Monday, July 14, 2014

Diabetic Warrior on RS Part 1

My Personal N=1 Resistant Starch Experiment 

Two tablespoons of potato starch mixed with yogurt.
Two tablespoons of potato starch mixed with yogurt.
Given the nature of this N=1 Experiment, there will be at least a 2nd post and most likely a 3rd.
I would not be doing this post if it were not for the dogged determination of Richard Nikoley of . If you do not know who he is and what he has meant to me… please read this post, “Giving Credit to Richard Nikoley“.
N=1 is shorthand for an experiment with a ‘test subject’ of one. In other words, it’s a personal experiment or study.
We are all the outcomes of our own personal N=1 Experiments. :)
This is NOT a post about ‘safe starches‘, some believe that there are safe starches, foods like white potatoes, rice, sweet potatoes. All I know is, they have not been safe for me.
This post is NOT about those foods. I don’t eat them and I am not just surviving… BUT THRIVING! I definitely do not require them. There are no ‘safe starches’ for me…. I’ve tested safe starches (rice and potatoes) … and they ‘jacked’ my blood sugars up! Click here to read these posts, ” Date with the Devil” Day 1 and Day 2.
I also did the resetting of my body to burning glucose experiment as well… Click here to read this post, “Dear Pancreas You May Rest Now”.
This post is about ‘resistant starch’ (RS).
“Resistant Starch” or (RS), is that part of starches that is resistant to the body’s attempt to process it in the stomach and small intestine. Another way of looking at it? Resistant starch is ‘leftovers’ after starches pass through the stomach and small intestine.
Resistant Starch (RS) acts like and quacks like … fiber. I wish it had been named ‘resistant fiber’… so much confusion could be avoided. It’s also called a third fiber. You have soluble fiber, insoluble fiber and resistant starch.
Ok… buckle up, this could be a bumpy ride. :)

Resistant Starch – The Introduction

As mentioned above, I’ve tested ‘starches’ like potatoes and rice … they raise my blood sugar rapidly. For me, starches are no different than sugar regarding blood sugar issues and that’s why (being a diabetic) … I avoid them unless I am doing an experiment.

What is Resistant Starch?

From Wikipedia: “Resistant starch (RS) is starch and starch degradation products that escape from digestion in the small intestine of healthy individuals.[1] Resistant starch is considered the third type of dietary fiber, as it can deliver some of the benefits of insoluble fiber and some of the benefits of soluble fiber.”
Key points to pick up thus far?
1) Resistant Starch (RS) escapes digestion in the small intestine and is processed in the large intestine through fermentation via gut bacteria. Because of this ( I won’t get into all the science) you do not have all the negatives of starches such as high blood sugar spikes.
2) Resistant Starch (RS) is considered a 3rd type of dietary fiber.
If this is where the story ended… it would be a big ‘ho hum’. I am not concerned about fiber in general, I only consume a few water soluble fibrous vegetables a week typically….. but there is more to the story of RS.

Resistant Starch Benefits

In the Wikipedia link above there are studies supposedly showing that Resistant Starch is linked to or associated with or directly causes… .
1) Reduced Glycemic Response – translation … by consuming Resistant Starch (RS), it will over time help with glucose processing and blood sugar levels over all… which means all things being equal, lower blood sugar readings!
2) Increased Insulin Sensitivity – “One study found a 50% increase in insulin sensitivity ”
WHAT? are you kidding me??? Improved Glycemic Response AND Improved Insulin Sensitivity!?
… sounds too good to be true?
When I read 1 & 2 above … of course I just ‘had’ to experiment!!! There is more…
3) Increased Glycemic Health in offspring.
4) Increased satiety
5) Increases Lipid Oxidation – translation, it’s consumption helps your body burn more fat.
6) Improves Metabolism – study showed that RS prevented weight re-gain in a high fat diet.
There’s actually EVEN more reported benefits if you believe the Wikipedia article above …
In other words, if all the above is true… you would have to be an IDIOT not to experiment… so I did. :)

My Experiment

Richard Nikoley introduced me to ‘resistant starches’ in this post, “Prepare for the Resistant Starch Assimilation” last spring.
I assumed this was a subset of the ‘safe starch’ discussion that was running hot and heavy in the paleo world and it was … but with a twist. Thinking the post was ONLY about ‘safe starches’, I only skimmed the article… and did not pay close attention.
I became intrigued in the middle of September when I read this post, “Type 2 Diabetic Finds Amazing Results” and then this one… “Low Carber’s in Short Pants“.
In the posts above diabetics claimed to have eaten high carb, high starch meals and yet, their blood sugars had only risen modestly to moderately.
I have done a LOT of experimenting through the years… I enjoy them and this was a ‘no brainer’.

So here we are … my potato starch experiment.

I will be (and have been) consuming (4) Level Tablespoons of Potato Starch daily, for four weeks. That’s approximately 32-40 grams of starch daily (according to the label). Richard suggests using Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch, it can be ordered from Amazon.
It’s believed that two to four weeks is enough time for the resistant starch to positively affect my body’s ability to process glucose more efficiently and decrease my insulin resistance.
Finger’s crossed!! ;)
After four weeks, I will take daily readings of my overnight fasting blood sugars to see if I can determine an overall decline in my numbers. In this post, “30 Days Of BG Readings” I tested my Blood Sugars for 30 days so I will be able to easily compare the readings. According to most 83 mg/dl is considered average for non-diabetics, I really don’t expect to see much of a drop from that range. My guess is that my body will seek homeostasis (or equilibrium) right around 83… but we shall see. :)
Not only will I test overnight fasting blood sugars but I will also compare blood sugar readings after eating certain foods, to see if there is any improvement in directly consuming carbohydrates.
I’ll provide full details on the BG readings but in initial testings 1 TBS of Resistant Starch did not cause an increase when taken with water or coffee. If you want to experiment with potato starch, as with all new foods, start out with smaller amounts and work up. (Test, test, test… your experience may differ.)
That’s it! … almost. :)

In Closing

Just remember… this is NOT about ‘safe starches’!!! ;)
There is a lot more that needs to be discussed regarding Resistant Starches. This post was already getting long so I will go into more details about RS and my initial days of testing in my next post.
At the very least I can see resistant starch as a beneficial and inexpensive prebiotic ‘supplement’ for gut health … but it potentially offers much much more.
Special thanks to Richard Nikoley of for his dogged determination to drag many of us into at least testing the claims of resistant starch. :) Here is a ‘tag’ on, from here you can see all the posts Richard has written on “Resistant Starch“.
Until the next post … watch your blood sugars and question everything!!!

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