What Is Resistant Starch (And Should You Eat It)? - Save Our Bones

Although starchy foods have a reputation for being low in nutritional value, it’s important to note that not all starches are created equal.

While some starches are essentially just highly processed carbohydrates, resistant starch offers considerable benefits.

In this article, you’ll learn all about resistant starch, how to include it in your diet, and its role in your health.

Don’t Resist Resistant Starch

Starches are a form of carbohydrate composed of a chain of sugar molecules. Carbs are frequently maligned as empty calories, but many carbohydrate-rich foods provide essential vitamins, minerals, and nutrients. For example, whole grains and other fiber-rich carbohydrates are essential for good health.

Normal starches are broken down into sugar in your small intestine, allowing the body to quickly process them and use them as a rapid source of energy
Resistant starch, as its name implies, does not break down in the small intestine, allowing it to travel to the large intestine. That's why it is also classified as dietary fiber.

In the large intestine, resistant starch undergoes a fermentation process providing nourishment to healthy bacteria. Gut bacteria play an important role in overall health, and resistant starch helps maintain them.1


Starches are a carbohydrate composed of a chain of sugar molecules. Most starches break down into sugar in the small intestine. Resistant starches pass all the way into the large intestine, where they feed healthy gut bacteria in the colon.

Types Of Resistant Starch

Resistant starch (RS) can be categorized into five types:

  • RS1 is starch that sticks to the fibrous cell walls of plant foods, preventing digestion, common in legumes, seeds, and grains.
  • RS2 is present in raw foods with structures that resists digestion. Notably, unripe bananas contain more type two resistant starch than ripe bananas
  • RS3 develops when regular starchy foods are heated and then cooled. The structural change makes it resistant to digestion. This type includes cooked and cooled rice, potatoes, and pasta.
  • RS4 is resistant to digestion because it was processed or modified.
  • RS5 has bonded with a fat, which usually occurs in processed foods.

Types one, two, and three represent the naturally occurring and beneficial forms of resistant starch. You can add them to your diet through your choice of foods and preparation. Although types four and five are also resistant, their benefits don't outweigh the harm of the highly processed foods they are found in.


There are five types of resistant starch. The three desirable forms are found in plant foods, in some raw foods, developed when starchy foods are heated then cooled. Types four and five e result from f processing, and are found in less healthy foods.

Benefits Of Resistant Starch

The benefits of resistant starch stem from its ability to transit through the small intestine undigested, reaching the colon intact.

Once resistant starch reaches the large intestine, it breaks down through a fermentation process that feeds gut bacteria. Those beneficial bacteria play an important role in maintaining a gut health and a strong immune system. A significant portion of Those benefits can be attributed to a reduction in inflammation and a corresponding reduction in inflammatory bowel conditions.1

Through the fermentation process, resistant starches become short-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids are associated with metabolic benefits, such as improved glucose metabolism. A 2016 study showed improved insulin sensitivity in women who consumed 30 grams of resistant starch every day for four weeks. Improved insulin sensitivity can contribute to the prevention of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.2

Surprisingly, resistant starches can also help you make the most of your physical activity. A study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition found that participants who consumed resistant starch increased their endurance by ten percent.3

The ability to extend the duration of your workout leads to improved fitness levels and stronger bones. Physical activity directly stimulates the formation of new bone mass through the force exerted on your bones. Exercise is so essential for reversing and preventing osteoporosis that the Save Institute created SaveTrainer, an online workout platform. SaveTrainer makes customizable and enjoyable workouts available anytime, anywhere– led by professional trainers who deliver routines for every ability level.


The benefits of resistant starch include healthier gut bacteria, a stronger immune system, reduced inflammation in the colon, lower insulin sensitivity, and increased exercise endurance.

How To Get Resistant Starch

Resistant starch is available in many common foods. Sources of resistant starch include:

  • Plantains*
  • Barley*
  • Chickpeas*
  • Artichoke*
  • Rice
  • Potato
  • Yams*
  • Pumpernickel bread
  • Corn flakes
  • Puffed wheat cereals
  • Oats*
  • Muesli
  • Slightly under ripe bananas
  • White beans
  • Lentils*

* Foundation Food

The formation of resistant starch when normal starches are cooked and cooled provides an opportunity to increase the nutritional value of carbohydrates in your diet. A cold noodle dish or a classic potato salad are excellent examples of cooked then cooled starches.


See the above list for great sources of resistant starch. You can also cook then cool starches like pasta or potatoes to increase their resistant starch levels

What This Means To You

Your diet provides abundant opportunities to maximize your health. As you learn more about the benefits that different foods can offer, incorporate other ingredients and techniques into your cooking.

The Save Institute created Bone Appétit to make it easy for Savers to grow their culinary toolkit. Bone Appetit is full of bone-building recipes that are sure to become favorites.

Take control of your future by taking control of your diet. Cooking your own meals, allows you to fully apply your nutritional knowledge, ensuring you make healthy food choices. Eat your way to stronger bones and a long and independent future.


1 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8858409/

2 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26766961/

3 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8858409/

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Comments on this article are closed.

  1. Leslie

    Thank you for all these great articles Vivian. On the ‘resistant’ list, do you mean yams or sweet potatoes. I grew up with yams but hardly (if ever) find them here.

  2. Kristin

    Curious to know if the cooked then cooked benefit applies to leftovers that are reheated or does the reheating undo the benefit?

  3. Ethan

    Hi, My wife subcribes to your site. Can you contact me privately at my email. My accupucturist has developed a formula (all herbal) that works wonders for preserving bone density. Thank you

  4. Joan Connor

    Thank you Vivian,just to say have a lovely Christmas all the best for 20/24 & thank you for the last year it’s been a great help❤️

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re welcome, Joan! And best holiday wishes to you and yours!

  5. Darlene

    Thank you! Merry Christmas to you, Vivian!!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re welcome and Merry Christmas to you too, Darlene!

  6. Kathleen L

    Do you still get the benefits of resistant starch when reheating cooked and cooled potatoes and rice?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      Kathleen, reheating up to 140F (60C) doesn’t reduce nor destroy the resistant starch.

  7. Suzanne K

    Thank you! What does the asterisk mean next to some of the foods on the Resistant Starch list?

    • Maria D.

      Yes, I was wondering the very same thing? Looking for the explanation somewhere…..Or the underline?
      Thank you for your excellent research!

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      You’re welcome, Suzanne and Maria! The asterisk denotes a Foundation Food. We’ve added that information 😀

  8. Ita

    Thank you, Ita.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

      My pleasure, Ita!

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