Carb lovers rejoice! There’s a way to reduce the kilojoule content of rice by up to 50% without changing its taste at all. Last year, Sri Lankan discovered that preparing rice with oil and letting it cool overnight greatly increased its amount of resistant starch (RS), a carbohydrate that has no caloric value because our bodies can't digest it. Scientists speculate the findings might also apply to pasta, potatoes oatmeal, and other high-carb foods, potentially using RS to decrease the calories of all without sacrificing taste.
What exactly is this wonder carb?
Credit RS's awesomeness to its bipolar nature as both a starch and a fibre. While RS has the chemical structure of starch, it also acts like a fibre, passing through to the colon without being digested. Our bodies can't convert RS into energy, so it has no kilojoules. It's found naturally in foods like lentils, black beans, kidney beans, green peas, oats, barley, green bananas, and certain strains of corn. Food manufacturers have also developed industrialised, chemical processes to convert normal starches, like wheat, into RS.
Can it really help me lose weight?
The science seems to suggest so. In several animal studies, RS-enriched diets slashed total body fat by anywhere from 8% to 45% - and those losses often came from visceral fat, the more dangerous type that surrounds internal organs. One notable study in people found that those who got about 5% of their daily carbs from RS increased lipid metabolism, or fat burn, by 20% to 25%. RS has also been shown to lower post-meal spikes of insulin, a hormone that spurs the body to store fat instead of burning it. Finally, several trials have discovered that eating RS leads to less hunger throughout the day, with some study participants eating up to 300 fewer calories daily after consuming RS.
How can I eat more RS?
The best way is probably to create the starch in your kitchen by transforming your highly digestible starches like pasta, rice, and potatoes into RS powerhouses. All you have to do is cook them and let them cool before serving, as the temperature change causes the some of the food's highly digestible starch to convert into RS. One important note: most research shows that low-and-slow cooking methods, like simmering or roasting, create more RS than fast and powerful methods like microwaving.
How much RS should I eat if I want to lose weight?
We asked the same question of David Feder, author of The Skinny Carbs Diet, a cookbook featuring RS-heavy recipes. In short, he recommends trying to consume at least 10 grams per day, an amount you can get from 1/2 cup chickpeas plus 1 cup cooked and cooled pasta, according to his book. CSIRO experts suggest eating up to 20 grams of RS daily, though many human trials testing the health effects of RS used doses around 40 or 50 grams per day. Most sources also recommend incorporating RS slowly to avoid digestive upsets like gas.
RELATED: 7 Easy Ways To Clean Up Your Diet