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Resistant Starch May Up Body's Ability to Respond to Blood Sugar Changes

Insulin resistance—the body’s reduced ability to respond to rises in blood sugar—can lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. But, according to a study published in Nutrition & Metabolism, resistant starch (an indigestible carbohydrate) may help women maintain their insulin sensitivity. The double-blind, randomized study included 40 non-diabetic women, aged 22 to 67, with body weights ranging from normal to obese. The study was performed in three, four-week segments with four-week washout periods in between, so that every woman could receive all of the treatments. During each segment, the women received either a daily cookie containing 30 grams of a high-amylose maize resistant starch (HAM-RS2), a daily cookie containing 15 grams of HAM-RS2, or a placebo. After each of the four-week segments, researchers measured the women’s insulin sensitivity using a glucose tolerance test and categorized the women as either insulin resistant or insulin sensitive. Researchers found that:

  • In women who were insulin-resistant at the beginning of the trial, insulin sensitivity increased about 16% more after treatment with the 30-gram resistant starch cookie than with the placebo.
  • In women who were insulin-sensitive at the beginning of the trial, the resistant starch had no effect on insulin sensitivity.

Insulin resistance can be reversible, and these findings suggest that foods containing resistant starch, such as beans, grains, green bananas, and potatoes—especially if they have been cooled at least once after cooking—may help. Other dietary changes, such as avoiding highly processed carbohydrates, sugary foods, and fried foods, and eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish could also make a difference. And don’t discount the power of exercise and weight loss: together, they may help manage or prevent insulin resistance.

Source: Nutrition & Metabolism

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