Not only is breakfast an opportunity to recharge your batteries, it’s a chance to hit the right note for the day in terms of digestion. So you might want to think a little more carefully about what to put on your plate. It probably goes without saying that certain breakfast foods are not ideal when trying to avoid gas (like dairy products and pastries), but you may not realize that prioritizing a specific macronutrient can help you have a flat stomach all day to keep. More shocking? It happens to be a carbohydrate. Yes, you can ingest and eat your carbohydrates too – especially in the morning when your body needs to refuel. And that secret ingredient is – drum roll please –resistant starch.
“Not all carbohydrates are created equal,” says Cara Harbstreet, an RD who focuses on intuitive eating. “Resistant starch can provide health benefits similar to fiber – and feeling full and satisfied are two key components of healthy, sustainable eating habits.”
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Resistant starch is a special type of carbohydrate that, true to its name, resists digestion in the small intestine. Most carbohydrates break down into glucose (sugar), but resistant starch is special: the fibers ferment in the colon instead. That means it acts as a prebiotic to nourish any friendly gut bacteria – which explains why studies have shown that increased intake of resistant starch can lead to a healthier and more diverse microbiome.
“Resistant starch, like fiber, is harder to digest,” says Michelle Zive, RD and certified nutrition trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. “And like fiber, resistant starches fill us up and help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.”
Dramatic fluctuations in blood sugar can not only increase your appetite, but also trigger cravings for sugar and carbohydrates – and then excess glucose is stored in your blood as fat. Fortunately, resistant starch helps stabilize your blood sugar levels, which are key in your body’s weight maintenance and fat burning abilities. In fact, a 2015 animal study found that consuming more resistant starch resulted in fat reductions of up to 45%.
According to a study from 2004, the ingestion of resistant starch is associated with numerous positive metabolic changes: improved insulin sensitivity, increased feeling of satiety and reduced fat storage.
If you have been fascinated (and why not?) By these powerful weight loss benefits, try starting your day with some foods high in resistant starch.
Oatmeal is a breakfast food that is high in resistant starch – about 4 grams per 1/2 cup of oats. Note, however, that cooking your oats will remove some of the resistant starch, but allowing it to cool will increase the resistant starch content. So, For maximum benefit, consider making overnight oats by soaking them in yogurt, milk, or a non-dairy alternative. Cooked beans and legumes – especially white beans, lentils, and black beans – add a substantial dose of resistant starch, texture, and some filling fiber to scrambled eggs.
Bananas are another phenomenal choice, but keep in mind that much of the resistant starch is converted to sugar as it ripens, which means they’re best used in smoothies and yogurt parfaits when they’re on the green side. Bananas are also an excellent source of potassium that can help reduce the gas and bloating from salty meals. Harbstreet also notes that potatoes, especially when heated and cooled, are full of resistant starch. Who says you can’t have a small portion of air-fried breakfast potatoes with eggs?
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