Starches. Almost everybody loves them. Pasta, rice, bread, potatoes. Those are the foods that make us feel warm and happy – at least while we are eating them. Unfortunately, for those with high blood
sugar worries, those are the foods that can cause a lot of trouble. With their high glycemic indexes, a
meal heavy in mashed potatoes can send blood sugars soaring.
But wait. Not all starches may be bad for you, even if you are trying to keep your sugar at a normal level. Resistant starch is a form of fiber that is not digested and absorbed in the small intestine the way most starches are, but instead travels to the colon where it is fermented before passing from the body. This fermentation is the vast number of microbes in our guts digesting these starches for us causing several positive things to happen such as the development of a healthier gut, the place where many chemicals and hormones needed by our bodies are produced.
Another positive consequence from eating resistant starch is the production of short-chain fatty acids, and one specifically, butyric acid. While butyric acid seems to be beneficial in reducing inflammation in the gut and elsewhere, it may also be beneficial for those with type 1 diabetes. In a study done in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry (2002), the effects on those with type 1 diabetes caused both urine blood sugars and fasting blood
sugars to decrease with supplementation of butyric acid.
There is also quite a bit of interest in the use of resistant starch to increase insulin sensitivity, and
decrease blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes. In an article published in 2015 by Medicine
Journal, people without type 2 diabetes and people with type 2 diabetes were given resistant starch.
Overall the effect on both groups was a decrease in insulin resistance and a decrease in blood sugar
levels after eating.
Currently, resistant starch is still under study before being used as a widespread medical intervention, but all indication seems to show that for some, at least, it could be a useful tool in bringing a difficult health problem under control.