New Sources of Resistant Starch

Wheat, potatoes, legumes, even tapioca are being developed as sources of resistant starches, although with different characteristics – and often more fiber – than the original corn source.

By Frances Katz, Senior Technical Editor

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“Adding nutritional corn flours and corn meals to the Hi-Maize portfolio brings more options to food formulators who want to provide more nutritious, natural and wholesome convenience food products to consumers,” said Mike Klacik, senior director of nutrition for National Starch. “This is good news for consumers seeking to increase their daily fiber consumption in their favorite extruded or baked foods.”

Both the starches and the flour and meal can be used in a wide variety of foods, including breads, pasta or ready-to-eat breakfast cereals without changing the flavor of texture of foods.

Path of most resistance

National Starch Food Innovation (www.foodinnovation.com), Bridgewater, N.J., the folks who helped put resistant starch on the map, are now putting it on the World Wide Web. The company's web site www.resistantstarch.com is specifically designed to help nutrition professionals catch up and stay up-to-date on this remarkably healthy fiber. Anything you ever needed or wanted to know about resistant starch is now at your fingertips 24/7.

“Dieters like the benefits of fiber. ‘Whole grain’ alone doesn’t provide all of the benefits of fiber,” says Rhonda Witwer, National Starch’s manager of nutrition. Witwer expresses concern about the recent interest in glycemic index, preferring the phrase “glycemic load” or “glycemic response” of foods. (See “Glycemic Index: use with caution” and “G.I. Blues” at www.foodprocessing.com.)

Glycemic index alone doesn’t encourage fiber consumption, which offers the most (weight management) advantage. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend consuming 14g of fiber per 1,000 calories consumed. A typical adult male consuming 2,500 calories would require 35g of fiber daily, while a typical adult female consuming 2,000 calories would require 28g of fiber daily.

The entire daily recommended intake of dietary fiber could be consumed from Hi-maize without negative digestive side effects associated with other forms of fiber. Use of those amounts of fiber as resistant starch from Hi-maize flour or meal can be accommodated in a wide variety of foods, including bread, cereals and pastas.

Nearly 800 studies are published concerning resistant starches and various disease states, such as diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, metabolic syndrome and cancer. As these carbohydrate products are better understood, and as their role in digestion is elucidated, the multipurpose nature of these ingredients will be clearer.

The difference between resistant starch and fiber is currently partly a regulatory issue. More and more studies indicate both are helpful in metabolism and in affecting fat digestion, as well as reducing some aspects of diabetes.

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