Is Resistant Starch Good for the Gut?

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QUESTION: I have been hearing about resistant starch and that it is really good for our gut? What is it? And what does “good for the gut” mean?

ANSWER:  Resistant starch is a fibrous carbohydrate that bypasses or resists digestion in the small intestine. These starches are then fermented or digested by the gut microbiome or microorganisms like bacteria and yeast in the large intestine and colon. Because it is a favorite food of the microorganisms in the intestines, resistant starch is a prebiotic. Prebiotics are the foods that the bacteria of the large intestine and colon feed on or digest. Think of the microbiome like a garden; what you put into the garden influences what grows. When we feed the gut bacteria what they need, such as fiber, resistant starch, certain proteins, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, the gut bacteria in turn may provide us with many health benefits. Prebiotics and gut health are currently hot areas of research, as based on the average diet, we may not be getting enough resistant starch to reap prebiotic benefits(1). We may need to eat at least 7 grams of resistant starch daily to see benefits such as reduced constipation,lowered risk of colon cancer, and improved glucose response(1).. Carbohydrates, including resistant starch, break down into glucose (a simple sugar), beginning in the mouth and then again in the small intestine(2). Because resistant starch does not digest in the small intestine, it cannot raise glucose levels (blood sugar levels). However, this does not mean that foods containing resistant starch do not raise glucose or blood sugar, as these foods typically contain many different types of carbohydrates.Long term impacts may include more good bacteria and less unfavorable bacteria in the large intestine. A healthy gut environment with good bacteria can improve overall blood glucose control(2).

It is important to note that there are many types of resistant starch. These are classified by both structure and source of resistance(2). There may be several types of resistant starch in one single food. Therefore, no single food is a magic pill for health. Some foods that contain resistant starches include green plantains, beans, peas, lentils, whole grains such as oats and barley, and cooked rice. Resistant starch levels in these foods may fluctuate due to cooking methods or ripeness. For example, oats and plantains lose someresistant starch when cooked. Alternatively, cooked and then cooled rice will have a higher resistant starch content than rice that has not been cooked then cooled (2).

Many other high-fiber foods, including onion, garlic, blueberries, flax, and chia seeds, also act as prebiotics with health-promoting benefits. Additionally, eating a variety of fiber-containing, whole, plant-based foods helps to create a healthy gut or gut microbiome. To add more resistant starch and fiber to your diet,  use uncooked oats in your next oatmeal recipe. Forexample, overnight oats, which don’t require cooking, are high in fiber and resistant starch, are easy to make, and taste delicious! Give the recipes below a try and enjoy!

Cherry Pie Fridge Oats

1 Serving


  • 1/3 cup Old Fashioned or rolled Oats
  • 1/3 cup Almond milk, unsweetened or the dark chocolate
  • 1/2 cup Nonfat Chobani Greek Yogurt, plain or vanilla
  • 1 tsp chia seeds (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Frozen unsweetened cherries
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ Tablespoon almond butter (optional) +70cal


  1. Layer the uncooked oats first, then milk, chia seeds, honey, almond butter, Greek yogurt and cherries. Stir everything together. Cover and put in the fridge. Take out in the AM and eat.

Apple Pie Fridge Oats

1 serving


  • 1/3 cup Old Fashioned or rolled Oats
  • 1/3 cup Almond milk, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup Nonfat Chobani Greek Yogurt, plain or vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon raisins
  • Quarter of apple diced tiny
  • Pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg


Layers the uncooked oats, almond milk, chia seeds, honey, raisins, yogurt, cinnamon, apple and nutmeg in small container. Stir it all up, cover and pop in the fridge. Eat in the AM. ~300 calories

  1. DeMartino P., Cokburn DW. Resistant Starch: impact on the gut microbiome and health. Curr. Opin. Biotechnol. 2020; 61: 66-71.
  2. McKinney C. What is Resistant Starch? Accessed April 29th, 2024.