Blood sugar levels in the body maybe affected the most by your diet. Following a healthy diet, rich in complex carbohydrates, vegetables, as well as fruits with low glycaemic index, is essential for people suffering from diabetes or pre-diabetes. It is crucial for diabetics to replace processed carbohydrates from junk foods with healthy carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Usually, it is advised that diabetics must avoid starch in their daily diets as it can lead to sudden spikes in levels of blood sugar. This is because simple starches are easily absorbed and digested and release glucose instantly in the blood. However, there is a type of starch that diabetics can benefit from - resistant starch.
Diabetes: What Is Resistant Starch?
Resistant starch is a type of starch that is not easily digested in the upper digestive tract and consequently a small part of it remains in the gut unchanged. This functions as sustenance for the bacteria in the large intestine, resulting in benefits for the body. It results in growth of helpful bacteria in the gut as well as leads to release of short chain fatty acids, which are essential for colon health. There are a number of different types of resistant starch as well. Some types can be consumed through dietary sources, while some others are synthetically manufactured via chemical processes. The main benefit of resistant starch comes from the fact that it is soluble and fermentable fibre.
Benefits Of Resistant Starch For Diabetics
Resistant starch is important for feeding the cells lining your colon. However, it is also said to have a number of powerful health benefits, including improving insulin sensitivity in diabetes patients. Here's how resistant starch can help diabetes patients:
1. Improves Glucose Metabolism
Meals with resistant starch in them have been said to reduce blood sugar spikes after the meal. Resistant starch has also been known to improve the body's responsiveness to the hormone insulin, which is responsible for metabolising sugars and keeping blood sugar levels under check. A 2010 study, published in the journal Diabetic Medicine, concluded that consuming resistant starch improved insulin sensitivity in metabolic syndrome patients.
2. Aides Weight Loss
Foods rich in resistant starch tend to be low in calories. Resistant starch has been shown to promote feelings of satiety or fullness, thus, keeping hunger pangs at bay and aiding weight loss by making them eat lesser calories. Losing weight can help diabetics manage the condition better as weight loss improves the body's ability to effectively respond to insulin.
Diabetes Diet: Foods Rich In Resistant Starch
Here are some of the foods that diabetics may add to their diet to improve their intake of resistant starch and the respective quantities of resistant starch in them*:
1. Raw banana and Banana flour: Contain 4.7gm and 42 gm resistant starch, respectively.
2. Oats and oatmeal: 17.6 gm and 0.5 gm respectively.
3. Lentils: 5 gm
4. Cooked White Beans: 7.4 gm
5. Cooked Pearl Barley (Jau): 3.2 gm
*Data according to Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2008; all quantities are specified for portions equivalent to 1 cup (approx. 227 gms).
Diabetics are advised to consult their nutritionist/dietitian before adding anything to their daily diet. Excessive consumption of resistant starch has also been known to cause flatulence.