Everything You Might Want to Know About the Potato

The best diet-and-health blog on the Web may be Stephan Guyenet’s Whole Health Source. Those who have read the footnotes of our book may have noticed that he’s our most cited blogger.

Stephan has done a series of posts on the potato, one of our “safe starches” and recommended foods. His latest and final installment has some neat information. His whole post deserves reading, but I want to highlight two points here.

Yes, Potatoes are a Safe Starch

Diseases like obesity and diabetes are primarily caused by toxic foods. Diabetes and obesity became common after vegetable oil and fructose consumption soared in the 1970s – not surprisingly, since omega-6 fats and sugar are extremely effective at inducing these diseases in laboratory animals.

Diabetes and obesity rates may serve as rough indicators of the toxicity of a people’s staple foods.

It is good to see, therefore, that potato-eating cultures have very low rates of diabetes and obesity. Here is Stephan’s graph comparing diabetes rates among the Aymara, an Andean potato-dependent tribe, and Americans:

Stephan notes that the Irish were considered a healthy and attractive people during the period when they obtained 87% of calories from the potato, and quotes Adam Smith’s remark that potatoes were “peculiarly suitable to the health of the human constitution.”

At this blog, we never disagree with Adam Smith.

Potatoes provide adequate protein

Stephan cites a curious study in which a Dr. M. Hindhede kept three men on a potatoes-and-margarine diet for a full year and required them to do increasingly arduous labor. After a year of this potato-and-fat diet, the men emerged well-muscled:

In his book, Dr. Hindhede shows a photograph of Mr. Madsen taken on December 21st, 1912, after he had lived for almost a year entirely on potatoes. This photograph shows a strong, solid, athletic-looking figure, all of whose muscles are well-developed, and without excess fat. …Hindhede had him examined by five physicians, including a diagnostician, a specialist in gastric and intestinal diseases, an X-ray specialist, and a blood specialist. They all pronounced him to be in a state of perfect health.

About 10% of the calories in potato are from protein, and since the margarine may have accounted for 50% of calories and was protein-free, the men’s protein intake was around 5% of calories. The experiment is consistent with our view that protein intake of 200 calories per day is sufficient to maintain excellent health and build muscle.


Visit Stephan’s blog for all the details about this excellent safe starch, including his concluding safety tips.

Leave a comment ?


  1. 2T = savory flatulence galore. It does not ever diminish. It may be the price of feeding the critters.

    • The gas issue is strange. In my SAD days, I would get really nasty gas (sharts) from things like eggs, cheese, kimchi, fruit, etc… When I switched to paleo, gas pretty much went away, but high fructose fruits would tear me up–pears especially. Now, since implementing a high RS diet, most things don’t effect me at all, but every now and then I will get several hours of loud, comedic toots that have no smell, just air.

      I really don’t know what’s going on, I have read that some bacteria give off hydrogen and other foul smelling gasses while others give off less noxious gasses. I don’t know what is considered good and what’s bad, but adding RS to my diet definitely made a change to my gut flora.

      I’d love to see a good, well thought out blog or article about gas and it’s implications.

      If you ever look at a vegan forum, the biggest problem they have is gas, too.

      • I’m convinced that combining 10g of inulin along with the RS is a cure for leaky gut and lipopolysaccharide-induced obesity (which seems like the majority). Throw in a some milk kefir at 2.5 trillion bacteria count per 250ml and shazam!

        At the least, inulin seems like a good challenge test for detecting whether one has SIBO or not.

        Galacto-oligosaccharides are also allegedly more powerful than inulin at half the dose: https://www.bimuno.com/about-us/bimuno-research-and-clinical-trials/

        • MG – how are you getting your inulin? I have been trying to eat more of the inulin foods (garlic, leek, dandelion leaves)but haven’t tried the superfoods yet–chickory root, jerusalem artichoke.

          I agree 100% that RS + Inulin or other good plant fibers will cure leaky gut and keep a good gut in top notch.

          When they (Paul included) talk about plant fiber and recommend 20-30g/day, it is just always ‘plant fiber’, this includes the soluble/non-soluble, fermentable, non-fermentable and RS. I think if you want to pin down a number, it should be about 20g of RS and 20g of other fermentable fibers, like inulin. I think one day someone really smart will figure out the ideal ratio, and when they do, I’ll bet it includes, RS, inulin, and other fermentable fiber.

          • I am using a powder from Swanson. It is surprisingly pure looking (white) unlike other fibers. I mix it with 2T of PS and 2T of apple fiber (not pectin) in my smoothie.

          • hi MachineGhost,

            i’ve never seen/noticed apple fiber in the shops before, so i just did a quick search on iherb to see if they stock it.

            Any reason you mentioned ‘not pectin’…?

          • Pectin is a vicious gelling agent. It would be too hard to work with in quantity for smoothies and does nothing for poop formation.

            The apple fiber is from NOW Foods and is 75% insoluble and 25% soluble.

          • “Pectin is a vicious gelling agent. It would be too hard to work with in quantity for smoothies”
            thx MachineGhost, that makes sense.

            I currently occasional use psyllium husk powder in shakes, but i need to bring my ‘fiber research’ up to date, & reinvestigate psyllium husk powder.

            who would have thought the subject of fiber is so interesting (at least to me at the moment).

            I think i need to look into this further, things like pectin, inulin, fos, gos…(& psyllium husk powder).

            Paul ‘likes’ Pectin (from fruit & vegetables) at the appropriate ‘dose’.

            Whereas i was just ready Roddy (quoting Peat) which reads,
            “The fructose content of pears is probably helpful, but you should watch for what effect it might be having on your intestine, from the pectin. Pectin tends to increase serotonin by irritating the intestine.” – Ray Peat

            “One of the factors promoting excess cortisol production is intestinal irritation, causing absorption of endotoxin and serotonin. Fermentable fibers (including pectins and fructooligosaccharides) support the formation of bacterial toxins, and can cause animals to become anxious and aggressive. Fed to horses, some types of fiber increase the amount of serotonin circulating in the blood. Grains, beans, and other seeds contain fermentable fibers that can promote intestinal irritation.” – Ray Peat

          • & i have also read this attributed to Peat,
            “I do not recommend apple juice or grapefruit juice. The former contains pectin which feeds bowel bacteria. The latter is too estrogenic” – Ray Peat.

            Funny, i think the statement that ‘pectin feeds bowel bacteria’ may be why Paul likes it, & for the generation of butyrate.
            Tho its probably a case of the dose makes the poison, ie. you don’t want to over-populate your gut with bacteria (over feed them).

          • Ray Peat is of the belief a sterile gut is best–that thinking is so backward it’s ridiculous! He even recommends taking antibiotics to kill them off completely, if I remember right.

            I would definietely not combine the PHD with Ray Peat/Danny Roddy, pick one or the other. My money is on PHD.

            Some thoughts off the top of my head on fiber: Fiber is classified as soluble or non-soluble (in water), but this distinction is meaningless. What we need to think about is fermentable vs. non-fermentable.

            We don’t need a lot of the non-fermentable type of fiber, these do nothing but bulk the feces and are thought to cause the irritation that Ray Peat and Paul Jaminet talk about. Non-fermentable fibers are cellulose,
            hemicellulose, lignans, and plant waxes.

            Fermentable fiber is what we are after, in a range of 20-50g/day. Paul J. recommends about 24g/day, based on the amount of fermentable fiber found in human breast milk. Fermentable fibers are called: beta-glucans, pectins, natural gums, inulins, oligosaccharides, resistant dextrins, and resistant starch.

            When you see the dietary fiber content on a nutrition label, most of that is cellulose and hemi-cellulose!

            Brocolli is a high fiber food, but almost all of the fiber is cellulose that acts as roughage and doesn’t ferment, meaning it is of no benefit to gut microbes.

            To naturally get enough fermentable fiber and RS, you will end up eating a lot of non-fermentable fiber. This isn’t a bad thing, per se, just don’t be lulled into a false sense of your fermentable fiber intake by reading the ‘dietary fiber’ contents on the food label.

          • thx tater,

            i don’t suppose you have a link handy, that has a (detailed) breakdown on psyllium husk powder.

            i will go digging for this info myself a bit later.

            all i know is it is supposed to be a “soluble fiber”.

          • Hello Tater,
            I would have been interested in your point of view : the chinese doc I go to, claims that white rice can cure leaky gut syndrom (?!). Firstable I thouht it was a joke, but he explained that the resistant starch in white rice and the non fructose content in it can be a good way to restore a peaceful mood in our cherished gut. I’ve told him about Potatoes and its RS content, especially when cold.
            He has no experience in potatoes,and he seems to prefer white rice. (cold, and short grain for its amylase content).

            Would you recommend white rice (and which variety?) as a staple carb source, maybe the only one (?) : firstable to restore gut health, and then, for weight loss goals ?

            Thanks for your answer !


          • July – Sounds interesting. Lots of people use rice as primary starch source and are very healthy. It’s probably our modern interpretation of rice that is it’s downfall (milled, polished, enriched, and fast-cooked). Did the doc have any recommendations on rice types and cooking methods? I’ve heard traditional rice prep involved soaking and rinsing.

          • He recommends to buy simple rice : white (non whole for sure !)not “pre-cooked”.and preferably short grain (he says those ones are full of “amylase” : the one that makes some “glue” when cold). The non fructose content is important for him. The cooking method he explained shortly is to rinse it a few times before cooking, then place it into the pot whith cold water and let it boil gently. Cover, and let boil gently about 30 min.Then open the pot and mix thoroughly. (I suppose this technique is more “ritual” one than a healthy process..?! Anyway, maybe there’s a link ! 😉

            The best way would be the “rice cooker”. “You cannot fail or spoil any grain with this kind of pot” he said.

            About the RS content.. ? And the weight loss goals ..? Your point , Tater ? (I mean,tt’s weird : GI of short grain is not the best one…)

          • I have been using glutinous and jasmine rice, both of which have very high GI’s–even higher than short-grain white rice. My thinking was that upon cooling, there would be more retrograde action and more RS.

            Rice is notoriously low in RS, especially when cooked and eaten hot. Not many studies have been done on the RS of cooled rice, but it seems to double.

            I think the low GI of other rice types isn’t due to a higher RS, but more the structure of the rice and the amylose/amylopectin content of the starch.

            Your doc is probably on to something with using short-grain white rice, cooked simply, and allowed to cool. I also think that is what Paul J recommends.

          • The best way would be the “rice cooker”. “You cannot fail or spoil any grain with this kind of pot” he said.

            The direct heat rice cookers will scorch and carmelize the bottom. Indirect heat rice cookers are not inexpensive.

            If you pre-rinse until non-cloudy and cook with a 6:1 ratio of water to rice and pour it off when done, it will reduce inorganic minerals like arsenic by about 30% according to Consumer Reports.

          • Onions have inulin right? When I eat lots of onions the gas I get is considerably worse smelling that the toots I get from the raw cassava starch.

        • Hi MachineGhost,
          That’s interesting. Could you expand a little on how one could use inulin to detect whether one has SIBO or not? Does someone with SIBO react differently to it compared to someone without SIBO?

          • From memory, inulin contains both short-chain and long-chain fructo-oligiosacchrides, which are metabolized in different sections of the intestine. Short-chain is metabolized at the beginning of the small intestine where it will react with potential SIBO (or fructose malabsorption in those genetically predisposed to it.) However, it seems that chicory-derived inulin is long-chain which would partner with the RS to influence SCFA in the colon.

            Here’s a good overview of inulin: http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/13/4/315.pdf

          • FOS is typically short-chain and those with SIBO avoid FOS for the obvious reasons.

          • Thanks MachineGhost,
            I’m looking into ways of treating leaky gut, but I guess if my leaky gut is caused by SIBO, the inulin might not be very helpful, it might even be risky.

        • I got a reply from Swanson about what the composition of their inulin is:

          We apologize for the delay in our response, and appreciate your patience. After speaking with one of our helpful Product Specialists, we can confirm that item # SWU520 is a naturally occurring FOS from chicory root. Even though it is a FOS, the best term from the table would be straight insulin. We generally use either a water or ethanol extraction method, and our suppliers do have to verify that all residues have been removed. We have no indication of any special separation procedures or enrichment being done, either.

          I can somewhat confirm the product must be majority short-chain and not long-chain as the gas is worse than even the PS. Interestingly, after stopping the FOS, I no longer get much gas from 2T of the PS.

          • Straight inulin would definitely be gas producing! I tried raw chicory root and raw jerusalem artichoke recently–holy ‘shart’ batman!

            Interestingly, I hardly ever get more than the normal 10-20 little, non-noxious, toots a day. I have been doing 2TBS of PS, dried plantains, green bananas, cold potatoes for about 30g of RS daily last couple weeks.

            I read an article from a gas specialist who said the normal fartage is 15-20 per day with an average of 17. More than 30 is worrisome. Most common causes of bad, smelly gas: fructose malabsorption, lactose intolerance, inulin intake

    • Hmmm when I gradually worked my way up to 2T I had 0 flatulence days as well as very unhappy flatulence days.

      I’m of the opinion that if you have smelly flatulence, something’s not right. If it’s odorless, perhaps it’s ok.

      I was getting bad side effects from going to 4T RPS, like very fluctuating flatulence and severely blocked sinuses. My guess is that when I had smelly flatulence I was also getting lots of LPS or other toxins and they somehow impacted my upper respiratory immunity.

      Right now I don’t supplement RPS any more, but I do get more veggies than before and I manage to digest them better than before.

  2. Another data point here. I tried the potato starch, starting at 1 TBS/day for a week, then 2 TBS/day for a week, up to 4 TBS/day. Gas increased as amounts of potato starch increased, to a moderate amount of gas at 4 TBS/day, not unmanageable if not exactly a desired feature.

    I don’t test my blood glucose (never had any problems with it), so can’t say whether that was affected by the potato starch.

    I was interested to try the potato starch due to reports by some of decreased insomnia and better bowel function. Unfortunately, I experienced no change with either, so have discontinued the potato starch. Ah well, at least it was an easy and inexpensive experiment.

    • My insomnia, or more accurately–2-3am wakefulness–comes and goes with carb consumption. If I have a day with under 100g of starchy carbs, I will jolt awake around 2am and lay there wide awake for a couple hours.

      Days when I eat about 1 pound of potato or rice I sleep like a baby. Potato starch itself never really seems to make a difference.

      • It sounds to me like a serotonin issue. Have you tried supplementing with 5-HTP or L-tryptophan at bedtime? L-tryptophan is pretty hard to get through the blood-brain barrier to boost serotonin (and melatonin) due to transport competition from the other amino acids. 5-HTP is a metabolite.

        • I would be interested to hear Paul’s current thoughts on supplementing with 5-HTP or L-tryptophan before bed to help sleep.

          I’m pretty sure Paul has said before that it’s not a good idea & reasons were given, tho i cannot find the comment/post now, it was a while back.

        • I haven’t tried any of those, and probably won’t. Seriously, if I eat enough rice or potato during the day, I sleep soundly all night. The problem of waking at night started about 6 months into low carb paleo and I lived with it for almost 2 years. All the paleo forums have numerous threads about ‘bi-phasic’ sleep as they have taken to calling it. I think it is simply that your liver runs out of glycogen and surges some cortisol or lactic acid that wakes you up.

          • Tater, do you exercise much? I’ve found that if I’m working out *HARD* every other day or so, I sleep like a rock regardless of anything else. “Body by Science” by Doug McGuff is a good book on the foundation of HIT strength training. I recommend it.

          • I work out 3-4 days a week, pushups, pullups, squats, sprints mostly. Best sleep ever for me is a good workout and plenty of starch those days. Too little starch and I sleep very bad. A big potato a day is about right, or two scoops of rice. On days I miss my starch, I am guaranteed to be awake in the middle of the night.

          • So, Tater, you also eat rice ? I’ve come to the conclusion you prefered potatoes as a paleo dieter.
            I used to believe that paleo ancestors didn’t use any rice, more white rice..Anyway,asian people seem to have a perfect type of diet and so I think they eat a kind of huge amount of rice…:)
            In my case, the amount of carbs per day is about 1Kg to 1.5 Kg starch (coming from potatoes,or bananas) per day.Less, makes me feel dizzy,tired, awaken three or four times per night.
            @ Tater, My question is : in your experience, could you tell white rice is a good/better/ way to consume the right amount of starch or would you consider white rice is not as good as potatoes to achieve our goals : health, weight loss, stable BG,gut health,etc…? Chinese medicine talks about white rice properties and say it’s a cleansing food..!! Could you agree this ? Thanks for your experienced answer and thanks to all of ours (Paul,maybe ?! ) that is interested in giving a point to that post.


          • I try to eat at least one potato every day. Usually they have baked potatoes on the salad bar where I work, on the days they don’t, I’ll have a big salad instead, and cook some potatoes for dinner.

            Also, about once a week, I make a rice cooker full of rice and put most of it in the fridge. Most nights, I’ll have a scoop of rice, either cold–wrapped in lettuce leaves or some other cold veggies–or hot, like with chicken livers or stir fry.

            Other than that, I have been eating some beans (long-soaked pintos), but mainly as just a side-dish or in salads.

            My only gripe against rice is what it says on the package: “Enriched with niacin, iron, and thiamin” If it was so great, why does it need enriching? Not all rice is enriched, I guess. I have some Calrose Rice that says ingredients: milled rice. But what does milling do to it, it must remove some good fiber and nutrients…

            I think potatoes are about as perfect as you can get, prtein, resistant starch, fiber, and starch. Right now, I’m all out of my homegrown potatoes from last year, new crop isn’t quite ready for new potatoes, and what’s in the store looks pitiful. I sometimes don’t trust store bought or even salad bar potatoes and rarely eat the skins unless I grow them myself.

          • Thanks Tater ! Your answer is very precise, and can help any of us in search of “example” of mixing and using food as a game you play with for an optimal health.It’s so great to hear about your “open minded” and those all combination :soaked legumes, cold rice (at night?) and so on…With Tater, no stress-food anymore !
            I noticed you didn’t mention the amount of carbs you allow for a day. Would you mind explaining a little bit more ..? And What do you think of mine for a long term “diet”…?Again, do you supplement with pills (like zinc,copper, iodine,etc…?)? Thanks,


          • July, you first have to figure out your maintenance calories for you weight and activity level. Then figure about 25% of your cals as carbs (30% if you are highly active). Potatoes are about 20% carbs by weight cooked. So for a 2000 cal diet – 500cals carbs so about 100grams carbs or 500grams potato. A round number is about 1 pound of cooked potatoes or 2 cups cooked white rice. That (2000 cals) is for a 150 lb man supposedly. So if you are much smaller I would guess maybe 3/4 pound potatoes or 1.5 cups rice?

          • After I lift weights once a week, I will definitely get insomina (frequent wakeup) for about 4-5 days until the muscle pain subsides, but I don’t chalk it up to insufficient carbs. Blunting cortisol with insulin spiking on non-workout days just isn’t the way to go. I get adverse effects from adaptogens or stress-relief herbs, so they’re of no help.

            At first, I thought maybe you weren’t eating enough carbs, but that one big potato at lunch and rice at dinner sounds like it’s enough. I have to eat a 1 lb of potatoes after peeling to get enough carbs in just one meal though (I eat 2 meals a day). Not easy.

            I tried mashed purple potatoes last night. Very, very pretty but I didn’t like the texture or aftertaste.

          • Hi Tater

            I appreciate all of your RS research and comments over the past months.

            Milled rice IS white rice. Of course it removes nutrients but it also removes toxins – that’s what makes it a safe starch. The US government mandates that rice grown here be fortified with iron, B1 and B3 to eliminate beri beri – it has nothing to do with whether it is great or not. Correct rice preparation, at least in Japan, stipulates both washing and soaking, which will remove most of the added vitamins. I buy expensive imported Japanese rice called Koshihikari – it’s not too hard to find in NYC – it tastes so much better than American rice.

          • I have absolutely no idea what my macro ratios are right now! I would suspect very close to 50-30-20 (F-C-P), and I have no idea how many calories, but I would suspect they are in the 2000-2500 range (I’m 48, 5’11, 175lbs).

            When I first started PHD, it was as simple as adding potatoes and rice–two foods I had shunned for years. My diet was already pretty-good-paleo, ie. no added sugar, no vegetable oils, no wheat, no flour of any kind, and most grains/legumes were out.

            I think the most important part of Paul’s ‘food apple’ pyramid is the shadow!

            When I first started, I tried to adhere to the one pound of starch, fruit/veg, and meat. That led to a bit faster weight gain than I was ready for, so I backed off a bit on any added fat and then just started eating to satisfaction rather than aiming for a poundage.

            Back in January, I weighed around 170-173, now I’m running 172-175, but also exercising a bit more and clothes are actually fitting better.

            I was reading a doctor’s comments on Mark’s Daily Apple forum the other day–he said something to the effect of: ‘you guys are wasting your time, just eat right and eliminate all signs of metabolic syndrome (high bp, high trigs, low hdl, fatty liver, prediabetes, etc…), your weight will stabilize.’

            I think Paul said that several times in the PHD, too.

            At this point, I have given up on rock hard abs and girls falling at my feet…just being happy being healthy.

    • insomnia/sleep; i’m the same Pat,
      p/starch had no effect on my sleep, whatever the timing or dose.

      i’m currently working on the theory that my ‘sleep maintenance’ issues are due to high cortisol throughout the night.

      i have a suspicion that my cortisol levels are not following a daily rhythm.
      Rather then following something like a sine-wave, mine is more of a flat line, at an appropriate level in the morning, but staying around that level all the time & never dropping off.

  3. Hi everyone, thanks for all the great information. It’s very useful information for me since I’m looking into ways to improve my gut health, which at the moment is not good. I will definitely try the raw PS.

    I was wondering though, does anyone know if onions, leeks, garlic, dandelion greens, jerusalem artichokes, chicory root, etc, have to be eaten raw in order to get the prebiotics?

    • Eric – From what I’ve read, it’s best to consume the veggies you listed in a variety of ways to unlock all their goodness. Some fiber is not accessible when raw, and some only when raw, so like cook some onions with liver and put some raw onions on a salad. Same for all the rest.

      I have an abundance of dandelions in my yard this year, I never have used any weedkiller, so I started making dandelion green salads this summer. One great way is to take a huge pile of leaves and toss them in a pan that you just fried two slices of bacon in. Let them sizzle a bit and stir, then pour a splash of vinegar over them and eat them with the bacon crumbled on top. I think this dish is known as ‘wilted greens’. Works with turnips, beet, or kale greens, too.

      Also, for gut health, don’t forget bone broth.

      • Thanks for your reply, tatertot. It makes sense to consume them all in a variety of ways. I just hope consuming them raw isn’t going to cause digestive problems (esp. the onions and garlic), but I’ll give it a shot.

  4. Tater, I’m similar to you – Age 50, 5’10 172lbs and cals in the 1800-2500 range depending if I’m exercising and/or doing 16/8 Intermittent fasting or not. I’m trying to now target a macro ratio of around C25/P35/F40 but I don’t weigh stuff or count calories so it’s all a big guestimation. 40-50% fat is really a lot. It’s like an entire stick of butter per day – or around 7 TBS of oil (ghee, tallow, lard, EVOO, etc). It’s also around 1 lbs of cooked potatoes (or 2 cups rice), and about 1.5 lbs of ground beef. For me, it’s a lot of food esp since usually only eat twice per day in an 8 hour window.

    Btw, ran across this interesting graph. As we all know, correlation =/= causation and there are lots of confounders, but it’s interesting non-the-less…



    • I agree that Ancel Keys was misguided and probably set a course of action that caused lots of the problems in the world today!

      Regarding fat/macros – I just don’t think it’s important enough to worry about. Your brain seems to guide you in protein consumption. Eat a couple big servings of starch a day. Eat lots of seasonal fruits and veggies. Eat whatever fat is in the meat you are eating and use dairy (butter, sour cream, etc…) and olive oil in sane amounts as cooking aids or toppings. I never go out of my way to eat extra fat, although I used to go through a jar of coconut oil a week in my early paleo days. rarely touch coconut oil now unless cooking eggs or something.

      I think shooting for a daily macro target is bad food management. It can lead you to eat something you wouldn’t normally eat, ‘just to get your macros right’.

      I think if you make food choices from paleo/PHD approved foods, over the course of a year, your macros will average out to 40-50% Fat, 20-30% Protein, and 20-30% Carbs. Trying to tweak that down to where each day is equal just adds stress. On days you exercise really hard, maybe eat more starch. On days you are presented with a big, fatty ribeye, gobble that fat! When raspberries are in season, eat them by the handful!

      • Tater, Do you think you get above 100g of fat per day without trying? As I said, 7 TBS of oil or a stick of butter per day seems like a lot.

        • Usually in a day, I have a can of sardines packed in olive oil (15g fat), 2-3TBS of sour cream (8g) 1-2TBS of butter (15g), some cheese (10g), some nuts (10g). That’s over 50g and doesn’t count any fat in the fish or meat I eat, which is very hard to quantify.

          I would have to say after looking at it, my daily fat intake is between 50-100g most days. Probably more on weekends when i usually have bacon and eggs for late breakfast/early lunch and we tend to grill steaks or chicken.

          I think the key, and a good goal, is: Are you gaining weight or experiencing metabolic syndrome markers (low hdl, high trigs, etc…) on your current plan? And: Do you have enough energy to workout and play like you want?

          • Tater, it sounds like you’re more focused on nutrient dense foods, which sounds good. Do you worry about, or pay any attention to the phytates in foods (nuts for example)? Also, since you changed from what I presume was a lower carb Paleo template to the PHD recommendations what has been the change in your body composition if any? Did you lose any lean-ness and gain BF or did you stay about the same – accounting for any changes in physical activity.

          • I’ve never given phytates any consideration other than the few things I’ve read on various blogs–I don’t think I eat enough nuts, chocolate, or whatever to cause problems.

            My biggest thing has been staying out of ‘the shadow’ (veg oil, sugar, grains, and legumes) although I have been experimenting and reading a bit about legumes lately and think they maybe belong in a different category than the other 3 items.

            Going from LC paleo to PHD was as simple as adding potatoes/rice. It’s been almost 7 months now and I can’t say anything miraculous has happened in terms of body comp, but I have kind of given up on thinking I will ever look like Mark Sisson. In the past 7 months, I’ve gained about 5 pounds, but when I was LC, I think I was actually a bit too lean. I was caught in the rut of trying to work out hard without enough fuel to recover properly. I am at 175lbs now, and think it is about a perfect weight for me. I had gotten down to 162, but that was after a 48 hour fast and some hardcore calorie restriction–not maintainable! I’m just looking now for long-term sustainability in eating and exercise that keeps me in the 170-180 range year round and all health markers (like chol, trigs, BG) in a healthy range.

            Remember, at one time I had gotten up to 250 pounds and was about as metabolically compromised as possible, I’m sure I was a year away from full-blown diabetes and headed to the cancer ward. My goal is to stay as far away from the stuff that got me there as possible(stress, poor sleep, alcohol, constant eating of SAD crap).

            I think a person could live a long, healthy life on LC, but it wasn’t working for me as my BG and sleep were suffering. Both nicely resolved simply by adding in some starch.

          • It’s funny because I found I have more energy for exercise when eating low carb. I could really tell the difference when I did a strength training session in a fasted state (with a strong coffee before hand). I could tap into my body fat. When I eat carbs in the morning it just makes me hungry later in the afternoon and does not help my workouts. I think it depends on one’s insulin and other hormone levels which works best for you. I am pretty well “fat adapted” as Sisson says and so eating too many carbs just throws me out of that. I think around 80-100 grams of carbs per day works pretty well for me. If I eat closer to 50grams or below I don’t get energy dips but I get muscle cramping particularly in my lower legs and feet. Could be from the carbs and/or tissue water loss that accompanies low carb eating.

          • Brad – I don’t know if you ever clicked this link, but it is a thesis written by a student comparing RS intakes of athletes from Costa Rica and Virginia. Lots of talk about the physiological benefits to adding RS to the diet when exercising. Potato Starch would be a good way to increase RS while staying LC, if that’s what you are into.

          • Tater, yeah, I’ve been taking raw cassava/tapioca starch for a while now. There is no potato starch where I live but lots of cassava starch.

        • I actually wrote a response to this a while back:

          The author of this article has made assumptions based on a few cherry-picked studies which didn’t show conclusive results and is jaded by the fact that the National Starch company, makers of Hi-Maize Resistant Corn Starch are behind many of the studies.

          One of the biggest hurdles we face getting acceptance for RS in the paleo diet is finding paleo foods that contain the amounts of RS used in the studies. National Starch would have us believe the only way to get enough RS is to eat grain-based foods fortified with their product. We know different! It’s time to get the word out.

          Based on reading hundreds of studies and technical papers on the subject of RS, I believe it is important to get between 15 and 40g/day. This is the amount shown hundreds of times to increase bifido- and other beneficial strains of gut microbes and decrease entero- and other harmful gut microbes. These changes can take place in days with 15-40g/day. If anyone is downplaying the role of gut microbes in general health, they are sadly out-of-touch with reality!

          The prebiotic effect of RS must be spread throughout the paleo world! Study after study show that the RS found in natural foods have a protective effect on probiotic bacteria. The RS actually engulfs the probiotic microbes and protects them as they travel through the digestive system. Most probiotics we take in yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, or kimchi, etc… are destroyed in the stomach and small intestine, never making it to the large intestine where they do their magic. RS is a game changer in that regard.

          Getting 15-40g/day of RS from paleo foods is tough. One would have to eat about 5 cooked and cooled potatoes, 3-4 green bananas, or 15 cups of cold rice. However, I have come up with a plan that can net the required amount easily.

          Following PHD guidelines, the 1/2 to 1 pound of safe starch I eat every day is prepared in a variety of ways. When preparing potatoes, I eat a slice or two raw. I eat some cooked, some cooled. Green bananas are a staple in my house. I make dried plantain chips which are very RS laden. Eating this way, gives me about 5-10g of RS per day. To make up the difference, I use raw potato starch and green banana flour. RPS contains almost 8g per TBS and green banana flour 5g per TBS. 2-4 TBS of either of these safe starches in a smoothie give all the RS one could ever want!

          I’ve been getting 15-40g of RS for almost 6 months now and can anecdotally report that my FBG has lowered by 20 points, my LDL has gone down 20 points, HDL risen 10 points, satiety is through the roof, weight is rock-steady, and digestion is perfect.

          Want an RS smoothie recipe? 1TBS green banana flour, 2TBS potato starch, 2 egg yolks, 1 cup kefir or milk (or coconut milk or coffee), 1 TBS cocoa powder, 1/2 cup frozen blue berries, 1 green banana. Blend well and enjoy. Provides over 20g of RS.

          I have been following the RS rabbit hole for a long time and have read more than probably any non-scientists has ever read on the subject. To discount the value of RS with the wave of a hand because National Starch is behind many of the studies is doing a huge disservice to the general public and paleo in particular. Lets do so real reporting on RS and get the anectdotal evidence piling up!

          • Thanks,

            “FBG has lowered by 20 points,”
            would that mean it works by points or by percent or gets it to right place?

          • I hope it means it just gets it to the right place. I have been troubled with high FBG for a long time, it’s finally normal now. Used to range 110-130, now 85-95.

          • In your reading, have you found that the positive health effects of the RS depends on the pre-existing probiotics in the gut as is the case with inulin?

            I had wondered if RS would help probiotic transport to the colon so its great that you confirm that! Stomach acid kills 99% of ingested probiotics. This isn’t a problem with super dense probiotic sources like kefir, but it puts non-protected supplements or lesser fermented foods into perspective. One company uses xanthum gum to encapsulate the probiotics in the capsule so it survives into the colon.

          • Tater, do you know or care about the phytates in cocoa powder? I’ve wondered about that and often use cinnamon in place of cocoa. It’s hard to find out if the process of making cocoa with or without the “dutch” process reduces the phytic acid.

          • Machine Ghost – I think almost everyone has the right gut microbes already, just in the wrong proportions. Adding in daily RS/Fermentable Fiber just sets the stage so they can flourish and get to naturally healthy proportions. Some studies that are looking at specific microbes indicate that if they aren’t there to begin with, all the RS in the world won’t put them there. Kind of makes sense, but it’s one of those things that just ‘is what it is’. Nobody has really come up with a good definition of the perfect mix of microbes, but a sure way to knock them out of balance is to eat loads of greasy, sugary grains and hardly any vegetables.

            Here’s a study where they were looking at changes in gut microbe populations between RS2 and RS4 intake, kind of fun to read through: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0015046

          • As for “dutched” cocoa, I find it much yummier and a more pleasing dark color. Of course, I only have one source of dutched cocoa so I don’t know for sure it’s only because of the dutching.

  5. so the ? is, if it works with pepole with higher #
    some will not think 130 is high, mabe fasting 130 is high. what does a FBG 130 have after eating ?

    • This topic gets really deep. Resistant starch and other fermentable fibers have very well-studied effect on insulin sensitivity and glucose regulation. In one study, the researchers found that women were less prone to these effects, but there may have been confounders with the women subjects: http://jn.nutrition.org/content/142/4/717.long But in most research, the effects are the same for everyone. The mechanisms involved are complex and not well understood, but they are collectively known as ‘second-meal effect’ http://images.abbottnutrition.com/ANHI/MEDIA/Second%20Meal%20Effect%20Review%20and%20Citation%20Table.pdf It is also surmised that RS delays gastric emptying which in turn delays the amount of glucose absorbed leading to a lessened spike in glucose giving insulin more time to do it’s job.

      I think for people with metabolic syndrome or impaired insulin sensitivity, the name of the game is managing glucose spikes. RS does a great job of that!

      Later this week, there will be a really good blog on Free the Animal on just this very topic. Another reader and I did a series of experiments with potato starch added to a potato meal and checked our BG at 15 minute intervals afterwards and plotted the results. You will see a definite blunting of post-prandial blood sugar in the graphs! I’ll post a link when it’s up.

      For people with no glucose/insulin issues, RS isn’t going to give you hypoglycemia or anything like that.

      • Hi Tarter

        when is the best time to take the RPS before mid or after eating?

        Where is your post?

        • Timing makes no difference from what I can tell.

          If you read Free The Animal, you can probably see what the delay is…soon, I hope

          • Actually, in thinking about your question, for glucose control it seems that taking RPS with a meal, and up to 4 hours prior, have the biggest impact on post-prandials. But I think for general insulin sensitivity and to see lower hbA1C, anytime is fine.

          • Is that becouse the second meal effect?

            I think Paul would let u post here.

          • 2nd Meal Effect, yes. It really works. Not sure how much difference it makes in the grand scheme of things, but worth looking at if you are glucose challenged.

            When we get the post up on FTA you’ll see why I can’t do it here! Lots of graphs and charts, but basically, a couple of us ate different levels of carbs/ketogenic diets and then ate potato starch at different times and we tracked our BG at 15 min intervals. Interesting graph trends obtained. Nothing earth-shattering, but definietely showed us that 2nd meal effect and normal diet play a big role in glucose regulation. I also put together a massive list of RS contents in foods, hope to get it out there soon!

      • You wrote “I think for people with metabolic syndrome or impaired insulin sensitivity, the name of the game is managing glucose spikes. RS does a great job of that! ” where do you see that in that post?

  6. hey, guys – don’t know if anybody is keeping up with our resistant starch articles on Free The Animal, but here is the latest one:


    The next one will be even better!

    • Hi Tatertot. I have a couple questions about potatoes.

      Your research on potato starch as a resistant starch is fascinating – you’ll find that many IBD patients on healingwell (support group) are trying to incorporate resistant starches to their diets because the research has shown that it mediates good and bad gut flora.

      From my N=1 experience, raw potato starch will cause severe gastrointestinal issues because I have a damaged intestinal lining. However, when I cook it and cool it, it seems to firm up my stools and this is because of the “retrograde” effect. My question are the following. Does retrograding have similar benefits to eating it raw?


      • Thanks for that, Jonas. What is a ‘damaged intestinal lining’? Small or large intestine? Both? Any idea how it got damaged?

        I’m always looking for reasons to NOT do the potato starch as a supplement, many people seem to believe that SIBO/IBD is a reason to not take RS, but I believe it is a reason TO get more RS.

        • Hi Tatertot – thanks for replying.

          I forgot to mention that I have ulcerative colitis, so I have issues with many foods – particularly those that will go undisgested in the colon like FODMAPS and certain raw starches. I’m using the PHD to fix my leaky gut and resistant starches are the final piece to my puzzle – both metabolically and from the gut bacteria aspect.

          I notice that I can’t handle something like onions by itself but when I combine and cook it with potato starch, it goes down pretty well and my colon can handle it. This is interesting because it allows me to eat foods that I wouldn’t dare eating – even spinach will digest just fine with cooked potato starch. Chris Kresser mentioned something similar to this: “Taking a little bit of things like inulin and galactooligosaccharides, if they start at a low enough dose and build up slowly, can significantly increase the gut flora, which then paradoxically can make them less sensitive to FODMAPs over time.”

          Because I just started, I think it will take time for my gut bacteria to change and then eventually heal, if possible.

          I tried doing raw potato starch and it caused bleeding and cramping so I have to make do with cooked and cooled potato starch, which works well enough. I want to eventually add in raw potato starch and it would be a fine test to determine if my colon heals properly or not.

          I think you mentioned this somewhere but do you find out which bacteria strains benefit from potato starch? Bifidobacterium? Do you see any downsides to it in your research from the gut bacteria aspect? Would eating too much cause an overgrowth of it? Everything in moderation I suppose.


          • Jonas – I went to the Healingwell Support Group, but it looks like the RS for UC thread went cold. Shame no one was trying raw potato starch, were you in that thread? I wonder what is causing you so much trouble with raw potato starch? Are the problems in your small intestine, do you believe?

            I have never seen a downside–yours is the first, so I’m taking it very seriously. As far as an upper dose, 40-50g seems to be the amount anyone can handle. Above that amount and it is just excreted in feces. I think 20-40g per day, all at once or in two doses is optimal for flooding the large intestine with butyrate and enabling beneficial microbe growth. Cooked and cooled starch will provide some RS, probably 1g per TBS vs 8g with the raw stuff.

            I’m going to cut and paste some stuff I wrote other places here, so bear with me. Hope it helps!

            If you have questions on any of this, feel free to ask for clarifications or studies.

            RS has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to:

            – Selectively feed beneficial bacteria–especially bifido!

            – Cleanse the small intestine of certain pathogenic bacteria and out-of-place beneficial bacteria

            – Create a healthier large intestine through tightening of junctions, feeding of colonocytes, butyrate production, and forming biofilms impenetrable by pathogens

            When I first came across the notion of potato starch as an RS supplement, it was because of this pig study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17936196 Prior to reading this, RS just meant ‘cold potato salad’.

            From the link:

            “RPS (raw potato starch)-fed pigs had reduced apoptosis in the crypts, lamina propria and lymphoid nodules in the colon, and ileal Peyer’s patches. Fermentation of RPS reduced indices associated with damage to epithelial cells, such as crypt cell proliferation and magnesium excretion, whereas mucin sulfuration was increased, which promotes epithelial protection. The numbers of intraepithelial T cells and of blood leukocytes, neutrophils, and lymphocytes, mainly T-helper lymphocytes, were reduced in RPS pigs.

            CONCLUSION: Long-term intake of RPS induces pronounced changes in the colonic environment, reduces damage to colonocytes, and improves mucosal integrity, reducing colonic and systemic immune reactivity, for which health benefits in inflammatory conditions are likely to be associated.”

            The great thing about potato starch (and RS in general) is that it’s a tool for better gut health. When you start taking it, you can see almost immediate results in improved bowel movements–even if you thought you were fine to start with. You will also notice some changes in your flatulence habits. Infrequent noxious gas is usually replaced with more frequent non-odorous gas. If ingestion of RS causes problems–you are probably in need of some beneficial microbe diversity. But, the takeway here is that when taking RS you SHOULD see some changes to bowel habits…if you saw nothing, you would know this is all hogwash.

            Along with the easily observable changes to bowel patterns, other things are happening as well:

            Almost as immediate are the changes in BG regulation if you look for such things. Many report better sleep right away. A bit more digging should show changes for the better in trigs and cholesterol. The hidden benefits are hard to see, but they are there: better gut microbes mean improved uptake of vitamins and minerals as well as increased production of gut-made vitamins (k2 for one) and neurotransmitters (like serotonin) and chelation/elimination of heavy metals.

            If your main focus is BG control, weight control, or GERD, and you get that with your current diet–you may still be missing a big piece of the health mystery. Intestinal microflora plays a pivotal role in almost every system of our metabolism and even brain function. To starve the microflora of your gut just to meet a BG parameter, calorie target, or get relief from heartburn may be doing more harm than good in the long run.

            Resistant Starch is an amazing thing. Both pathogenic and beneficial gut microbes are attracted to it, but only the beneficial microbes can digest it. It is very slow to be digested, therefore, anything that adheres to an RS granule in the small intestine gets flushed to the large intestine before it can be digested slowly by bacteria which can digest RS (almost exclusively the bifido and lacto bacterias). It seems like this would be a good thing, even a cure for, SIBO.

            They have been using this phenomenon it for years to clear up cholera, and are just recently beginning to understand how it works.

            See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1183348/

            “We hypothesize that during diarrhea, positive effects such as SCFA formation, attributed to the regular consumption of resistant starch, disappear. These well-documented effects are intimately linked to the natural microflora of the gut, which is washed out during the severe fluid loss. Thus, beneficial effects from starch, when incorporated into Oral Rehydration Solutions, are either related to its physical properties and its interaction with the human body or due to the diarrhea-causing-agent interactions with the starch. As starch incorporation seems to be beneficial in a manner related to the causative agent, we claim that the latter prevails. When no interaction exists between the causative agent and the starch, starch incorporation into ORS has no significant effect. In contrast, V. cholerae interacts with starch, resulting in a marked effect on the ORT. In accordance with our findings, we suggest that adhesion to the starch granules might compete with sites in the lumen during colonization. We suggest a model where V. cholerae adheres to the ungelatinized starch granules, which are practically indigestible in the intestine and are secreted from the intestine. It is therefore possible that in this way that the adhering V. cholerae is removed from the intestine…”

        • Tatertot, thanks for the compendium below. I’ve been reading the rs stuff here and on fta, but I missed some of those gems. Very interesting about Cholera.

          • D-Mannose [powder] has a similar effect in the urinary tract.

          • Just found this today!

            A new study from July 2013 that pretty much sums up why we need RS: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3742201/
            Basically it says that on the SAD, colonocytes feed off glucose and become time-bombs waiting to explode. RS and it’s butyrate cause these high-risk cells to commit hari-kari.

            “This hypothesis clearly explains the “butyrate paradox” phenomenon which has been observed for many years. In normal healthy large intestine, butyrate is a preferred energy source. However, in the shortage of butyrate, attributed partly by “Western diet”, glucose is substituted as the energy source for survival of these colonocytes. As they evolve to adapt to the new conditions, genetic manipulations are initiated with subsequent loss of function of critical genes and eventual loss of ability to undergo programmed cell death. These cells may therefore be considered as “normal” so that if the initial or healthy environment has been re-introduced, for example, by the presence of higher concentrations of butyrate, they will not be able to adapt rapidly due to their altered genetic make-up. Hence, they will undergo butyrate-induced apoptosis, as seen in many in vitro and animal studies.”

        • Tatertot – Thanks for posting that lengthy reply.

          1) Because the villi in my distal colon are damaged, most foods that go undigested, such as raw potato starch, will wreck havoc and cause cramping/pain. This is an abnormal response because I have UC and like you said, I need more gut microdiversity. In a normal person, they should gradually be able to handle it, albeit with some flatulence at the start.

          2) For the reason above, I’m trying to GAPS protocol to heal the wounds in my colon. Do you think it’s initially better to eliminate potato starches to promote some healing (I put emphasis on stocks, organ meats, etc) and then add in potato starch gradually?

          If you have an email address, I’d love to talk more in depth. I don’t want to derail the discussion.


          • Sure, you can email me at akman2012 (at)live.com, I may have some pdf files I could send you on UC and RS.

            How much potato starch were you using when it caused problems? Potato starch is notorious for being quickly fermented in the proximal colon, up to about 8g (1TBS), but I can see that if your gut is totally wrecked microbe-wise you’d have troubles at any amount. I think Paul has some good stuff on this blog for rebuilding gut flora, and Dr BG at http://www.drbganimalpharm.blogspot.com/ does, too.

  7. They discovered a previously undetected bacteria in our guts. It’s more prevalent in herbivores and people that eat a lot of plants, and helps to ferment fiber.

    New bacteria found in human gut:

    The researchers also believe that Melainabacteria facilitate fermentation in the gut, probably to break down plant fibers, which produces hydrogen gas as a byproduct. But when hydrogen accumulates, it stops the fermentation process. The new bug is likely to rely on a partner microbe that processes hydrogen, Ley said. And because of this reliance, it cannot be obtained in “pure culture” in the laboratory, which is why so little was known about it.

    What was interesting to me is that the gassy byproduct is bad for the fermentation, leading me once again to believe that less gas means better bowel health.

  8. Hello potato experts! I’m looking to incorporate RS into my diet for potentially better gut health. Does anyone know if the Japanese product “katakuriko” is the same thing as the raw potato starch you’re talking about in this thread? I know it is potato starch but even reading Japanese sources I can’t tell whether it is raw. Anyone?

  9. Here’s how to test it — mix 1-2 TBS with an equal amount of water. If it’s starch, it will form a smooth, glossy mixture. If it’s potato flour, it will form a clumpy, doughy mixture. Practice with rice or wheat flour and corn starch if unsure.

    If still not convinced, mix equal part with water and put in microwave. Starch will turn into a clear, hair-gel like substance. Flour will turn into dough.

    But from what I see, it is potato starch. http://www.amazon.com/JFC-Katakuriko-12-Ounce/dp/B004KA63IO

    • Oh, and when we say ‘raw’, that just means ‘not cooked’, as in, added to a smoothie, yogurt, water, milk, etc.. and not heated.

      There is a product on the market known as pre-gelatinized potato starch. This is usually sold as ‘modified’ starch and is not usually a food product, but an industrial glue.

    • Tatortot- Very interesting post on the connection of RS and ORS oral rehydration solutions. I have studied ORS therapy and previously used it for maintenance hydration throughout the day, as the WHO say is also safe without active diarrhea. The key is having a correct osmolarity of all electrolytes and sugar. The sugar salt combination allows (24 gms sugar/1000 mg sodium/ liter of water) for our GI to absorb the fluid and hydrate cells. Now..
      I have been doing 2 T PS and 1 t psyllium twice a day. With lots of cold potato/bean/rice, and drinking 3 liters of spring water a day. But… The magic happened when one day I was thirsty but would have to pee it out in 30-60 min. And continued all day. I had essentially caused diuresis with drinking just plain water and all the potassium in potatoes. So… enter homemade ORS a couple liters a day instead of regular water with continue RS diet. And it somehow had this hard to explain total gut improvement effect. A couple massive bowel movements, increased frequency, easier to pass, flat stomach. And is why I got excited seeing your post on ORS and starch. But….The symbiotic nature seems to not happen with one without the other and in reverse. The starch alone misses the boat somehow without the cell hydration effect of ORS electrolyte drink.
      Any thoughts? From a primal perspective I can only think of bone broth, blood, and milk having an electrolyte hydration effect on the body.

      • Dan – Looks like you discovered homemade PEG. That’s the stuff they give for colonoscopy preps. I have it on good authority that several leading doctors are looking into using a PEG type solution to scour the colon and then using RS and probiotics to reseed the gut. The trouble seems to be the biolfilms, but with what you described and what PEG does, it busts the biofilms and then the first on scene gets established. If these happen to be commensals and they have a good food source (RS) all the better. If they happen to be pathogens, you are really screwed. Just think of all the colonoscopies being done across America, and the first meal afterwards is McDonald’s across the street from hospital. If these people were sent home with 3 bottles of probiotics and a bag of potato starch it would save a lot of trouble.

        Interesting comment…I will forward to colleagues, you may be on to something.


      • dan, there is a lot in your above explanation and i am confused. could you explain the formula you have discovered that gives the gut improvements you have described and will you continue with this on a daily basis. thks alfred

  10. Awesome! It is raw potato starch then. I often use it as a thickener in stews etc, and in these applications you have to premix it with a bit of water–producing the glossy mixture you speak of–before adding it into the pot, or it will clump up in the hot food. I will experiment with drinking it raw.

    I thought there were two different products on the market, raw and cooked; now I understand that raw here means “straight out of the packet.” I will report back as to whether it improves my digestive issues. I’m hoping it may do something for my high cholesterol as well. I’m one of those people with sky-high LDL on a supposedly perfect PHD / paleo diet, urrgghh.

    • PHD’er – Do you also have sky-high HDL? Like above 75? If not, and you have low HDL, like 30, then adding lots of RS and getting your gut microbes may help. If you have the pattern with high LDL and HDL you may find something else going on, but a better gut flora never hurts anything!

  11. Hi tatertot,
    No, my HDL and trigs are normal. Only LDL has rocketed since I started PHD / paleo. So I hope the RS may help with that. I’m lean with low blood pressure but I do have these digestive issues (persistent bloating, gas if I eat too many vegetables, general “yucky” feeling) that actually predate PHD / paleo and are the reason I started. So I suspect the problem is rooted in my gut, but that my implementation of the PHD is somehow problematic. I will report back as to whether the RS helps!

  12. Hi MachineGhost,
    Thanks for that input! Can gut dysbiosis really be a factor in high LDL? My instincts say the two things must be connected but I didn’t know there was any scientific evidence / don’t recall that from the Jaminets’ book.

    • Jaminet has made the LDL/gut dysbiosis statements as comments on here several times, although personally I feel he is a wee bit trigger happy in making declarative statements always connecting elevated LDL to gut dysbiosis. Either way, it doesn’t strike me as especially difficult to engage in antibiotics and take prebiotics and probiotics, but if doing that doesn’t resolve issues related to food sensitivities, what is one to conclude? Perhaps long-standing gut dysbiosis is like Lyme and its associated infections, hiding behind protective biofilms and mutating up new resistance.

      RS should not be counted as a starch. All fiber in any food — including RS — should be subtracted out from the total carbohydrate count for a net carbohydrate count. It’s possible you’re eating a lot less net carbs than you thought.

      Do be aware that sweet potatoes contain a whopping amount of fructose and will feed FODMAP issues. Anything sweet that tastes way too good is guaranteed to (contain fructose)!

      If you find you’re eating a lot less net carbs than 150g, I think you should make resolving your gut dysbiosis with antibiotics (natural or synthetic) a top priority. And are you taking enough iodine (and selenium) so all the elevated LDL can do its job?

      • Hi Machineghost,

        Waaaait what??? RS is called “resistant starch” but it shouldn’t be counted as a starch?

        On the same topic of “what is really a starch,” I just checked nutritiondata.com and the following vegetables appear to have NO starch: renkon aka lotus root, kabocha squash, and mountain yam (I assume this is the same thing as “Chinese yam” aka nagaimo). Is this an unreliable source or have I been deluded?

        I have another question. Natural antibiotics for gut dysbiosis? What is a natural antibiotic and how do you take it?

        I just started taking more iodine and am also going to supplement selenium (potentially confounding the RS experiment but oh well).

        • most of the food DB’s are based on USDA info,
          “if you see a ~ to the right of a nutrient name in the above dropdowns indicates a nutrient that has only been measured in a limited number of foods”

          you seemed to have chosen some unusual (in USA) veggies to lookup.
          to compare to info on a more common veggie try looking up ‘sweet potato’

        • …to compare the database info on a more common veggie try looking up ‘sweet potato’ which lists a lot more data, incl starch

          you prob need to dig deeper on the internet to find good data on renkon, kabocha squash, and mountain yam etc

  13. Hi Ellen,

    That’s a big yes. I have been known to gain 1 1/2 kgs overnight after eating a sushi dinner! I wake up looking pregnant. It’s not pretty and feels horrid. So my implementation of PHD has focused on MORE MORE VEGGIES and meat, fish, liver, eggs, supplements etc., while cutting out seed oils and dairy. (I cut out sugar and wheat long ago.) I thought I was getting enough “safe starch” from veggies like Japanese sweet potato, kabocha, and renkon, and when I track my carbs they are usually in the 100-150g range, but that’s all from vegetables. And now I have high LDL, arrggh. My new line of thinking is that I do need starch, so I thought the RS / katakuriko would be a way of getting starch without, hopefully, the tummy bloat.

    May I say in passing that the people on this website are amazingly kind and helpful? You’re all wonderful!

    • Paul has suggested dextrose powder ( see supplement recommendations) as a way to get glucose while you repair your gut

      So it seems that the connection ” may” be :gut dubious is what leads to very low carb either from not eating them or perhaps absorption problems, which then leads to thyroid poblem and that is what messes up your LDL receptor, so that the LDL is sticking around longer. Not that you are necessarily making more LDL, it is just all hanging around.

        • Hi Ellen,
          Those are excellent suggestions. I will check out the dextrose powder and the FODMAPS book. At first glance though, the FODMAPS theory does not seem to match up with my problems. E.g. I can literally eat pounds of fresh cherries, blueberries etc. without problems (when I’m lucky enough to get them). But quantities of pretty much anything green bloat me right up.

          This does seem to support your “accidental low carb” theory of high LDL, though. Because I never am lucky enough to get quantities of fresh fruit, so all my “carbs” come from bloaty things, which perhaps I am not absorbing. But now I’m confused about the RS. Is it supposed to be easier to absorb?

          • You’re right that it doesn’t sound like FODMAPS. But I have heard that book is very helpful in scoring out food intolerances. You might also look at


            And just keep reading on this site..there are lots of posts and comments with regard to digestive disorders that may help you.

            The RS name can be confusing….even though it is called resistant STARCH it is not a source of glucose like regular starch. Tater has explained all in earlier post here and there is much more at Free the Animal

          • I think I will try both approaches at once! I have been avoiding dairy but perhaps the yogurt will make the potato starch more digestible. The only thing I am concerned about here is vitamin A toxicity — is 10000 IU not an awful lot, when combined with weekly liver and daily colorful veggies??

            Re: iodine, I take 225 mcg daily. Should I up the dosage? We also eat seaweed (wakame, konbu, mozuku) 2-3x / week, usually as “su-no-mono” with a vinegar-based dressing.

            Re: circadian rhythms, I just got the dimming program f.lux for my computer. I already sleep well, wake up early, and get outside first thing. I do not get the “mid-afternoon crash”–unless I eat too many carbs at lunch that is! Thank you again Paul and Tatertot for all your research and advice.

        • Update re: my high cholesterol problem: It’s not my thyroid, apparently! I had a test done and I had TSH of 2.9, F4 of 0.9, and F3 of 2.2, all within the normal range. But I also had a sonogram of my carotid arteries done and the doctor said they were fine.

          That said I do not feel ready to just disregard conventional guidelines and ignore this problem. I want to get my cholesterol down. I did not find that RS dissolved in water was congenial to my gut. It seemed to contribute to bloating. So now I am eating actual cooked and cooled potatoes (some baked, some boiled). These seem to agree with me very nicely! Who’d have thought? I need not have avoided potatoes all these years.

          What about acrylamide though? Is that a real concern?

          • Don’t be so sure. Paul considers any TSH over .5 to be high and over 1.5 definitely must be addressed.


          • If you aren’t t frying your potatoes I don’t think you will get any acrylamides. If you roast chunks of them them lightly coated with some oil in an oven on high Heat there may be some. I now use avocado oil for that process, but I am not sure if that reduces the acrylamides or how much. But that process does increase the RS more so than baked (whole) or boiled .

          • Acrylamides appear when heating above 248F/120C so boiling and steaming is fine even under pressure but baking and frying is not so good. More heat => more acrylamides.
            I would think the highest amounts are in potato chips, where the entire starch mass is subjected to +180C. It seems reasonable to believe that french fries only have acrylamide on the outside crispy layer.

            HEATOX concluded that acrylamide poses a higher estimated cancer risk but so far there’s nothing very conclusive AFAICT.

            Ellen, if you heat starch above the gelatinization temperature (40-60C or so? not sure), you will have very little resistant starch until it cools down and recrystallizes (and only if it does that).

          • Wout,

            Thank you for that correction….the roasted potatoes must be cooled too to get the RS. But it is amazing how much more RS you get that way. According to the list Tater put up on FTA

            Steamed or boiled and cooled yields 5.8 g RS

            Roasted and cooled yields 19.2

            That is per 100 g of potato

            So I would think that if you want to roast them cutting them In Larger chunks might be best…?

            Would the use of avocado oil make a difference?

          • @PeterC,

            “Paul considers any TSH over .5 to be high and over 1.5 definitely must be addressed”

            does that include if someone is feeling good, with no hypothyroid type symptoms.

            …but i guess if that were the case, you would not know your tsh number (because why test it).

          • Update: I spoke too soon when I said potatoes agreed with me! Not in meaningful volumes they don’t. As soon as I went over 100g of potato at a sitting, I got the most awful gut distress (stabbing, griping pains, bloating, the whole package). I isolated the potatoes as the cause by eating them alone.

            So now I’m back to square one, urrgh. Seeking ways to get more “safe starch” to hopefully up-regulate my thyroid and improve my LDL. While dealing with these digestive issues that confound my attempts to eat starch!

            To date the only diet that doesn’t give me any GI distress is zero fiber, high protein. But I believe this is not healthy–it’s certainly not sustainable for me–and anyway, too much protein and fat are probably what drove my LDL through the roof.

            I am going to give the potato starch another go. Tatertot: I stalked you to freetheanimal.com and read your stuff about RS there. It seems to be such a healthful substance! Perhaps if I start with a verrry low dosage and work upwards … we’ll see.

            Oh, great information about acrylamides, btw. Pity boiled potatoes aren’t as tasty as baked / roasted ones!

          • Hi phd-er,

            Why would you do potato starch if you are reacting badly to potatoes? It sounds like a gut dysbiosis and fiber or starch feeds bad flora.

            I would emphasize vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, iodine, vitamin C, fermented foods, intermittent fasting, and circadian rhythm entrainment.

            I would keep eating potatoes but in small doses, to help provide some food for beneficial flora, but not so much as to generate symptoms from the bad.

          • Hi Paul,

            Thank you for responding! I had the impression that potato starch (resistant starch) would be good for my gut flora, if I could only manage to consume it without GI distress. I have tried probiotics and fermented foods by the bushel with no effect on my digestive issues. As to the supplements, I have taken all the ones you recommend for about 6 months and still no relief … plus now I am also worried about my thyroid! So I was hoping to shake it up with something new.

          • Hi phd-er,

            Add in vitamin A as a first step. Get capsules with 10,000 IU from cod liver oil and take them daily for a week and then 2-3 per week thereafter. Also eat more carotenoid rich plant foods. Make sure your vitamin D status is good. And do all the circadian rhythm entrainment steps we advise.

            The issue is usually an impaired mucosal immunity so addressing that should be step 1.

          • I hate to argue with Paul, on his own blog no less, but I think a good dose of potato starch, or one of the other RS rich raw starches (tapioca starch, green banana flour, or mung bean starch) is exactly what phd-er needs.

            Paul’s advice:

            “It sounds like a gut dysbiosis and fiber or starch feeds bad flora.

            I would emphasize vitamin A, vitamin D, zinc, iodine, vitamin C, fermented foods, intermittent fasting, and circadian rhythm entrainment.

            I would keep eating potatoes but in small doses, to help provide some food for beneficial flora, but not so much as to generate symptoms from the bad.”

            …is all spot-on, especially the fermented foods, but as a consequence of following this advice, you would be setting the table for a happy crowd of gut microbes, but feeding them scraps.

            I have never seen a shred of evidence that RS feeds pathogenic bacteria–in fact just the opposite. I’ve also never seen a shred of evidence that RS feeds out-of-place beneficial bacteria (SIBO), in fact, just the opposite.

            It takes several species of gut flora to ferment RS. Known as co-feeders, one will begin the process, cleaving the RS into smaller pieces and another will ferment these pieces in butyrate and other gut-pleasing chemicals.

            The two main co-feeders have been identified as r. bromii and e. rectale, once these two probiotic strains have done their job, numerous other beneficial bacteria, such as bifido strains, benefit from the breakdown.

            I have oversimplified this process and left a few steps out, but I wanted to illustrate that it is not as simple to ferment RS as it is to digest regular starch or sugar. RS is really resistant. It takes 3-4 hours at the best to be completely broken down, it doesn’t hang around long enough in the small intestine to cause SIBO related gas issues, or so it seems.

            So, an alternate advice to PHD’er would be to do everything Paul said, but also take a bit of an RS rich raw starch, preferably mixed with yogurt. I’d start out with 1TBS a day, and up it as you feel comfortable. This will provide a bounty to the beneficial microbes you’ve invited to the party and convince them to hang around for dessert.

          • (Duplicate comment cos I replied in the wrong place above)

            I think I will try both approaches at once! I have been avoiding dairy but perhaps the yogurt will make the potato starch more digestible. The only thing I am concerned about here is vitamin A toxicity — is 10000 IU not an awful lot, when combined with weekly liver and daily colorful veggies??

            Re: iodine, I take 225 mcg daily. Should I up the dosage? We also eat seaweed (wakame, konbu, mozuku) 2-3x / week, usually as “su-no-mono” with a vinegar-based dressing.

            Re: circadian rhythms, I just got the dimming program f.lux for my computer. I already sleep well, wake up early, and get outside first thing. I do not get the “mid-afternoon crash”–unless I eat too many carbs at lunch that is! Thank you again Paul and Tatertot for all your research and advice.

          • hi phd-er,

            tatertortot mentions doing 1 tbs PS a day (or other similar RS)…
            i would suggest/recommend you start with smaller doses to make it easier for your gut to adjust…
            limit your dose size to 1 tsp to start with.

            personally i would work your way up from 1 tsp per day to 1 or 1.5 tbs per day…let ‘gas’ be your guide.

            from memory it took me around 4 to 6 weeks for my gut to fully adjust to 1.5 tbs per day.
            i actually went up to 2 tbs p/d, i think i get the same benefit from 1.5 tbs p/d (so i dropped back from 2 to 1.5 tbs p/d).
            & i now limit my dose size to 1 tbs.

            (1 tbs = 3 tsp)

      • That should be gut dysbiosis

  14. Tater , can you please tell me what you have found so far to be the best way to cook beans so as to eliminate maximum toxins and preserve or even increase RS. Did I read somewhere that you freeze your beans after cooking? I am confused because there are so many conflicting methods out there, but I have no idea if any of them are based on any science and their goals are not clear either. Many thanks.

  15. Sure, Ellen – I think I have found the right way to prepare beans safely, ie. maximize nutrients, minimize anti-nutrients. If you like to read science journals, here’s where I got most of this information: http://fusion.infiniteplane.com/lactic-acid-bean-fermentation.pdf

    It seems that what is needed to make beans safe and healthy (and less gassy) is lactic acid fermentation–the same process that turns cabbage into sauerkraut and kimchi…

    With beans, it’s very easy to do. Simply place the beans in luke-warm water and let them soak at room temperature for 12-48 hours. I like to do a minimum of 24hrs myself.

    Nearly every dry bean in the world has lactobacillus bacteria on it naturally–it’s attracted there by mysterious receptors. When you soak them in warm water, the lactobacillus revives and rapidly multiplies. As the beans swell, the lactobacillus invades the cells of the beans and produces lactic acid which changes the environment (pH, etc…) to favor it’s own growth and not the growth of bad bacteria (e. coli, etc..) Read through the paper I attached to see the dozens of changes that occur, but mainly insoluble fiber is converted to soluble fiber, vitamnis/minerals are made available, and anti-nutrients are dissolved (raffinose, for instance).

    After a long soak, you should see bubbles on the surface of the water and notice a slight ‘sourdough’ smell. If it smells nasty–throw it out and start over, but I’ve never seen it happen. Rinse the beans well and cover with water. Bring to a rapid boil and let boil for 10 full minutes–this will destroy most of any remaining anti-nutrients. Let the beans simmer for 1-2 hours until tender. You can boil the beans in plain water, salted water, or even broths for more flavor.

    After you’ve cooked the beans, eat some right away if you like and put the leftovers in the fridge or freezer. Cooling for several days turns much of the starch into resistant starch. Reheating the beans will make more RS, no need to eat cold. Repeated cycles will increase the RS each time, but the biggest increases occur on the first cycle of cooling/reheating.

    Some people add sauerkraut juice, kefir, or whey to the beans to be soaked to speed the fermentation process. Others save some of the water they were soaked in for their next batch (store in a jar in fridge).

    Here is a good article that describes various ways to ferment beans and also sprouting and other ideas: http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2010/09/reducing-phytic-acid-in-grains-and-legumes.html

    Hope this is all clear!

    • Hi tatertot,

      Did you ever look into how canned beans are prepared and if that is acceptable too?
      I used to think that the extremely long soak they’re enjoying in the can makes them relatively safe but reading this makes me think that skipping the fermentation step is probably bad and there are no bacteria left to do the fermentation after opening.

      • Hey, Wout – Canned beans confuse me. I think the pressure cooking probably gets rid of some anti-nutrients, but others, like the raffinose, is still clearly there. Bean-o was invented for just that reason!

        I’ve read a few articles where people take canned chick-peas and soak for a day to ferment them to make fermented bean hummus, but have never tried it.

        I’m pretty sure that canned beans are what got beans excluded from paleo and PHD. Proper bean prep takes time and effort, canned beans don’t. For me, I’ll probably eat canned beans at a Mexican Restaurant, but not at home.

        • Same is true for wheat. Wheat berries (kernels) take a similar long time to prepare correctly… soaking, sprouting, fermenting. In the past I could see the reasons for going to this trouble since wheat berries are easy to store, transport, etc., without spoiling. Nowadays, there are lots of other nutrient rich choices.

    • Hi Tatertot,
      There is one thing that concerns me from the study you linked here http://fusion.infiniteplane.com/lactic-acid-bean-fermentation.pdf.
      It says the nutrition and mineral content has decreased significantly in the fermented and cooked beans compared to the raw beans. Protein, fat, iron ,potassium and various other mineral contents have significantly decreased (see table 3).
      Resistant starch content also decreased but we know that freezing will more than make up for it.

      What is your take in the lost nutrition and mineral content in fermented beans? Do you only eat it primarily for resistant starch? And do not count the protein from fermented beans towards your daily macros?

      • So people DO click links…I thought I was the only one who clicked on links.

        Excellent questions T-Nat, On the page where Table 3 is, read the paragraph to the right of the table.

        “Trypsin inhibitor activity and tannin content decreased by 57 and 83%, respectively, when black beans were fermented and cooked. However, the in vitro digestibility increased by 12.55%.”

        This is very important and enough for me to always ferment beans. The trypsin inhibitors and tannins are two of the notorious ‘anti-nutrients’.. Get rid of them and overall digestion increases.

        The decreases in Ca, Mg, Zn etc… don’t bother me. You shouldn’t eat raw beans,so the mineral content and RS in raw beans is irrelevant.

        I don’t go crazy eating beans, I don’t think anyone should–but they have come out of my “PHD Apple Shadow” and sit in the safe starch section with an asterisk that means–‘for variety, have some beans!’ My safe starches are still potatoes and rice mainly as every day staples, beans are like once a week with rice or maybe in chili. I think the fiber they provide is their best attribute, RS is nice, protein is a bonus–I don’t count it towards my daily intake, but then again, I don’t really count anything anymore.

        • Thanks T-Tot! The increased digestibility coupled with better assimilation of nutrients due to anti-nutrient inhibition in fermented beans more than makes up for the diminished nutrient content.

          Unlike you, I am planning to depend on fermented beans + frozen parboiled rice for my daily RS intake. I wanted to count on the rich protein content from beans but now may be not as much as I was hoping for.
          Thanks for the explanation again.

          • Beans-n-Rice is soooo good. I could see making it a staple. Did you read the stuff on ‘back-slopping’ of the fermentation liquid in the study? I think that is a great idea.

          • Aren’t lentils even better than beans? A bit more protein.

          • I haven’t really had time to broaden my horizons on lentils. Fill us in!

          • Huh…. If this comparison of macro’s between black beans and lentils is fairly accurate there really isn’t a big difference between the two. Only 3 gram’s (20%) more protein per cup in lentils than BB’s. I had thought the difference was larger than that. I wonder if there is much difference in mineral content. Not shown in this comparison…


          • Wow, so I learned something new today. BB’s are marginally superior to lentils. According to this nutritional data, they are identical in nutrients pretty much *except* that BB’s have a 1:1 ratio of Omega-3:Omega-6 while lentils have a ratio of 1:3. If there is no major difference in price I think Black Beans are the winner.


          • And now we know…the rest of the story.

            Thanks, Brad!

          • Weston A Price recommended lentils for their phosphorous content – he valued both calcium and phosphorous. They also have 40% more folate than black beans. Beans/lentils have so little fat, I wouldn’t think omega6:3 ratio matters much and 3:1 doesn’t seem bad. Lentils are also known to be less gas producing.

            Have you heard of the “lentil effect” or “second meal effect”? There’s evidence it controls blood sugar levels even into the next day.

          • Phosphorus: lentils 18%, BB’s 14%
            Calcium: lentils 2%, BB’s 3%
            Folate: lentils 45%, BB’s 37%

            I would still say this puts them basically equal. Btw, the amount of Omega-3 and Omega-6 (over 231mg combined) in BB’s is more than the total amount Phosphorus and Calcium in lentils (199mg) or BB’s (167mg). Still doesn’t matter?

            All values relate to 100g serving size and %DV as per that same Nutritional Data site which uses USDA SR-21 data.

          • Hey Brad,

            I agree black beans and lentils have pretty similar nutrition, with differences certainly small potatoes compared to other dietary factors. I just don’t think black beans are indisputably more favorable than lentils across the board. Eat them both.

            For omega-6, omega-3 content, I think what matters is percent of calories.

            For lentils omega-6 is 1% of calories. PHD recommends up to 4% omega-6, so lentils is a good food wrt omega-6. PHD doesn’t rely on plant sources of omega-3.
            0.137g * 9 = 1.233 calories
            1.233/116*100 = 1.06%


  16. Perfectly clear. A big help! Many thanks.

    • Speaking of beans , I have been reading about Tepary beans in Deborah Madison’s beautiful cookbook, Vegetable Literacy. Seems they have more fiber and protein than other beans, higher levels of minerals and lower levels of anti-enzymatic compounds. They were part of the traditional diet for the Tohono Ood’ham and were successfully reintroduced to deal with diabetes in the tribe. Madison says they have a very earthy and robust flavor, with a hint of sweetness in the white ones, and more nuttiness in the brown and black varieties.

      I just ordered some from


      • I love tepary beans. They take a long time to soak – and they always get bubbly. They’re tiny – slightly bigger than lentils, but take much longer to cook (in my experience) But wow, the broth they make is fantastic tasting. A perfect beans & rice bean. Sadly, I took the standard paelo advice and stopped eating beans 3 years ago. This was while I had a large stock of said Rancho Gordo beans – by far the best beans I’ve ever tasted. I could not bring myself to throw any of the beans away, so recently, I’m going through the stash, and one by one soaking them, to see if the will soak, and so far, we’ve been sucessful.

  17. Tepary Beans…never heard of them. Look good! We expect a FULL report.

  18. Hello, Tatertot! Paul Jaminet recommended a week ago that I start eating a teaspoon of potato starch dissolved in plain yogurt each day at lunchtime as part of my efforts to lower my LDL, which has become slightly elevated. It tastes fine and I seem to be tolerating it well after a week so I will keep going and see what my lipid panel looks like in about two months. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks!
    PS I’m down in Austin this month at the Albert Oaks Perfect Health Retreat, which I HIGHLY recommend.

  19. Great to hear, Peggy! PHD Retreat sounds great, hope you have a great time. Is Paul making you his famous Bibimbap?

  20. Going back to the question of “what is resistant starch, exactly?” I am wondering how its fiber content impacts the calorie / carb content. My package of “katakuriko” (potato starch” says it has 330 kcal / 100g. But Tatertot recently said that RS is actually not a starch but a fiber. Which doesn’t count as calories. Right?


    This site says it has ZERO fiber, which I guess is wrong (although you’d think the manufacturers would know). If that were true, 3 tbsp of potato starch would give me a lot of useful starch carbs.

    So basically, should I count this stuff as starch carbs or not?

    • RAW = 80% RS/20% other (moisture and digestible starch)

      COOKED = 100% Digestible Carbs

      Raw calories are about 2/3 of published.
      Cooked calories are as labeled.

      I personally don’t count calories or carbs, but if I did, I would not count the ones from supplemental raw potato starch. The calories derived are actually fat calories, SCFA from the fermentation by gut microbes.

      If you ate 100g/330kcal (please don’t) it would be converted to about 20g of fat (180kcal) approximately.

      • Thank you Tatertot! So I should figure RS as FAT calories. See, I needed to know that. I would have counted it as carbs, thus exacerbating my “accidental low carbing.”

        One is so tempted to just go zero carb and get rid of the bloating and GI pain. Because I know it works. But I also know it’s not good for my body. Sigh. I am now taking 3 tsp katakuriko in yogurt and will report any effects.

  21. Hi; the good people over at Free The Animal asked me to post here with my weird reaction to RS, and I read the thread first, and feel that maybe the way the phd’er has been asked to start extremely slow might be worth trying for me. But let’s see if anyone has ideas for me.

    I’ve been free from gluten for 3 years and focused mostly on fats and meats from healthy animals, organic or raw dairy, vegetables, a little fruit. But on top of all that good stuff, I’ve had off and on a deadly addiction to milk chocolate. It’s on right now. And I am overweight. I had a baby two years ago and I don’t work out much at all.

    Once about 4 months ago I decided to try the RS in the form of PS, and started with 1 tbsp twice a day, working up to 2 tbsp twice a day. I didn’t have that much additional gas, and no cramping happened, but after a week or two, TMI but I need to say it, I started to get very loose urgent stools (not watery) at the end of the day and early morning. I decided to stop the RS, but the diarrhea continued about 3 weeks more after I stopped. In the end, I concluded that maybe it wasn’t the resistant starch causing it.

    This week I decided to really try to get off the opium, I mean milk chocolate, and to clean up my diet. Because it helps blood sugar, I decided to try the RS again. Normally, TMI, my stools are frequent and barely formed but formed. Well, after day 2, I saw they were losing form and becoming more urgent. After day 3, when I did have 3 tbsp of RS, they went to urgent loose stools. I said, “I’m out.” I don’t have time to hang around the toilet all morning. Immediately after stopping the RS, 24 hours later they were normal for me again.

    What do you think this is? Not much gas, zero cramping, just diarrhea (not watery).

    After reading my way through this thread, I’m wondering if I should give it one more try with maybe one teaspoon a day or something. Or does this point to something more serious with my gut biome? Thanks for any insights.

    • yep, i would start at 1 tsp per day,
      see how you go there for a few days before increasing. wait for your stools to ‘normalise’ (if they are un-normalised!).

      then, if all is good, go to 2 tsp per day for a while, then 3 tsp etc.

      i see no need to go any higher than 1.5 tablespoons p/d (& no need to chance any potential negative side effects of going higher)

    • Hi Nancy

      First off I am not so sure what you are experiencing qualifies as diarrhea. See this


      I think this is important as it may give some clues. If you are used to a 3, it may indicate disbacteriosis.

      I have been experiencing something similar to you on higher levels of RS either from PS or from food: huge increase in TMI activity up to 6 or 7 daily, mostly 5 on the scale…but very different from what I am used to. Like you barely any gas,. but unlike you I had headaches that would wake me in the night and be relieved by the TMI

      A few days ago I started taking Prescript Assist and the headaches are gone even at the higher level of RS intake. I know you said (over at FTA) that you got headaches from probiotics, but you might consider this one as it is new and seems to have species that were not on the other probiotics I have looked at.

      I think the lack of gas in both of us may be another indication of a paucity of flora, so , theoretically, probiotics should help if you can find the right one.

  22. Ok, Daz, will try it tomorrow. Yes, things normalized right after I stopped the 2 tablespoons a day.

  23. Ellen, I agree, the TMI doesn’t qualify as watery diarrhea. But I’d love getting closer to a 4; it seems less urgent and somehow better. Normally my TMI is simply not on the scale – even as described. It would be closest to a 5 but doesn’t match their description at all. More like thin sausage shaped that tends to lose shape in the bowl. Then on the RS it was more like Greek yogurt consistency. So I don’t know where that would be either.

    I do think most migraines begin in the gut, and probably a lot of other headaches too. I will look into your probiotic. I’ll have to look into disbacteriosis too – don’t know what it is. Thanks so much for this feedback.

  24. Disbacteriosis : not a new thing to put on your radar, just a fancy word for an imbalance of gut flora, which you already kinda knew you had.

    But here is something new to chew on. Low grade inflammation and diverticulosis


    I am not sure I understand from this if the test for fecal cal protection would make sense in your/my situation, because I don’t know what one would do if it were positive other than follow all the anti inflammatory advice. and it seems that the dietary advice does not work for everyone if you read the comments to the post.

    Also see this for a list of good probiotics


  25. I’m back to report that I am putting my RS experiment on hold. 5 days in and the only effects were MORE gas, bloating, and constipation–the issues I already suffer from! I was taking 3-4 tsp per day. With or without yogurt, it made no difference. I think these results suggest that there is a subset of people, of whom I am one, who should not take RS on account of preexisting digestive problems.

    So I’m back to trying to straighten out my gut problems, as Paul recommended, without the help of the good ol’ potato! Which means that this topic no longer belongs in this thread, but for reference purposes, here’s what I’m going to try now:

    1. All supplements recommended by Paul except vit A which I get a metric ton of from food.

    2. Putting together my own experience that zero fiber=zero bloating and the theories of Norm Robillard (Fast Tract Diet), I am going to strictly minimize dietary fiber. I’m pretty sure fructose is NOT a problem for me, see above: I can eat pounds of fresh fruit and be as happy as a Junebug, but I can’t do that at this time of year, anyway, so although fructose elimination is not a goal, minimizing fiber will mean de facto minimizing fructose and other sugar alcohols from fresh produce.

    3. MORE MORE white rice for starchy carbs to fix my thyroid.

    4. Anyone have any other suggestions for low-fiber high-density carbs? Dextrose was suggested above but I can’t find it in the shops, ditto maltose as suggested by Robillard.

    • Click on the recommended supplements and you will see dextrose down at the bottom, if you want to order from Amazon

      You might try one of the probiotics listed at the bottom of this page


      the Prescript Assist is supposed to be good for constipation according to Chris Kresser.

      • phd’er – This definitely belongs here! Thanks for reporting. I learned something just today about gut flora and RS. Without certain microbes known as soil-based organisms, RS goes unfermented.

        “In contrast, the probiotics provided no protection when a low resistant starch diet was fed and the resistant starch had no protective response in the absence of the probiotic”

        That was from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2743755/pdf/nihms124363.pdf

        There are probiotic supplements with SBOs such as Clostridium butyricum and Bacillus licheniformis. I will dig up a few names tomorrow, but I think iHerbs Probiotic-3 is one.

        Anyway, worth a try! I think you have big problems, maybe consider a stool test of microbes and all that, there are some that can diagnose SIBO. If you don’t have SIBO, and you are eating as if you do, you may just be compounding real problem. I wish you well! Keep us posted.

        • Hi Tatertot,

          I did ask for a SIBO test in the past and was laughed out of the doctor’s office. There are a couple of places online where you can order home kits, but they do not ship outside the US. So I’m just proceeding as if I have SIBO–hope I don’t make things worse! If my minimal-fiber protocol doesn’t work I’ll just quit it and rethink.

          My RS definitely was fermenting. No question about that. The results were evident to hear (and smell)! I just think it may not have been fermenting in the right place. It gave me distension of the area right below my ribs, as well as the sadly familiar distension below my belly button.

          I think I may add a probiotic as you and Ellen mention. Any thoughts on kefir / kombucha?

        • The list I linked to on AnimalPharm page all contain SBO


          Scroll down to bottom

          The Prescript Assist has made a huge difference for me. No cramping or headaches from RS anymore.

      • Ellen,

        What do you think of kefir or kombucha as a probiotic? They get a lot of good press.

        I have tried lots of different probiotic pills in the past (not PrescriptAssist though)–no relief whatsoever or it was only fleeting.

        Yogurt / kimchi / other fermented veggies don’t help, either, although the do not seem to contribute to bloating and constipation the way that ordinary veggies can.

  26. Hey Tatetot,

    RS is a type of fiber, correct? If so, it is classified as dietary fiber ot functional fiber?

    I’m guessing it is a functional fiber due to that on the Red Mill Potato Starch label, it says it contains 0g of dietary fiber.

    If you have any info on how much fiber is in RM Potato Starch that would be appreciated.



    • Potato starch, uncooked, is nearly pure RS. The label info is for cooked starch. As RS, it is considered dietary fiber, but that is an out-dated term when discussing utilization by gut microbes. More importantly, RS is a fermentable fiber, more specifically, a butyrogenic fermentable fiber meaning it is fermented almost exclusively to butyrate (when the right microbes are present).

      Did anyone see Mark Sisson’s write up today on RS and potato starch? http://www.marksdailyapple.com/resistant-starch-zinc-deficiency/#axzz2kNYy2As6

      • So does RS act like ‘fiber’ in terms of helping the bulking of stools? Or does RS ferment to butyrate which has no effect on stool bulkage?

        Thanks for your help TT!

        • In amounts up to about 4TBS per day it does not increase fecal weight or bulk, according to studies. From personal experience, it does not bulk stools, but makes bowel movements much more consistent.

        • in my non-scientific/non-study view,
          RS could effect stool bulk, 2 ways come to mind,

          theory#1: you suffer from watery stools/diarrhoea (ie. non bulky stools) due to a gut bacteria imbalance.
          RS works its magic & ‘fixes’ the imbalance, & stools become normal (increase in bulk).

          theory#2. About 30 percent of the solid matter of a (normal) stool consists of (dead) bacteria (source: google).
          Assumption: This is less than 30% in ‘abnormal’ stools (stools less bulky)?
          RS increases/normalises good gut bacteria, & stools become normal (increase in bulk).

        • just read this on wiki re bulking & RS,

          “Its bulking effects are generated by increasing the bacterial mass, and not through water holding, which accounts for its milder regularity effects compared to non-fermenting, bulking fibers like cellulose”

          source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resistant_starch#Digestive_system

        • that wiki comment refs 3 studies, links included in wiki if interested, refs 69,70,71

    • Kefir and kombucha are great for most people. But do be aware that they both have a fungal/mold component. Along with mold ripened cheeses they produced a facial rash on me when eaten daily over a period of several months. This took me years to figure out because I did each one of them sequentially, and the rash would mysteriously come and go and move around my face. ( at one point I looked very much like a raccoon!) So now I only consume any them in small quantities occasionally and in The context of lots of fermented veggies.

      That is a pretty rare response to them though. Just posted that to emphasize the fact that we each have very individual groups of flora and need to approach all this as a experiment. And it is definitely a good idea to get a wide variety of probiotics to avoid creating an imbalance as I did.

      The soil based organisms were very likely not in any of the probiotics you took in the past and are worth trying

  27. Tater,

    My experience that I just related above with the molds and the migrating facial rash led me to suspect that where the rash appeared on my face had a definite correlation to where in my gut the problem was located. I bet/hope that at some point in the future that will be better understood and will be used as a part of diagnosis.

  28. PhD-er, I have been following your posts with interest because you are the only other one with strong negative response to RS, even at only 2 tbsp a day of PS. My responses are different, definitely no cramping or constipation, the opposite. I’m going to try various milder forms of resistant starch first, like yesterday I tried Richard nikoley’s idea of that potato and tapioca starch bread, with no bad effects.

    I get either migraine or bad stomach pains or nausea from every powdered or capsuled probiotics. So I was left with commercial kefir ( plain, full fat – clover brand is great) and commercial kombucha ( I drink synergy’s chia flavors). I tolerate them well. I’d like to try the soil based probiotics too, from the fermented veggies and the one Ellen recommends.

  29. It’s funny, Nancy … I was kind of hoping for the reaction to RS that you had! I was waiting eagerly for my bowels to loosen up 😛

    I think my problem is probably SIBO. I’m figuring to starve the critters by eliminating fiber and feed the good ones with probiotics. This may not make sense scientifically but I will report back on whether it helps.

    Maybe you should be doing the opposite of me and striving to get more fiber to bulk up your stools? Do you eat a lot of veggies on a regular basis?

  30. I tried to search pubmed for resistent starch and it appears to me its benefits are inconclusive. would love to see studies to the contrary with regard to PS.

  31. Steve, the people over at Free The Animal, in the RS threads, in the comments, are small studies in themselves. Those who test blood sugar are all finding that resistant starch, usually posts to starch, eaten before a meal with carbs brings down their blood sugar rise. Over and over again, different people are testing and reporting back.

  32. Thanks Nancy
    I heard about BG spike benefit, but wondering if any benefit beyond BG. Seems inconclusive so far.

  33. Hey, Potato Fans! Here is my guest blog on my American Gut results: http://freetheanimal.com/2013/11/resistant-american-comparison.html

  34. Should You Eat Potatoes? | Living Clean in a Dirty World - pingback on February 25, 2014 at 12:12 pm
  35. Oz and Mercola are questionable sources. Just eat real food and forget the supplements. Man made anything considers profit above all else.

  36. Scalloped Potatoes and Ham | virginia is for hunter-gatherers - pingback on July 23, 2014 at 9:03 am
  37. Question- you suggest using potato starch often…however, I’ve got rheumatoid arthritis and I avoid all nightshades in order to stay off RA medications. I also have candidiasis and am a bit frightened to try white rice and sweet potatoes since I’ve been on the candida diet for the last 8 months. I’m willing to try anything to get over this. What are your suggestions regarding these foods for those of us with RA and Candidiasis?

  38. Iodine Protocol: Still Working! | Getting Healthier Now - pingback on February 6, 2015 at 4:25 am
  39. While alcohol moderately has heart advantages, greater intakes can result in a
    wide range of well being issues.

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