Prebiotic carbohydrates – Healthy flatulence with a spoonful of fiber-rich potato starch – Foodlog

Will there be a breakthrough for the spoonful of potato starch? If the omens do not deceive, and the American trade paper FoodNavigator once again good feelsThen prebiotic carbs are the next diet craze. indigestible starch, resistant starch in English, that already sounds better.

But first the protein craze are exhausted, writes FoodNavigator. One macronutrient has to give way to another, as has happened before. Conscious consumers and sports enthusiasts who still have the idea that they have to supplement their protein needs with special bars, fortified desserts and soggy sports drinks, will soon realize that they don’t gain muscle from it. Top athletes and bodybuilders recover better after training with extra proteins, convalescent patients benefit from it, but the weekend warriors among us are just telling ourselves that it makes them a better person.

In the western world, especially for the affluent segment of the population that can afford a gym subscription, the average diet contains more than enough protein. Dairy, eggs, meat, fish, beans, vegetables, fruit, bread, washed down with water, are adequate for recreational athletes in every respect. The food industry is of course fine with a fad from the gym blowing over to the supermarket. Uselessness is neither a prohibition nor a moral hindrance to the food industry.

In FoodNavigator, an American dietitian, Kara Landau (who is not entirely objective with her own product line Uplift: Good Mood Food) predicts the new craze: “Consumers will start to embrace prebiotics.” But, she cautions, just saying “prebiotic” on a product’s label doesn’t mean it contains anything that has significant prebiotic benefits. ‘Prebiotics’ is becoming a great marketing slogan.

Not only Kara Landau sees a great future for indigestible starch. “The Time is Now,” writes the Global Prebiotic Association on the website. As a representative of the emerging prebiotics industry, GPA’s goals include “raising awareness and education about the benefits and scientific evidence of prebiotics”. The texts on the website express a high sense of urgency.

Since the gut flora has received the attention it deserves, the concepts of probiotics and prebiotics may not have become widely accepted, but they have nevertheless made their way into the vanguard vocabulary.


Now the attention for prebiotics in dietetics is not new, nor is their trendy use. Since the gut flora has received the attention it deserves, the concepts of probiotics and prebiotics may not have become widely accepted, but they have nevertheless entered the vocabulary of the vanguard.

Probiotics are products that contain live or freeze-dried (lactic acid) bacteria and are more hoped than proven to supplement missing bacteria in the gut. It can be effective after the use of antibiotics, against diarrhea. Probiotic preparations mainly cause expensive stools. (Details and nuances in this study).

Prebiotic are carbohydrates (=starch) that are not digested in the small intestine and further on are food for the bacteria in the large intestine. There they are converted into useful metabolites, especially the short-chain fatty acids that nourish and protect the intestinal wall. It also contributes to the regulation of glucose uptake.

Prebiotics include all kinds of fiber and other complex carbohydrates, but not all complex starches are prebiotic. Carbohydrates are chains of glucose molecules, the shape and size of the large ones, then called starch, vary endlessly and determine the chemical properties, including resistance to digestion in the small intestine.

There are five forms of resistant starch, RS, to separate. Type 1 is found in the fiber of grains, seeds and legumes. Type 2 is in raw potatoes and unripe bananas. Type 3 occurs in, for example, rice and potatoes when it cools down after cooking. Type 4 comes from the factory. Type 5 is bound to fat and therefore indigestible.

Most varieties are already in the daily diet and are fermented (or ‘fermented’) in the intestines. In the food industry, resistant starch is used in many processes, not necessarily for the purpose of adding prebiotics. There is debate among scientists about which resistant starches can be called fibres. For the sake of clarity, it is useful that all forms of resistant starch can be called fibres.

Most types of resistant starch are already in the daily diet and are fermented (or ‘fermented’) in the gut


The large-scale surrender to products with healthy carbohydrates by the ‘average’ consumer is still hindered by another macronutrient wishful thinking: low carb. the time that Everyone carbohydrates were bad and bakers had to fear for their shop windows is behind us, but the idea that carbohydrates should be avoided is perpetuated by the existence of cauliflower pizza bases and the publication of cookbooks such as the low carb bible. Carbohydrate avoidance is based on the proven misunderstanding that a low carbdiet works better than other diets for permanent weight loss.

If the scientific focus on carbohydrates has led to anything, it’s the realization that there are bad carbohydrate foods and good ones. The bad ones contain sugars and the starch variants that behave like sugar in the body, the ‘fast’ carbohydrates, which are rapidly broken down in the small intestine into glucose and immediately absorbed into the bloodstream under the influence of a splash of insulin that reacts in the pancreas is produced. That’s the so-called glycemic effect.

Those fast carbohydrates are refined products, especially milled white rice, finely ground and sifted grain flour and mashed potato. They have in common that during their manufacture they were stripped of what made them ‘slow’: the fibrous packaging that slows down the digestion process and ensures that the flow of glucose into the bloodstream, and thus the insulin supply, does not peak so much. The spikes and subsequent rapid declines of glucose and insulin are believed to be the cause of type 2 diabetes.

The current emphasis on high-fiber foods and the new trend towards resistant starch products are the result of concerns about the dominant Western diet, which is overly high in fast carbohydrates: all forms of sweets, snacks and fast foods and highly processed foods (UPFs). ). In short, all products from which the natural fiber-rich packaging has been removed. The idea is that this deficiency can be compensated with extra dietary fiber.

potato starch
Fat, Salt, Carbs, Sugar, UPF: The Range diet demons has a historical course in waves. It is a matter of timing, which seems to be mainly driven by marketing. But that is an other story.

That ‘spoon of potato starch’ from the first sentence needs an explanation. Honey potato starch at a maximum of 50 euro cents per package of 200 grams is well on its way life hack of 2013, or perhaps of this decade,” journalist Melchior Meijer wrote on his blog The Paleo Perspective. In an entertaining and flowery story, he sings about the blessings of taking a spoonful of potato starch three times a day with some cold water.

The blessings of those three spoons a day are not small, Meijer writes:

Honey potato starch (again, consumed raw and cold, as soon as you heat it it becomes glycemic and is no longer RS) stimulates certain bacteria in the gut to produce this short-chain fatty acid. Butyric acid in the colon is probably crucial for optimal health. At least part of the reported beneficial effects of potato starch can be attributed to this. A bird’s eye view of what butyric acid does:

  • It has anti-inflammatory properties (in the gut and systemically).
  • It regulates the differentiation and proliferation of the intestinal cells (anti-cancer).
  • It contributes to the electrolyte balance.
  • It keeps the tight junctions in the gut healthy and thus protects against ‘leaky gut’ (and thus against autoimmunity).
  • It improves gut motility (you go off like a heron in the morning, with a bit of bad luck before the coffee).
  • It regulates the immune system by stimulating the formation of T-regulatory cells.

And that is not all. Meijer cites American ‘paleo-gurus’ who mention “dropping blood pressure, loss of excess body weight, a better, more even mood, vivid, often ‘romantic’ dreams and a higher exercise tolerance”. According to paleo views, these are evolutionarily conserved traits. When we were hunter-gatherers, we ate raw tubers and other plant foods that were high in resistant starch.

bowel movements
Sixteen years before Melchior Meijer sang the praises of potato starch, on April 2, 1997, Marie-Louise Heijnen obtained her doctorate at the Agricultural University of Wageningen with the dissertation Physiological effects of consumption of resistant starch. The message in the WUR house magazine Resource the headline reads: ‘Indigestible starch promotes bowel movements, not health’.

Although Heijnen did indeed see a beneficial effect on glucose metabolism in her many experiments with humans and animals, she is not as enthusiastic as Meijer later on. Her conclusion:

The experiments in this thesis show that eating RS is not unfavorable for humans, but neither does it lead to major positive effects on health. I recommend further research into the effect of different types of RS on the risk of colon cancer and into the health significance of increased fermentation in the colon.

The perception of the health effects of resistant starch moves between these poles. That’s a lot of wiggle room for science, industry, marketing and personal testimonials. We can probably get ready for a hotly debated new diet craze when it comes.

Oh yes, both Meijer and Heijnen warn against flatulence after using RS.

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Prebiotic carbohydrates – Healthy flatulence with a spoonful of fiber-rich potato starch – Foodlog