Swap Probiotics such as Yoghurt for Resistant Starch
Did you know that it may be pointless eating probiotics?
Our guts have about a 100 trillion bacteria and the number in a probiotic drink or food is so tiny in comparison that it would not really make any difference.
It’s a bit like emptying a cup of fresh water into the ocean and expecting it to change the salinity of the entire ocean. Add to that the fact that most of the probiotic may actually be destroyed by your stomach acid and there could be no benefit at all. In fact most commercial probiotics have a large amount of sugar in them so you may actually just be increasing the amount of sugar you are consuming on a daily basis, which is a bad idea!
Notice I said “may” a couple of times, The reason for this is that we are only just starting to understand how the bacteria in our stomach (our “microbiome”) interacts with our body but the science is compelling. For example, did you know that we have 10x more bacteria cells in our bodies than human cells. How amazing is that! So they obviously play a very important role in our health and some exciting research is being done to find out more.
Resistant (Starch) Is (Not) Futile
Sorry for the Star Trek quote there but I couldn’t resist it!
So rather than trying to alter the bacteria in our stomach by ingesting “good” bacteria there is another way to help the good guys increase in number whilst keeping the bad guys (such as e. Coli) at bay. It’s called RESISTANT STARCH!
Resistant starch is a form of starchy carbohydrate that does not get digested but passes through the small intestine and into the large intestine & colon. This then feeds the good bacteria helping it become larger in numbers and thereby pushing out the bad bacteria.
Where to Get Resistant Starch
The more palatable options are: cooked and cooled white potato, cooked and cooled white rice & powdered, “unmodified” potato starch (Bob’s Red Mill seems to be the best option but can be difficult to purchase in the UK). The reason the potato or rice has to be cooled is that it then goes through a process of “retrograding” which converts the starch into its resistant form. It takes up to 24 hours for this process to complete.
If you are going to try the unmodified potato starch then you can just mix it with a glass of water or add it to food just before eating, Just make sure you don’t heat it up too much or the resistant starch will get broken down and will be converted into glucose in the gut rather than passing through to the colon.
So next time you cook some potato or rice make extra and put it in the fridge, leave it for 24 hours and then eat it with your meals.
How Much Resistant Starch To Eat
Start slow! Try a little to start with as it will have a profound affect on your gut bacteria and you may start to feel some discomfort if you have too much too soon (we’re talking mega-gas here folks!).
Try just a teaspoon of unmodified potato starch or a tablespoon of cold potato/rice and see how you feel.
Let us know how you get on in the comments.
Want To Know More?
- PODCAST: In depth discussion and how to get started with RS
- Great video showing how resistant starch works in the body
- In depth post on Resistant Starch including a chart of foods