Resistant Startch: A New Buzz About Old Foods

Green Bananas are an excellent starch resistant food You may have heard or read about something called resistant starch and how it may help you lose weight. Not too long ago a well-known Japanese opera star went on television stating that she had lost 15 lbs eating a resistant starch-containing banana every morning. Since then, the “Morning Banana” diet took off as well as other variations of diets that make use of foods that contain resistant starches.  Let me tell you more about them.

Can Resistant Starch Help You Lose Weight?

Certain fruits and vegetables, some grains, etc, naturally contain resistant starch which your body cannot process completely. Researchers found that most of the carbohydrates from resistant starch containing foods become blocked and wind up passing out of your body unabsorbed.

In their path, resistant starches can also absorb saturated fats [Resistant starch consumption promotes lipid oxidation, Janine Higgins, Nutrition &Metabolism, 2008], and escort them out of your body as well. As a result, you take in fewer calories and your weight decreases. In addition, they can help improve your colon health as these foods are high in fiber content and can sweep impurities from your colon.

In order for resistant starches to work this way, they have to be eaten cold. Cooked resistant starches (pasta, rolled oats, high amylose corn, etc.) are broken down by heat during cooking.  If they become cold, they re-settle into a resistant starch again. As a result, you take in fewer overall fat and calories.

Foods that contain resistant starch include:  green bananas, potatoes, some grains and legumes (beans).  Researchers recommend 20 grams of resistant starch a day.

The following is a sample list of how much resistant starch is in specific foods:

  • Small green bananas – 4.7 grams
  • Navy beans – 9.8 grams/1/2 cup serving
  • Small potato – cooked/cooled, 3.2 grams
  • Lentils – 2.5 grams/1/2 cup serving
  • Barley – 1.6 grams/1/2 cup serving

Whole grain breads, flax and sunflower seeds also contain resistant starch but at lower levels.

Increase Your Resistant Starch Levels Easily

In the study mentioned above, researcher Higgins recommended replacing 5% of your carbohydrate intake with resistant starches.  If you add them to your diet here and there throughout your daily meals you will reach the recommended amount.

For example here are some easy to do meal suggestions:

Breakfast:  Green banana smoothie made with Greek yogurt, almond milk, protein powder. In addition, you might have ½ cup of rolled oats oatmeal for breakfast.

Lunch:  Have some chicken soup at lunch with a serving of lentils or navy beans added.

Dinner:  Add a baked potato (go easy on the butter and sour cream), or ½ cup serving of cooled pasta or brown rice, with a protein and vegetable source.


Resistant starch foods can be helpful in losing weight especially if you substitute them for other carbohydrates like cake, cookies, potato chips, etc.  However, you still need to watch the portions of resistant starch foods you are eating – especially if you have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes with insulin resistance.

Stick to not more than 20 grams of resistant starch per day, though, as the “more-is-better” principle doesn’t hold true here.  Past that level, resistant starch foods still become too many carbohydrates and can halt weight loss, or perhaps spur weight gain, especially if you have blood sugar issues.

While the “Morning Banana Diet” says no exercise is needed, I disagree.  Exercise not only helps you lose excess fat but also keeps every structure of your body working correctly. It also helps ensure that the food you eat will be turned into energy to fuel your active life rather than getting stored on your belly and hips.

Stay Well,
Mark Rosenberg, M.D.
Natural Health News

The Morning Banana Diet,

Resistant starch consumption promotes lipid oxidation,

Resistant Starch Fact Sheet,

Foods Containing Resistant Starch,

photo credit:


Mark Rosenberg, M.D.

Dr. Mark Rosenberg, MD is a Phlebologist in Boca Raton, FL. He is affiliated with Boca Raton Regional Hospital.

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