Opinion

Evidence for benefits of resistant starch is growing

Professor Buttriss: ‘Resistant starch is naturally present in some foods’

Vegetables and starchy carbs, such as potatoes, bread, pasta, rice and other grains, are currently the main sources of dietary fibre, with some provided by fruit, nuts and pulses.

Together, these foods provide an average of just 18g per day for adults – well below the recommended 30g per day.

To meet the new fibre guideline, the Eatwell Guide depicts a diet where more than 75% of foods are plant-based, so more wholegrains, wholemeal products, pulses and vegetables will need to feature.

But are there other considerations?

Included in the definition of fibre is resistant starch (RS) – starch that passes through the small intestine intact.

Naturally present in some foods

RS is naturally present in some foods such as bananas, potatoes, grains, bread, pulses and seeds (known as RS1 & RS2).

It is formed when starchy foods such as potatoes and pasta are cooked then cooled (RS3). It is also produced or modified commercially (RS4 & RS5) and incorporated into some food products.

The benefits of RS for gut health, glucose metabolism and appetite control have been reviewed.

The strongest evidence, which supports an EU health claim, is for blood sugar response after a meal.

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