Can you turn 'bad' starch into good, resistant starch by cooking and cooling? That's what WFMY News 2 viewer Ludmila Phelps from Kernersville asked us to verify.
To find out whether this cooking method can really change the properties of starch, we reached out to registered dietitian Katie Jordanhazy with Novant Health.
First, she explained the difference in so-called bad starch versus resistant starch. The not-so-good kind is found in refined grains and refined pastas, like white rice, white pasta and potatoes. These starches get digested too quickly, so they don't have much health benefit. On the other hand, resistant starch is like soluble fiber. It's good for you.
"That's where they get the term resistant starch -- it resists digestion more like a whole grain, so it doesn't actually digest in the small intestine. It moves to the large intestine and produces gut bacteria and healthy pH balance in your colon and has good health benefits, as well," she said.
So, the answer is yes -- cooking and cooling starchy foods, like potatoes, can turn 'bad' starch into resistant starch, as long as the food cools down to room temperature.
"Basically, it changes the chemical structure, so that cooling process makes a little bit more fiber and helps it to produce whatever it does produce. It helps it pass through that small intestine," she said.
So, we verified Ludmila's question is true. Cooking and cooling starchy foods to room temperature converts some of the not-so-good starch into resistant starch. It doesn't matter how you cook -- pressure cooking, boiling and baking work fine, but research shows baked starchy foods contain the most resistant starch. It's best to eat the food cold, like in a potato salad, for example. It's fine to re-heat, but it will lose a little bit of that resistant starch you've created.