Nutrition Scientists are keen to reduce high glucose in these carbs by integrating starch chemistry into nutrition.
Carbohydrates, although not an essential macronutrient, yet it is the most consumed and popular type of meal by millions all over the world, especially in low to middle-income countries. The carbs are potatoes, rice, wheat (in various forms), yam, cassava and grounded corn or millets.
To help regulate the spike in blood sugar level after eating carbs, nutritional scientists have found ways of integrating the science of starch into nutrition. And this is to lower the glucose content of carbs by turning them into the so-called resistant starch.
What Actually Is Resistant Starch?
Carbohydrates are macronutrients with long-chain glucose found in most rice, potatoes, yam, cassava, grounded corn, millet and wheat. Fortunately, not all of them are digested when eaten. The undigested residue then ferments in vivo (inside the large intestine) producing gut-friendly bacterium. The end products are methane, carbon, hydrogen, and short-chain fatty acids.
Some stay undigested in the stomach, that is resistant to digestion, hence the name resistance starch.
The problem with carbohydrates is that it can spike up blood sugar level immediately when eaten. That is, they give a high glycemic response. This is because carbs are broken down as simple sugars in the small intestine when digested, thus making the blood sugar level to rise. Of course, insulin is then released from the pancreas to normalise the blood sugar.
If the blood sugar goes back to normal, you find that you are back to the usual hunger pangs. One reason, people who eat plenty of carbs easily put on weight, and some end up with pot belly. Generally, eating plenty of carbs can cause weight gain for some people with low carb metabolism.
The researchers discovered that when these carb meals are cooked, cooled and then rewarmed before eating, they form resistance starch, which is higher in gut-friendly bacteria with a lower glycemic index as well as the calorie by about 12%.
The gut cannot digest resistance starch, which means it does not affect the blood sugar level.
They stay in the stomach, and undigested, and do not, therefore, got broken down into glucose. The leading researcher, Professor Sandhir James of College of Chemical Scientist, Colombo, Sri Lanka said, this is a promising result for high carbs eating people to help them combat obesity.
He further explained what makes people fat. The carbs, when broken down, is converted to glucose for energy. Any unused glucose is then stored in the liver and muscle as polysaccharide glycogen. This is easily converted back as energy when needed. However, any leftover glucose not stored as polysaccharide glycogen is stored as fat in the body. The real cause of obesity.
The Chemical Treatment In Cooking Carb To Resistance Starch
The carb, rice, for instance, is cooked in about two teaspoons of oil (olive and coconut oil is best) for between 20–40 minutes, and then divided into a portion to cool down for a minimum of twelve hours. You can then reheat to eat. This simple method increases the rice resistance to digestive enzymes, by up to ten times, hence fewer calories are absorbed into the body.
“The cooling is essential because amylose, the soluble part of the starch, leaves the granules during gelatinization,” explains James. “Cooling for 12 hours will lead to formation of hydrogen bonds between the amylose molecules outside the rice grains which also turns it into a resistant starch.” Reheating the rice for consumption, he notes, does not affect the RS (Resistance Starch) levels.
There is a plan for further research to bring down the calorie content by up to 60% in their quest to reduce world obesity.
Which Rice Is Better?
We have all heard that full-grain brown rice is better for our health than its polished white counterpart. In a way, this is true, as brown rice contains vitamins, minerals, fibre and anti-oxidants. All these have been stripped out during the polishing to white rice.
White rice is brown rice with bran and germ removed, leaving only the endosperm, which is nutritionally almost void part of the grain.
The bran is the outer skin of the edible kernel. It contains B vitamins, fibre and anti-oxidants. The endosperm is mainly carbs, with only traces of vitamins and minerals. The germ, however, is mainly B vitamins, healthy fats and some proteins.
However, the problem of full-grain brown rice is that it contains arsenic in its bran due to exposure to arsenic in the rice field. Eating white rice reduces the risk of arsenic consumption. Arsenic is toxic and could cause cancer. Brown rice contains phytate that inhibits the absorption of micronutrients.
Arsenic is found in nature, in plastics and most cleaning products, herbicides etc. It is plenty inside rice because of the way it is grown. And it is present in both white and Brown, although more in brown than white. But you can get rid of the arsenic by the following method, guarantee to remove arsenic by up to 60%:
- Soak rice for about three hours before cooking
- Wash thoroughly before cooking.
- Parboil rice with high volume water, and throw away the water, wash again to cook to perfection.
Alternatively, choose basmati rice which has a lower level of arsenic of all the rice available.
Overall, white rice can cause weight gain, including obesity and diabetic, because of its high glycemic index.
So what is the verdict here, it is always better to go for whole foods that have not undergone any processing. You get all that Nature provides for better health. Brown rice contains 43% more protein, 105% more fibre, and 425% more omega-3 fatty acid than white rice.
Overall Health Benefits Of Resistance Starch
- Insulin Sensitivity — is enhanced as it balances out the blood sugar level
2. Reduced Appetite — Resistance starch acts like fibre, which fills up your tummy.
3. Balances Blood Sugar Level — Resistance starch resists digestion, so does not convert to glucose.
Foods High In Resistance Starch
Oats — oats cooked and left overnight to eat the following morning is very high in resistant starch. Most people find oats difficult to eat when it has set.
Rice — as stated above should be left for a minimum of twelve hours. This simply means cooked the day’s rice the previous day.
Potato Starch flour — usually used as thickeners in food preparation.
Potatoes — cooked and left to cool for hours before reheating to eat.
Bananas And Plantain,(both green and yellow) — provides a high level of resistant starch when treated accordingly. Same as the flour from these.
Corn/Maize Flour — should be prepared the day before, and reheated when ready to eat.
It is therefore good to make some efforts to convert your carbs to resistant starch, at least once a week to positively enhance your health.