“I ate a doughnut and I liked it,

Music notes 3The taste of an easy sweet bit

I ate a doughnut and I liked it

I hope my body don’t mind it

It felt so wrong, It felt so right….”

Recently, I have been reading research about resistant starch, found primarily in grains and legumes, and its ability to help produce beneficial short chain fatty acids and grow the good bacteria in our gut. There are several types but the one the caught my attention is known as Type 3.

It occurs in starchy foods like potatoes, wheat and rice and is created when starches are cooked and then cooled. This is not just about whole grains as type 3 also occurs in refined grains like white flour and white rice, too. So do you realize what this means? It means doughnuts. Yes, that is where my mind went first… 

doughnutAnd after that, I could not stop thinking about having a doughnut until I had one. I must tell you, it is a sad day in doughnut world. A trip to 3 different doughnut stores found the most pathetic selection. Remember the days when you walked into a doughnut store and there was a wall of doughnuts behind the counter? No wonder so many people are cranky and depressed today – not enough doughnuts – I am not saying we should eat them but just knowing there was a wall of doughnuts somewhere made me happy. No more, unfortunately…

I just wanted plain doughnuts, which I found, so I could take them home, heat them up and coat them with organic sugar and cinnamon. That is just how my mind works – it is okay to have a doughnut as long as it is coated with sugar and cinnamon that’s organic, right?

Why did I heat them up? Well, I thought it was to make them taste fresher but apparently, it’s to increase the resistant starch. Isn’t that amazing? Researchers have found that when starch is cooled and then re-heated, the amount of type 3 resistant starch increases.

This explains an Italian tradition of cooking the pasta ahead of time and then re-heating it just before serving. Asian often do this with rice, too.  This is another piece of good news as it could save time when preparing meals with pasta (or rice). Now we have a good reason to cook it ahead of time. Just put a little olive oil on it to prevent it from sticking.

This also means that when New York Fries cooks your French fries ahead of time and then re-heats them for you, they are kindly helping you with your gut bacteria.

So clearly, I am ignoring all the other ingredients in doughnuts or fries that might make you want to avoid them like the type of fat used to cook them or whatever chemicals may be involved in making them. I just think it is interesting how we assume some things are all bad but maybe, just maybe, they have some benefits we do not know about.

And sometimes it is okay to just close your mind and eat something you want to eat and not worry about what it is.

And did the doughnuts (there were 2 of them) do it for me? Well, let’s just say they did not the taste like the doughnuts in my mind. Will I ever have the doughnut of my dreams? Someday, I will master the making of them but for now they are just a thought in my head that reminds me of a simpler time when eating was not so complicated.

What Is Resistant Starch?

It is a third type of fiber that has both soluble and insoluble properties. It is also a starch but it is a type that escapes digestion in the small intestines – hence the name resistant. There are four types:

Type 1: Found in grains, seeds and legumes

Type 2: Found in green bananas and raw potatoes

Type 3: Found in starchy foods that are cooked such as potatoes, wheat and rice and then cooled causes the starch to change to resistant starch in a process called retrogradation. According to Wikipedia, retrogradation is “a reaction that takes place in gelatinized starch when the amylose and amylopectin chains realign themselves, causing the liquid to gel”. I do not really know what that means except that it is good to cook and cool grains and potatoes to get this type of resistant starch. This includes refined starch.

Type 4: It is man-made via a chemical process and used in the food industry, So far I have not found studies that state this is beneficial. This does not it isn’t but it also do not mean it is.

There are many benefits for resistant starch. First, it increases the short chain fatty acid content in the colon which support the immune system and aids the health of the colon. It also reduces inflammation and the risk of colon cancer. And finally, it feeds the good bacteria and may bind with bad bacteria to force it to be excreted.

Resistant starch can also stabilize blood sugar in one meal plus the next one and increase the sensation of fullness so less food is eaten

One study showed that it improved insulin sensitivity after consuming 15-20 g for  4 weeks. Resistant starch only has 2 calories per gram. Not bad for a carbohydrate.

Resistant starch is found in foods with starch molecules such a grains, tubers, bananas legumes and nuts and seeds. Be sure to consume these foods daily to aid your overall gut health.


Studies on effect of multiple heating/cooling cycles on the resistant starch formation in cereals, legumes and tubers. Yadav BS1, Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2009;60 Suppl 4:258-72

Sources and intake of resistant starch in the Chinese diet.Chen L1 et al, Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2010;19(2):274-82. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2010;19(2):274-82.

Effect of retrograded rice on weight control, gut function, and lipid concentrations in rats, Ae Wha Ha et al, Nutr Res Pract. 2012 Feb; 6(1): 16–20.

Insulin-sensitizing effects of dietary resistant starch and effects on skeletal muscle and adipose tissue metabolism1,2,3 M Denise Robertson et al, 2005 American Society for Clinical Nutrition