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Have you Heard of Resistant Starch?

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When you hear “starch”, most people think “foods to avoid”. Potatoes, rice, flour…. Is it too much carbohydrate?

Resistant starch is a type of carbohydrate (just like other forms of starch), but acts more like fiber. It resists digestion in the small intestine – where most carbohydrate digestion takes place. Instead, resistant starch, like other types of fiber, is digested in the large intestine by healthy bacteria lining your GI tract. Think of resistant starch as “food” for the healthy bacteria in your gut.

The bacteria produce healthful short-chain fatty acids that keep your intestinal cells healthy, decrease bowel inflammation and decrease bowel time. All of these benefits help to keep your intestines healthy and can help prevent colorectal cancer (one of the most preventable cancers).

Where is Resistant Starch Found?

Seeds, legumes (peas, lentils, beans), under-ripe (green) bananas, unprocessed whole grains, cooked and cooled potatoes, rice and pasta are all great sources. Resistant starch can also be made chemically to be used as a supplement or food additive.

Health Benefits of Resistant Starch

1. Did you know that bacteria cells in your gut (called your “gut flora”) outnumber the body’s cells 10 to 1? It makes sense to keep these microorganisms healthy! Resistant starch promotes the growth or healthy gut bacteria and decreases intestinal inflammation.

2. Resistant starch improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, which can help improve blood sugar control fro those at risk or diagnosed with Type II Diabetes.

3. Since resistant starch acts similarly to dietary fiber, it also provides a feeling of fullness to help control your appetite. There is some evidence that shows reduced calorie intake and improved weight loss with diets high in resistant starch. Resistant starch has fewer calories than regular starch (2 vs 4 calories/gram).

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