Eat This Carb and You Won't Gain Weight

Carbohydrates sound so innocent: mere starches, sugar and fiber that the body uses for energy. Yet health-conscious Americans despise them, designing entire diets just to cut them out.

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But out of the pile of cast-off carbs, there are some you should keep. New research around a certain kind of carb, called “resistant starch,” suggests that they could be a key way to help control weight.

When we eat refined carbohydrates, like white bread and cookies, our bodies absorb them very quickly, and the hormone insulin ushers them into our cells. Eat a lot of them, and the body will store most of those calories instead of burning them—which is why we gain weight on high-carb diets.

But that's not the case with resistant starches, so named because they resist digestion. These kinds of carbs bypass the small intestine (where most food is digested) and head to the large intestine (also known as the colon) to be metabolized. There, they're fermented and turned into short-chain fatty acids, which the body burns as energy. Resistant starches also serve as powerful prebiotics—food for intestinal bacteria in the colon.

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