Eating starches cold as a tool for weight loss

Starch or amylum is a polymeric carbohydrate consisting of a large number of glucose units joined by glycosidic bonds. This polysaccharide is produced by most green plants as energy storage. It is the most common carbohydrate in human diets and is contained in large amounts in staple foods like potatoeswheatmaize (corn), rice, and cassava. - Wikipedia

In western diets, it's typical to consume a lot of starchy foods hot, or at least that start hot and remain fairly warm throughout a meal. But if you're trying to control blood sugar, or loose weight, eating starchy foods at a hot temperature could be working against you. But if you take the time to cool them down, those foods can actually work in your favor.

Heat it up, Cool it down

Heat causes the glucose molecules in starch to break apart, and therefor become highly digestible. When this sugar hits your small intestine, it's easily absorbed into the bloodstream. If your cells don't have an immediate need for that sugar, it's converted into triglycerides and stored as fat.

But if cooked starches are allowed to cool, those glucose molecules bond together again and actually create a new structure through a process called retrogradation, creating what is known as resistant starch. 

The small intestine can not digest resistant starch, so it passes through to the large intestine, where the gut bugs of our microbiome can feast on it. In turn, the bacteria of our gut produce butyrate, a short chain fatty acid with multiple benefits for the gut and body

No this doesn't mean that you won't ingest any carbohydrate eating starchy foods cold, but you will ingest considerably less carbohydrate than had you eaten the food hot.

What to eat

Considering this, what are some ways you can consume cold starch, instead of hot?

When it comes to potatoes, cube and then boil or bake them (baking creates more resistant starch), then put them in the fridge to get cold. Use them as an ingredient in a green salad, or you can always make a healthy potato salad as well. 

You can do the same thing with sweet potato. Cooled sweet potato is delicious mixed with black beans into a salad. If the salad recipe says to eat when warm, break the rules and let it cool down before consuming! 

The same things goes for pasta (whether wheat or gluten free), rice, quinoa, and legumes. In fact, anytime you're willing to consume whole starchy foods that require cooking cold, you'll be doing yourself a favor. You'll absorb far less sugar into your bloodstream, and cultivate a happy gut garden. 

Here are a few more recipes to get you started:


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