).
Snacks — Bowl of Comfort: Enjoy a bowl of any non-creamy soup with beans; if you’re still hungry, add a serving of fruit and nuts or whip up another smoothie using any fruit you like.
Dinner — Fish and Potatoes: Serve baked fish with sautéed greens and a serving of potatoes that you cook, cool, and toss with 1 to 2 Tbs. of olive oil vinaigrette.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.