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. I noticed something similar about 4 months ago when I started trying to get RS from anywhere I could (green bananas, raw potatoes, etc…) it lasted only a few days. Many of the studies show it takes a month for your large intestine to be fully populated and able to digest 50g/day. Maybe start with 1 TBS when you get the Bob’s and increase by 1TBS per week.

    When I finally tried potato starch a few weeks back, there was almost an overnight change in stool consistency and smell for the better.

    I think I was pretty well populated, but adding the potato starch was what I really needed to get things in order.

    Have you looked at the guest post I did on RS at http://freetheanimal.com/2013/04/resistant-assimilation-resistance.html

    Let us know how you get on in the coming weeks!

    • thanks tater, that’s very good to know.
      on a positive note, i had no other negative symptoms, so as you say, i probably just need to introduce/increase slowly & give my gut time to adjust.

      & thx for the link, had not seen it, so will have a read.

  2. @Tatetot
    I’ve been paleo/primal/PHD for over 3 years now, dropping 75 lbs along the way, and I’m quite interested in giving the potato diet a shot. There are tons of forum pages about it on Marksdailyapple, but I don’t feel like searching every single one to find a simple answer. How much potato should I eat per day? I’m a 26 y/o female, 185 pounds, ~31% BF. Thanks 🙂

    • Simple answer is: between 1.5 and 3 pounds per day, as plain as possible, ie. salt/pepper/vinegar, a little ketchup. Drink water, tea, coffee as desired.

      Eat them any way you like, If fried, use to oil. I like to boil and cool 5 pounds of small potatoes to have handy for quick snack or lunch.

      Shoot for 3-5 days, no more than 10-14. If you don’t like it by day 3. Quit. No harm, no foul. You may be a get a bit hungry, if so eat another potato, but don’t try to eat 5 pounds a day or you won’t lose anything.

  3. Tatertot & Other RS Consummers
    On your FTA blog post you state that you went from 5-6 to 3-4 on the Bristol scale and and that you think this an improvement. That is backwards, think infant poo. In my experience (2-1/2 year experiment) gut bacteria is very hard to alter and natural timescale seems to be measured in ½ years. In my experience gut status is critical to health and if this is true and the gut flora is very slow to change, ill considered experiments can be dangerous, so beware. The stool morphology is a way to infer what is going on but this is not well studied or reported in literature so personal experiments can be valuable .

    • Morris – Interesting what you are saying. What I have read, and seen, gut bacteria can be altered in weeks, not months, but it’s possible your real-life experience is different.

      Here’s my take on using potato starch/resistant starch for gut health:

      We eat probiotics like yogurt and fermented vegetables to provide beneficial bacteria which we want to live mainly in our large intestine. However, most standard diets, even the Perfect Health Diet, only provides a fraction of the food these probiotic strains need to fully populate our gut.

      If we feed them a bit of dietary fiber or other undigested food, it may be enough to keep them alive, but only in a small portion of the intestine.

      Many studies have shown that 30-50g/day of RS over a period of about 28 days will cause the beneficial bacteria to fully populate the large intestine. Lots of good studies in these comments on previous page.

      re: Bristol Scale. Konstantin Monastyrski, author of Fiber Menace, says this:

      ” Type 4: Like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft

      This form is normal for someone defecating once daily. The diameter is 1 to 2 cm (0.4–0.8”). The larger diameter suggests a longer transit time or a large amount of dietary fiber in the diet.

      » Type 5: Soft blobs with clear-cut edges

      I consider this form ideal. It is typical for a person who has stools twice or three times daily, after major meals. The diameter is 1 to 1.5 cm (0.4–0.6”).”

      So, going by that, I would say mine are now type 4. A low-carb paleo diet kept them closer to 5.

      That’s all I ever want to say about that, Wish I had never brought it up!

    • i’m guessing that the time it takes to change (improve) gut bacteria is person dependent.

      ie. in people with a healthy digestive systems, it is weeks.
      & the studies that “have shown that 30-50g/day of RS over a period of about 28 days will cause the beneficial bacteria to fully populate the large intestine” are likely done with those people as subjects (people with a healthy gut).

      And, in people with unhealthy digestive systems, it may take months. Or even longer, which i guess is why some people look to faecal transplants as a last resort, after trying ‘everything else’.

  4. Back to the original topic of potatoes, I came across this today that I found very interesting. I will split in 2 posts…

    Potatoes would not seem obvious candidates for domestication. Wild tubers are laced with solanine and tomatine, toxic compounds thought to defend the plants against attacks from dangerous organisms like fungi, bacteria, and human beings. Cooking often breaks down a plant’s chemical defenses – many beans for example are safe to eat only after being soaked and heated – but solanine and tomatine are unaffected by the pot and oven. Andean people apparently neutralized them by eating dirt: clay to be precise. In the altiplano, guanacos and vicunas (wild relatives of the llama) lick clay before eating poisonous plants. The toxins in the floage stick – more technicallyy absorb – to the fine clay particles. Bound to dirt the harmful substances pass through the animals’ digestive system without affecting it. Mimicking this process, Indians apparently dunked wild potatoes in a “gravy” made of clay and water. Eventually they bred less lethal varieties, though some of the old poisonous varieties still remain, favored for their resistance to frost. Bags of clay dust are still sold in mountain markets to accompany them on the table.

    • Tatertot, this is really great info. thanks so much.
      Now I’m wondering if I could get the benefits of potato starch by pickling potato slices? The fermenting might deal with the toxins as well?
      P.S. One small nitpick: you meant adsorb, not absorb.

  5. part 2

    Andean Indians ate potatoes boiled, baked and mashed as people in Europe and North America do. But they also consumed them in forms still little known outside the highlands. Potatoes were boiled, peeled, choppedand dried to make papas secas; fermented for months in stagnant water to create a sticky, odoriferous toqosh; ground to pulp, soaked in a jug, and filtered to produce almidón de papa (potato starch). The most ubiquitous concoction was chuno, made by spreading potatoes outside to freeze on cold nights. As it expands the ice inside potato cell walls ruptures cel walls. The potatoes are thawed by morning sun, then frozen again the next night. Repeated freeze-thaw cycles transform the spuds into soft, juicy blobs. Farmers squeeze out the water and produce chuno: stiff styrofoam like nodules about two-thirds smaller than the original tubers. Long exposure to the sun turns them gray-black; cooked into a spicy Andean stew, they resemble gnocchi, the potato-flour dumplings favored in central Italy. Chuno can be kept for years without refrigeration, meaning that it can be stored as insurance against bad harvests. It was the food that sustained the conquering Inca armies.”

    from http://organicpotatostarch.com/who-invented-potato-starch/

  6. Tatertot
    Bacteria are parasites. The benefit of increasing parasitic load is an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence. Where would such be found? There are very little data on human gut flora and health impact. I have seen a few studies which compared bacteria phyla (eg Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes) using bulk genome analyses in the gut relative to diet composition in young healthy subjects. The findings were inconclusive but found no change in bacterial composition over a period of 6 (IIRC) weeks from altering diets composition. My understanding is that the general view is that gut bacteria are very refractive to change. My experiment focuses on reducing the gut parasites and I have had slow but steady improvement. I did not begin with any clinical symptoms or overweight issues. Good luck with your experiment but I remain unconvinced.

    • Morris – no offense, but have you been living in a cave?

      Gut microflora, especially that of the large intestine, but also that found in the mouth, stomach, and small intestine all play very important roles in overall health.

      Maybe start reading here: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2010/07/bowel-disease-part-iv-restoring-healthful-gut-flora/

      And here: http://www.open-access-biology.com/probiotics/bird/bird.html

      • tatertot, I think Morris means that simply providing more food for the gut flora is not always a good idea.

        In my case, I think I may have overdone the starch a bit – I was shooting for 30g of raw starch but that seems too much as evidenced by “current events” 🙄 Also, I got a bit of a cold which is a pretty rare event nowadays (I’m managing it fine with large VitC doses). I don’t know if it is related to gut flora having a party but it seems plausible that immune function can be impaired that way.

        I’m going to start doing 10g in the morning with little else and increase by 5g every 2-3 days. I’m doing this because after 2 years of PHD I still don’t think my gut flora is 100% benign. Here’s hoping that this will improve matters.

        • Good luck, Wout! Hope it works out.

          As to what Morris is saying, I have heard the argument several other places, Ray peat for one, that the best gut is a sterile gut. These guys love antibiotics because it cleans you out. I mean–who would WANT little bugs in them??? That’s the mentality I have seen. Maybe I’m wrong, tho.

          • Yeah that’s a terrible approach. In the Q&A there was a lady who unfortunately had most of her colon removed and she has tons of issues because of it.

            BTW, reading the gut health blog post again, I’m also going to forego mineral supplementation for a couple days and perhaps add some acids like lemon juice with the morning starch or perhaps I do that coffee/coconut/berry/starch smoothy you concocted. We’ll see how it goes.

          • I think somebody could get rich marketing a cheap smoothie blend of different RS starches, like a blend of potato, arrowroot, and green banana starches or some such, maybe even some things to give it a good flavor.

            I normally don’t eat breakfast, but lately have been blending up 2-3 egg yolks, coffee, blueberries, and 4TBS of potato starch. Sometimes I’ll add a banana or cocoa powder. It makes a nice, thick smoothie and takes care of my egg yolk and RS requirements for the day.

            Would also be good with yogurt, coconut milk, milk,etc…

            Let us know how the lemon juice works. Perhaps also some good apple cider vinegar would help.

        • I’m by far not an expert but what you are describing sounds to me like a die off reaction possible stimulated by the beneficial bacteria out performing in growth over the bad bacteria. This causes them to die and giving you an ugly reaction ie. bowel distress, immune suppression etc. Activated charcoal can help with this by absorbing toxins released as the bacteria die and their place is taken by the good guys.

  7. Resistant Starch contents comparisons, from link to jn.nutrition.org

    Found some interesting data. The study linked above was designed to test RS contents in various foods, but also checked the RS in different starches.

    They determined that RS values are hard to pin down, but the best way was with ileostomy patients, because they could intercept the starch as it departed the small intestine to see how much remained. Any starch detected here would be resistant starch, as it escaped digestion in the small intestine.

    Their conclusions are just as we have been discussing here: RS is available in lots of foods, but it would be hard to get 50g from food, especially paleo food. Baked goods with Hi-Maize cornstarch seems to be the only way to get a reliable amount of RS into a standard diet.

    This table really stood out though: link to jn.nutrition.org

    Table 2 shows the RS content in several starches: Raw potato starch, cooked potato starch, raw corn starch, and Hi-Maize (Extruded retrograded high amylose cornstarch).

    Here are the advertised values of RS in these starches, as determined by in vivo calculations:

    Raw potato starch – 66- 87%
    Cooked potato starch – 0%
    Raw corn starch – 69-71%
    Hi-Maize – 30-35%

    Here are the RS contents of these foods as measured in vitro in ileostomy patients:

    Raw potato starch – 83%
    Cooked potato starch – 0%
    Raw corn starch – 50%
    Hi-Maize – 35%

    The reason that Hi-Maize falls short, is that it is heat-modified so it can withstand the heat of baking. Raw corn starch would be a much better source if used cold, as in the SuperStarch Energy Drinks by Generation UCan.

    Still, you can see, that raw potato starch blows them all away, and is much cheaper per pound than the others.

  8. I gave getting RS from whole safe starches a really hard try, but found I was only getting a fraction of what the studies were using and recommending.

    Changing out potatoes for beans only gets you an extra couple grams, and the biggest sources of RS are from processed grain foods.

    Look at the conclusion of this study (link above):

    “Several nutritional advantages can be anticipated with products rich in RS. Such foods are usually associated with lower postprandial responses of glucose and insulin. In addition, the RS fraction will provide substrate to the colonic microflora, thus promoting short-chain fatty acid production in the colon with potential health benefits.

    On this basis, identification of foods rich in RS could have an effect on nutrition. Examples of such foods are pumpernickel-type bread and leguminous products. The daily intake of white wheat bread in a Swedish diet is ?106 g/d. Assuming an exchange of 50% of the white bread for bread with inclusion of 80% scalded barley, the daily RS intake would increase from 0.1 to 4.2 g. Similarly, when 50% of the starch intake from potatoes (167 g/d) is exchanged for legumes, the daily RS intake would increase by an additional 1.3 g.”

    • From what you’ve said before, wouldn’t it be fairly easy to add in some potato starch with meals to get the benefits of RS intake of 20 to 50 g./day? If it doesn’t fit into what you’re eating just mix it into some water. Isn’t that preferable to regressing and eating grains and legumes which contain toxins in order to get the RS?

      • Ever since I read the original post I have been mixing two tablespoons of the Bob’s Red Mill potato starch into a half glass of warm water both in the morning and the evening. It’s not remotely hard to get down that way and in fact has a very slightly sweet flavor.
        The only noticeable results have been considerable intermittent (and oftentimes smelly) gas (which is possibly getting better), but I think this has something to do with that fact that I go through periods of constipation, and have most of my life. The starch hasn’t seemed to help in this regard as of yet.

        • @PeterC – I would keep on with it. It should take about 30 days to grow the good gut bacteria to full levels and get rid of the bad. I’d love to hear what happens to you after 30 days.

          The glucose modulating effect of RS happens immediately, though, as a function of the low glycemic index which slows gastric emptying and produces butyrate, so even if gut bacteria isn’t optimal at this stage, you are still getting benefits of the RS in other ways.

          Be careful the water you mix it with isn’t too warm. If it gelatinizes the otato starch, it is no longer resistant. Luke warm is fine, hot is not. 120 degrees is probably too hot.

          When I first started getting lots of RS from food, I had some gassiness, too, which went away after a couple weeks.

        • on the subject of gas…
          it could be an increase in Nitrogen,
          just found this,
          “During the high-RS diet daily excretion of fecal nitrogen increased from 1.84 +/- 0.15 to 2.86 +/- 0.42 g/d”

          from here,
          “Resistant starch lowers fecal concentrations of ammonia and phenols in humans”

          • I noticed that with lower amounts of RS the amount of gas diminishes (which is logical) but the smell also changes.

            It seems that more RS you eat, the smellier the gas. Maybe smell means that it’s not being digested properly whereas odorless gas is benign, and smells “in between” are a mix of the two.

          • From your link: “These results suggest that RS significantly attenuates the accumulation of potentially harmful byproducts of protein fermentation in the human colon.”

            Isn’t this what the latest red meat scare was about? Maybe we found the solution!

          • Regarding gas.

            A study I recently read, measured microflora populations during a 17 week, 33g/day, RS feeding. They found that Bifidobacteria, a family of bacteria which inhabit 90% of breastfed babies guts, bot only 5% of adult guts, increases significantly (up to 20% of total)over three weeks.

            Bifidobacteria’s end product is gasless and odorless, mainly butyrate, I believe.

          • if that is the case then even the simplest probiotic available (and most live yoghurt?) coupled with a couple of weeks RS feeding should result in gasless RS processing…

            In any case, starting at a 10g potato starch dose seems to have resulted in reduction of gas over a 3 day period. I’m upping my dose tomorrow to 15g.

          • Wout – That’s exactly what I’m thinking, too.


            This is the study I was referencing. If you read it very carefully, it is showing that on a 33g/day RS diet, the strains of gut flora remain the same (good and bad) but the population size of the bad (enterobacteria) decrease and populations of good microflora (bifidobacteria) increase.

            This is what microbewiki says about the bifidobacteria family:

            “Bifidobacteria, called probiotics, are a natural part of the bacterial flora in the human body and have a symbiotic bacteria-host relationship with humans. B. longum promotes good digestion, boosts the immune system, and produces lactic and acetic acid that controls intestinal pH. These bacteria also inhibit the growth of Candida albicans, E. coli, and other bacteria that have more pathogenic qualities than Bifidobacteria.”

            So, basically, anytime you take a probiotic, you are eating some bifidobacteria. Eating RS allows the probiotics to outgrow the bad guys, but won’t kill them off–which is probably a good thing.

            Another common theme when you read about gut flora is that ‘good’ flora is ‘Gram-positive’ and ‘bad’ flora is ‘Gram-negative’. RS allows the Gram-positive types to flourish and the Gram-negative types to diminish.

            I don’t know what Gram-positive and negative really means, but it seems important to the topic of RS. I plan on digging into it when I have a bit more time.

          • gram-negative/postive has to do with the difference structure of the bacteria. Body Fluids or cultured cells are applied to a slide, heat dried, and then they are stained with crystal violet & iodine – and then rinsed with acetone, and then a counter stain is applied. Viewed under a microscope, you can see the morphology of the cells. It’s a simple and short process, easily done with cheap supplies.


          • Thanks, Carol; so I wonder how that relates to good vs bad for gut flora? One thing about the bad, is they can actually stay alive outside the body, like Salmonella and e. coli, and have a means of moving around. The good bacteria are very sensitive to their environment and have no means of locomotion.

            Feeding RS seems to give an edge to the good strains of bifido allowing them to outpace the bad guys.

      • Yes, that’s the idea. I wouldn’t think of eating grains, legumes maybe on occasion, but not enough for a steady supply of RS.

        4TBS of potato starch at once or throughout the day is around 30g of RS. This, plus the 5-10g I get from safe starches should be optimal.

        • I just got some and tried 2 tablespoons in a glass of water and found it to be just as Peter described. Perfectly innocuous – I can easily include this with my 2 daily meals. With my digestive history especially, this is a really good idea. Thanks

  9. http://freetheanimal.com/2013/05/resistant-starch-4-letter-word-nope-goal-create-mashed-potatoes-a-diabetic-can-eat-every-day.html#comment-479462

    Really good discussion of potato starch and other RS sources. A lot of what i’m saying over there came from some of the discussion and links to studies you guys posted here. I’m trying to give credit where I can!

  10. Hi tatertot,

    I have been following you and the RS/potato research since I began PHD in January. 🙂 We have a group of PHD’ers who have decided to try out the Bob’s Red Mill RS as a trial and see how it could benefit us. Most of us are following PHD very closely, but a few are following various other paleo woe. This is my 2nd week of trying the RS, and I literally had to stop after 5 days because I became so bloated. The great thing is that I took about 3 days off and have decided to start again, but only have 2 tbsp per day for a week and then work up to 3-4 tbsp. My question for you is~ “have you known anyone who is pre-diabetic or diabetic have good results by supp’ing with RS?” I am not pre-diabetic, but we have a couple who are in this category.

    I love how the RS is helping me with my daily 16 hour fast. I wake up around 6:00 am and feel very satisfied until my fast period is over which is around 10:30 am. We would love to have you over at our thread if you have any advice for the PHD group.

    We are very interested in continuing this n=1 trial for the health benefits and the effects of RS on body fat patterning and appetite regulation as referenced here…

    Please come join us any time here…


    Thank you tatertot for all of your great research and wise advice!


    • Another tip to allow your gut flora to adapt/adjust to the potato starch is to limit the size of each ‘dose’ as well.

      I started limiting to 1 tbl, initially once per day, & currently twice per day.

      When i initially ‘jumped in’ at 2 tbls per dose, twice per day. I didn’t have a bloat problem, just too much gas. I guess i was ‘lucky’ and i could expel the gas, otherwise it may have turned in to a bloat issue as well.

      • Thanks Darrin. I may have been a bit too anxious to get this going and tried to start out at 3 tbsp right away. I am warning the rest to take it slow, as you suggest. 😀

  11. Two more questions,I was mixing my RS in with my first lemon juice/acv/water cocktail that I drink in the morning. I was told by another lady that is doing this with Hi-Maize that we shouldn’t be mixing with vinegar or lemon juice, because it negates the Resistance. Is this, in fact, so?

    Also, can we spread the dosage out throughout the day? 1 tbsp before each meal? One lady took her dose at bedtime and then was up all night with severe insomnia.

    Thank you!

  12. @Sunday – That is a great study you linked to–I think the satiety aspect will be what gets RS some attention.

    As to vinegar and lemon juice, no problem. Only heat can destroy RS.

    I agree with Darrin about starting slowly. Almost everyone is experiencing a bit more gas, I think it is just a natural progression as gut microbes change. If it causes pain and bloating, stop. Nothing ventured–nothing gained, though. I think 1/2 – 1TBS a day starting out for a couple weeks even may be best.

    You can take it spread out however you like, shouldn’t make a difference at all. Most of the studies supplied it to volunteers in a spread-out fashion. I have found that for lowering morning FBG it only works if I take my complete dose right after dinner. Any other time and maybe my BG is lowered throughout the day, but if I take it right after dinner, I find I am not wanting to snack in the evening, get a great night of sleep, and wake up with FBG in the 80-95 range.

    I would love to come and join your discussion on Low Carb Friends, but I have some issues with the moderators there. I posted a bit a while back and (gasp) included a relevant link to this site, and promptly got put on a strict moderation list. It made it impossible to join a conversation, so until they relax their no-link policy…I’m surprised you could start a PHD thread. I got in trouble for just using the initials PHD once.

    I don’t know how you can manage it, but you should try to get everyone to look at: http://digestivehealthinstitute.org/2013/05/resistant-starch-friend-or-foe/ It’s written for people who have intestinal troubles and maybe RS is not the best for them. Norm Robillard is a darn smart guy on gut health!

    Good luck! I get an email if there are new comments here, so ask away!

    • I missed your question on pre/diabetics;

      I am not officially prediabetic, but was once. My FBG has been in the 115-130 range for several years, even while eating PHD style. With an evening dose of 4TBS of potato starch, my FBG will be 80-95.

      At: http://freetheanimal.com/2013/05/resistant-starch-4-letter-word-nope-goal-create-mashed-potatoes-a-diabetic-can-eat-every-day.html we have a good discussion going and one guy said this:

      “Phil Parsons // May 12, 2013 at 03:31

      I’m a pretty big guy (6’4? 265lbs) and half-measures don’t usually apply, so I jumped right in and had 4tbsp of potato starch last night (Littleton Grist Mill brand link to littletongristmillonline.com ). I’m LC (<30g carb/day) and a well-controlled (AFBG <90) T1 diabetic as well, so maybe that perspective can add something.

      – I had two servings of 2tbsp in large glasses of water, an hour before dinner (~6pm), and 1 hour after (~8pm), shortly before bed. No real intent to this, 2tbsp just seemed like the saturation point and I didn't want to deal with clumping.

      – Zero post-meal hunger cravings last night (and none this morning as I write this), although that is highly variable for me anyway.

      – At about 8:30pm, I experienced a sudden rush of euphoria – I couldn't stop grinning like an idiot – that lasted for at least a half-hour. It was seriously weird, but nice.

      – Around the same time I became extremely drowsy. Not the exhausted, can't-keep-my-eyes-open kind (my usual, I normally wake up at 4am), just a very pleasant sleepiness that is usually the prelude to a really kick-ass sleep.

      – Sleep was deep, completely refreshing, and filled with rich, detailed, narrative dreams. If I was awakened (usually by cats) I fell back into dream-state effortlessly (unusual for me, I'm one of those when-I'm-up-I'm-up kind of people).

      – The cats had to work extra hard to wake me this morning (they had to send in the Big Gun, our 27lb male, to sit on my chest). If not for them I might have slept till who-knows-when, again highly unusual for me.

      – I was a little bit gassy this morning, and I do feel like there is something afoot in "the works", but nothing like others have reported. However, I am a bit sluggish in this area anyway, so I would have been surprised to experience anything dramatic within the first 12 hours.

      – FBG was about 20 points lower than I would have expected this morning (57mg/dl). Since I am high-fat low-carb the seemingly low number itself isn’t unusual, but I’ve been titrating my long-acting insulin dose and so my numbers have actually been on the high side for the last few days (~100-110mg/dl)."

      and this:

      "Quick Day 3 update:
      – I’ve been having 2tbsp with water an hour or two before dinner, and another 2tbsp either with or after dinner.

      – My post-meal BG increases are very mild, but since I eat HFLC 99% of the time, that might not prove much, other than that potato starch has very little apparent effect on BG level.

      – Similarly, my FBG is typically <90, but as discussed further up the thread this is a less useful datum coming from a T1D. Within limits, my FBG could be almost whatever I wish it to be. But again, this demonstrates that 4tbsp of a highly refined starch can be a good fit for a BG management strategy.

      – I consistently get a brief euphoric rush about an hour after the first serving. Am I the only one so far it happens to?

      – I sleep more soundly and dream vividly. Loving that part, almost worth the price of admission alone.

      – I do get more gassy than normal, but it is not extremely offensive, and doesn't last long. So far no change in bathroom visits, but I am sometimes a 1-2x per week kind of fella, so even three days might not be enough time for big changes to manifest."

      • hi tater, re bathroom visits, that is the only thing that has changed with me and my wife. after only 4 day’s. wife on 1 tblsp x 2/day. me on 2tblsp x 2/day.bathroom visits are every day sometime 2 times. volume and passability are 10 out of 10.
        i have not seen any improvement in FBG.
        thks alfred

        • Alfred – not sure what your FBG and such is now, but I see the biggest change in mine when I take 4TBS right after dinner. I usually eat around 6, potato starch and all eating done by 7, then to bed around 10pm.

          Done that way, my FBG is 79-96 over last couple weeks, down from 110-130 range.

          I noticed some pretty big changes in “#2” right away, also. None for the worse. Also got really flatulent about 2-3 weeks into it. Now I’m on week 6 and everything seems to be at a perfectly normal pace and having no flatulence out of the ordinary.

          • hi Tater, my FBG ranges 125-135.
            have been taking 2TBS PS with breakfast at 1p.m. and 2TBS just befor bed at 10-30p.m. i will try your suggestion re adding PS to lunchtime sour cream, also i will try 4TBS after dinner and report back. I wonder if Paul could answer this one ” if we are getting lots of RS from PS is there still a reason to eat potatoes,” especially we who are Blood Glucose challenged.

  13. Ah,yes, I have been reprimanded a few times as well. 🙁 It is Netrition’s fault. They only allow their site to be linked. I am able to link educational sites such as pubmed and nutritional journal, but if it has links to items for sale, that is where we are moderated. All of us have found a way to send folks to this site, but saying go to PHD and search for “tatertot”. You are celeb to all of us who do the tater fast as well as RS. 😛
    I just discovered PHD while doing the tater hack of all things. I have always IF’d and paleo, but prior to trying the tater hack had never ventured over to Perfect Health to find out more about this plan. It is agreeing with me very much.

    Thank you for all of the answers. I am back to 3 tbsp today. Didn’t have any problem yesterday. I will have the last tbsp after dinner. I will come back and report my findings. I don’t check my blood glucose, but I am having blood work done in the near future.

    • Richard at Free the Animal is working on another blog piece with dozens of pertinent studies and links. What I can say about RS is that it is definitely a well-studied element with numerous connections to good health, weight loss, satiety, etc…

      The problem is, it’s all studies. We are the only people in the world, as far as I know, who are targeting daily RS intakes in the ranges used in the studies.

      All the studies say the RS is well-tolerated, but almost everyone in real life is getting pretty well gassed up. Whether this is a hurdle we can overcome is yet to be seen.

      Paul J.’s take is that RS is a good thing, but probably just what is found in real foods. I’m thinking there is a shortage as far as the bigger benefits and only a targeted supplement will get us to a level where satiety, lipid metabolism, weightloss, etc… will occur.

      Amount, timing, source, are all wildcards at this point and it’s all self-experimentation by a few brave souls. The Perfect Health Diet as laid out in the book probably provides 8-10g/day of RS. Each TBS of potato starch is an extra 8g. I’m telling everyone to start low and work up over a month or so.

  14. Oh, what is your Username at LCF’s? I can ask the mods to ensure that you are allowed to post, but I understand if it is not your cup of tea. 😉

  15. Quite a few of us are anxious for this site to get their own forum. I have a difficult time keeping up with all of the answers from Paul. Although, I try and read here daily.

  16. I have done a few experiments at lunch with potato starch this week.

    Monday and Wednesday, my lunch was exactly the same: 1 baked potato, no skin; 1 can of sardines packed in water; 2TBS of sour cream. I checked my BG before and 1 hour after. Mon – 79 before, 135 after. Wed – 97 before, 142 after.

    Tuesday and Thursday (today), my lunch was exactly the same, but I mixed 1 TBS of potato starch in with the sour cream: Tue – 96 before, 96 after. Today – 94 before, 97 after.

    If anybody else has a BG monitor, I’d love to see some others play with this.

    Taking a sample at only the 1 hour point maybe misses some important readings, but I think the readings speak volumes for what is going on. There is a definite change in the way the cooked starch from the potato is being absorbed. Maybe at the end of the day it doesn’t make a hoot, but I think it’s pretty cool.

  17. We now have a few Canadians at LCF’s that are having difficulty finding Bob’s Red Mills and Hi-Maize. Would regular corn starch do the same as potato starch for this resistant starch trial? How much should she take?

    I found plantains yesterday and am very anxious to try and make some chips with them. I will not heat but just allow to dry in sun. Is this okay? We will be reaching 90 degrees today. Very sunny here. 😉

    • Regular corn starch will not work at all! It is almost 0% RS.

      Can’t they order off Amazon in Canada? Any potato starch will do as long as it is unmodified. If it says ‘pre-gelatinized’ or ‘modified’ it won’t work. If they find some and aren’t sure, they can call the company that makes/supplies it. Another way to test it is to take a couple TBS and see if it spikes blood sugar, raw potato starch won’t spike it at all–pregelatinized will spike it just like sugar.

      Sun drying plantains is probably the best way! Flip them often to prevent black spots. If you can spread them out on a screen, even better.

    • hi sunday. Bob’s red mill potato starch is avaliable in the health food store in midland ont. so it can be gotten, they would probibly ship to you 705 526 0480.

    • Hi, Sunday
      If you’re still looking for Bob’s Red Mill potato starch in Canada, it’s readily available at all Sobey’s (check in their gluten free section), and Save-on Foods (Overweightea Foods). Sometimes it hides in the Baking Aisle, with other gluten free mixes.

  18. Thanks. One more question. How is corn starch not resistant and High Maize is?

    A couple of more good links that I stumbled upon…

    Apologies if you have posted these already.



  19. Regular corn starch is made from regular corn, low in RS. Hi-Maize is made from corn specially bred to be high in RS, then it’s treated in hot water under pressure so it can withstand the heat of baking. That is why I am leery of it. Three strikes: Corn, special breeding, modification.

    I’ll check out the links!

  20. I agree that corn is out for me and if she were following PHD fully, it would not be even a question. I believe she still eats corn. 😐

  21. Update on my efforts: I’m comfortably at 40g of Raw Potato Starch a day, taking it after dinner, mostly with yoghurt. I went up to that level by starting at 10g and adding 5g a day, sometimes staying at the same level, judging by amount and “heat” of windiness.

    Right now I only produce a little extra gas and when I do it’s not smelly.

    Changes I noticed:
    – Less fat covering my abs
    – Excellent daily motion 🙂

    – definitely better satiation. E.g. only eating half the piece of chocolate and leaving the rest for later. I just don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. I eat a big lunch and a smallish dinner where I would normally eat big twice.
    Is it because I don’t need more nutrients (the PHD satiation theory) or because my gut can’t cope with all the fermentation?
    – probably related: mild weightloss, still within healthy range

    Not so good:
    – All the time that I was increasing my dose I had a cold. This is the longest I’ve had one since starting PHD. Now that I’m maintaining my dose at 40g and not producing as much gas it seems to be improving. I find this very interesting but it could be a coincidence.

    All in all I really like it so far. I think of it as a bicycle for the gut.

    • Forgot to add, a few times I added a probiotic (for children, it’s what I had 😉 ). It contains bifidus and the days I added it I had the impression I had less gassy.

  22. I had one of those moments where the hair on the back of my neck stood up yesterday. Read this and tell me if you can see any similarities between gastric bypass and eating potato starch/resistant starch:


    Wout – good job on your N=1. Strange about the cold…

    As to me, I’m on about week 8 of 4TBS/day potato starch and have started adding in some plantain flour, I’m probably getting 40g RS per day–10g from PHD foods and 30g from supplemental. Gas has completely normalized. FBG stays under 100. Hunger is completely normal. Sleep is excellent.

    I also came across another paper recently that examined stone-age feces found preserved in the desert in Northern Mexico/Texas. From the exam, they found this group of hunter-gatherers was getting 135g/day of non-digestible fiber. They didn’t mention RS, but it was interesting that this paleolithic group was eating way more fiber than previously thought. http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=7793089 click on ‘view pdf’ to see whole paper.

    • It’s a pity they did not study ghrelin levels in that mice study.
      Some of the common thinking at the moment is that circulating ghrelin is normalized in obese individuals following gastric bypass surgery.

      One theory being that “gastric bypass may disrupt ghrelin secretion by isolating ghrelin-producing cells from direct contact with ingested nutrients, which normally regulate ghrelin levels”

      But ‘me wonders’ if a change to Gut Microbes, as in that mice study, may also result in a change to ghrelin secretion. (would have been nice to know).

    • I also seem to remember seeing/reading (possibly on this site), fecal transplants (from non-obese healthy individuals) being used to ‘treat’ obese individuals.
      Which would concur with that mice study.

      • …even if the thought of fecal-transplants grossed you out, if it were to work, it sure beats gastric bypass surgery.

  23. Fecal transplants will be popular once they work the bugs out–pun intended.

    What I find interesting about the change in gut microbes after bypass surgery, is that the microbes responsible for the changes had to be there all along, but the change in feeding patterns after surgery allowed them to grow and do their business.

    This same thing has been found in the resistant starch studies. If the microbes aren’t there to begin with, no amount of RS will bring them into being. But if they are there, a high RS diet will normalize and optimize the gut microbe populations.

    I was reading recently about fecal transplants not ‘taking’ in a lot of people. I’ll bet they end up finding they need to feed them RS to get them growing correctly–just my guess.

  24. Cris – tapioca starch is a mystery to me. It comes from the Cassava root. Cassava starch is said to be 80% RS by weight–which is huge!

    Normally the term ‘flour’ is given to the whole ground plant, ie. potato flour is cooked/dried/ground potatoes–very minimal RS. But potato starch is extracted from raw potatoes and dried–high RS.

    So if you could find unmodified Cassava Starch, it would be a great source of RS. The stuff you can buy, like from Bob’s Red Mill, is called tapioca flour, and the package says “also known as tapioca starch”. I don’t know what to make of it.

    The only way to tell at home, I guess, would be to do a glucose test on yourself. Eat 50g of sugar and track your blood glucose, then eat 50g of tapioca flour and track your blood glucose. If it has no effect on BG, it’s RS.

    Cooked tapioca has zero RS. The term ‘tapioca’ makes me suspicious that tapioca flour/starch has no RS. But it could contain 80% RS if it is actually just Cassava starch by a different name.

    At $13.00 for 5lbs, if it was 80% RS it would be a really good deal.

    From Bob’s website:

    “Tapioca flour, also known as tapioca starch, is a starchy white flour that has a slight sweet flavor to it. Tapioca flour is an alternative to traditional wheat flours and has a variety of uses in baking. The flour is made from the starch extracted from the South American cassava plant. When the roots have fully developed, they are harvested and processed to remove toxins. The starch is then extracted from the root by a repeated process of washing and pulping the mixture, then separating off the liquid.”

    • Hi Tater, Well i did a home test with the tapioca flour/starch. At 12:30pm my BG was 83, at this point I made a drink with the tapioca flour/starch just water and the tapioca. But I only took 25g. An hour later my BG was 96, and two hours later my BG was 93. Doesn’t sound like RS does it? I only had 3 test strips left so it was just enough to do the test. Maybe I’ll make my own dehydrated cassava root. thanks for your ideas and your contributions here.

      • I really believe that BRM Tapioca may be resistant starch. Is the blood test, the only way we can find out?

        • Let me do some digging. There is a customer service rep at BRM that was very helpful with the potato starch questions I had, we’ll see what she can find about the tapioca starch. I’ll post results here!

          I hope you are right.

          However, if you can take 4TBS and it has minimal impact on BG, I would say it is RS mainly.

  25. Tatertot,
    Do you know of anyone who shouldn’t take the PS due to health concerns?

    I would like to warn of someone who has had bad experience with PS and who also suffers with Crohn’s. She believes that the PS irritated the Crohn’s and is now suffering the consequences. I have tried to research this, but of course, as you say we may be the only group who is taking this on a regular basis. So, that would limit any others having developed any issues. Except for the athletes that are following Peter Attia with UCAN.

  26. The only warning I have heard was from Norm Robillard, http://digestivehealthinstitute.org/2013/05/resistant-starch-friend-or-foe/#comment-44831 He specializes in digestive disorders and warns that people with Small Intestina Bacterial Overgrowth should not consume RS as it can feed the bacteria in the small intestine, resulting in flare-ups of GERD and IBS.

    Concerning Crohn’s and IBS, this is from a Crohn’s forum, and full of misleading info: http://www.crohnsforum.com/wiki/Resistant-Starches

    This is a study http://jn.nutrition.org/content/141/7/1318.full and there are many, many like it, that indicate the increased SCFA/butyrate from RS is protective and curative for IBD, which is mainly comprised of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

    This is a pretty mainstream organization that has recently recommended RS for patients with IBD, but I haven’t seen the full report – http://journals.lww.com/co-gastroenterology/Abstract/2013/03000/Resistant_starch___a_promising_dietary_agent_for.15.aspx

    My two initial thoughts–and I am NOT A DOCTOR! Are that she may indeed have Crohn’s, which wasn’t impacted by the RS, but may also have a small intestine problem where RS could be causing problems.

    RS is not supposed to digest at all in the small intestine because the bacteria that digest it are not supposed to be present in the SI. If they are, and it does digest in the SI, it could possibly cause painful bloating and reflux.

    Hope this helps.

  27. Also wanted to add this:

    From: http://www.open-access-biology.com/probiotics/bird/bird.html

    “IBS is characterised by disordered gut motility and pain with bloating, diarrhoea and/or constipation and while it can affect the whole gut, its primary focus appears to be the large bowel. The condition appears to be to be unrelated to fibre intake. IBD occurs in two main forms – ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease. The former occurs mostly in the distal colon and is characterised by surface ulceration and bleeding. Crohn’s disease may be found throughout the GI tract but has a primary focus at the ileo-caecal junction. The microflora have been implicated in both conditions but it appears that disordered cytokine production (possibly due to inadequate n-3 fatty acid intake) is involved in Crohn’s disease (Topping and Bird, 1999). ”

    From what I understand, if there is a problem in someone with the junction between the small and large intestine (ileal brake) then SIBO is highly possible.

    So, I guess to answer Sunday’s question: Who should be wary of trying RS? My answer would be:

    Anyone who has possible Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth or any chronic condition of the small or large intestine.

    But ultimately, RS is just a normal food. Nothing really special. Anyone eating a good diet, like the PHD recommends, should be getting a substantial amount of RS anyway. Adding RS, in the form of potato starch, banana flour, or even Hi-Maize corn starch found in commercial baked goods, is just a way to boost the RS content of your diet without having to eat green bananas and cold potatoes every day.

  28. Thank you! I had bloating in the beginning, but have since then (on my 4th week) resolved the bloating. I do give myself a break from RS EOD, which seems to be the perfect combo for me. I will proceed to caution visitors to the PHD site to only try RS as a supplement that may need to be watched carefully for any uncomfortable side effects. I truly believe that it has helped me with my stamina as well. I have noticed that I am able to stay out in the yard working for much longer periods.

    Other than RS also helping to temper my appetite, and sleep through the night, I haven’t had any other positive/negative effects as of yet. I know that it is protecting me from colorectal cancer and the other various health benefits are my good reasons for using potato starch.

  29. Just thought I would add this link here which I stumbled upon when going to your link about Crohn’s. http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Resistant-starch-may-aid-in-IBD-and-cancer-resistance-Study

    This suggests that RS could indeed help Crohn’s and IBD sufferers. 😎

    I am amazed that I have learned so much about RS in such a brief time period. I have been pouring over the athlete’s reviews over at Peter Attia’s blog and it is great to know that it helps for endurance in such a great way.

  30. Sunday – Nice to hear you guys on Low Carb Friends are giving this a try. I think it’s one of those things that you just have to trust is being helpful. Kind of like Vits K2 and D3…I take them both, if I run out of one and don’t re-supply for a month, I don’t notice any difference, but the science is there that they are both needed and doing good things whether you feel it or not.

    I think long-term, I will be adding potato starch to my daily menu at a rate of 1-4TBS/day. I think the upper-end is probably very safe and effective, but the lower end also conveys the same benefits, especially if eating lots of RS foods.

    If I were to go on a vacation today for a couple weeks, I doubt I would pack my potato starch along. But I do like to think that adding it to my normal routine is helpful.

    As to that article you linked–I read it and liked it. It seems to me the SAD way of eating, and even low carb eating, are so light in fiber and RS that it could be a big player in colon related illnesses. It’s sad to think that switching to a diet that leads to weight loss and improved health may actually be placing a big strain on one of our most neglected organs!

  31. Also, did you catch this? http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Resistant-starch-may-aid-in-IBD-and-cancer-resistance-Study

    It was a side-bar link in the article you posted above. I can’t cut and paste from the article, but basically it says that RS, especially RS from potatoes, is protective of any damage that may be caused by eating red meat.

    Which makes me wonder…all this red meat scare you hear about recently…maybe red meat, when eaten alongside a low-carb/low RS/low-fiber diet is not very healthy. But when eaten as Paul J describes in the PHD negates the damage.

  32. I never turn down a baked potato when I enjoy a steak. One other fun benefit of eating PHD–I am now in love with the taste of cold taters. I never cared for them prior to beginning PHD and in fact, except for cold tater salad rarely consumed any cold taters. 😀

    • hi Sunday, i two am enjoying cold taters, i have mine with one raw egg yolk some avocardo and AC / Vinegar

  33. Tatertot,

    Just dropping in to say that I am still taking the RS eod. 3 tbsp per day. I feel great! 😛

    Also, a few folks were asking “Who is Tatertot?” over on the PHD FB group.
    We have a few who have joined in on the Bob’s Red Mill PS. Just in case, you ever have time to drop in. 😉
    Have a great week!

    Alfred, I am glad you enjoy your cold taters. Did you read somewhere on this site that Paul advises us not to eat raw yolks, because we can’t retrieve all of the healthy benefits from the yolk? I will go back and look for the quote.


    • hi tater, i wonder if the vinegar in the potato/ raw yoke mixture. cooks the yoke.its used to marinate [ pre cook] meats.

      • It probably does, like ceviche. I have 1 or 2 raw egg yolks pretty frequently. I make a pudding-like mixture with coconut milk, raw egg yolks, potato starch, and dark chocolate. Kind of like a chocolate mousse.

        I always thought the warnings against raw egg yolks were for food safety not nutrition. If you feel comfortable with your eggs not being old or broken, they are probably OK raw. Maybe Sunday will dig something up for us on this…

  34. Oh, and the site is now up to 740 PHD folks. I am learning from all of the senior PHD folks who have been eating the PHD way for a while.

    • No Facebook account, but you can post this over there if you like:

      Greetings! I’m Tim Steele, aka ‘tatertot’ from North Pole, Alaska–a small town near Fairbanks, 150 miles south of the Arctic Circle. Our long Winters make eating and being healthy a real struggle. The tendency is to eat your way through the cold months and hopefully burn it off in the midnight sun of Summer–but it doesn’t usually work that way. One of my favorite summer activities is working in my large garden, growing nearly a ton of potatoes every year. It’s sad to think I spent nearly 2 years avoiding potatoes because they didn’t fit my low-carb plan.

      In 2009, I was a 44 year old guy, 5’10 and 250 pounds. Full blown metabolic syndrome poster-child with pre-diabetes, fatty liver, high cholesterol, bp, and trigs along with some other typical met-syn issues.

      I was on a handful of pills a day and my doctor kept telling me to eat healthy grains, no red meat or eggs, and exercise at least an hour a day at 50% of max heart rate or more. A year of this and I was just as fat, just as sick, and hungry all the time.

      I found the Primal Blueprint at Mark’s Daily Apple in 2010 and within 6 months of following it, I was down to 190 pounds and off all of my meds. I was eating low-carb, almost zero starch, and eventually got down to 165lbs. However, I was still troubled with high fasting blood glucose and sleep wasn’t so great.

      I received the new PHD book as a Christmas gift last year, and immediately added a big serving of rice, potatoes, plantains, or squash to my daily eating plan, other than that, I was already eating very close to the PHD. I started the year at 172lbs, and have stayed effortlessly between 170 and 173 for the last 6 months. I gained a few pounds during the first month and cut back a bit on some of the fats I was adding and everything evened out nicely. Within a few weeks, I was sleeping much better and my fasting blood glucose had dropped from 130 to 110.

      I was intrigued by the idea of Resistant Starch as mentioned in the PHD and did some digging.
      In early April, I started adding 4TBS (about 20-30g of RS) of potato or plantain starch to my daily eating, usually in the evening with a low calorie smoothy. Raw, unmodified potato starch contains about 8g RS per TBS and Plantain Flour contains about 5g per TBS. Almost immediately, my fasting blood glucose fell into the 85-95 range, down from 110-120 on PHD foods, and 120-130 on Low Carb. I also found that adding 1TBS of potato starch to the sour cream I put on a baked potato caused the post-prandial glucose spike to be about 60 points lower and last half as long as eating a plain baked potato!

      As to the future, I’m not sure how I will proceed long-term. I sent off for a test kit from the American Gut Project to get my gut flora tested while I’m supplementing with potato starch because a lot of people are interested and it has never been done. Once I see where my gut microbiome is, I plan to cut back and keep an eye on my blood sugar and sleep quality until I find a good minimum dose. I’m thinking it will end up being 1-2TBS a day added to a cold food or drink while specifically targeting foods high in RS and fermentable fibers.

      This entire Resistant Starch experiment has been a real eye-opener and quite a fun rabbit hole. Any talk about RS is so intertwined with gut health, dietary fiber, FOS, inulin, SCFA, butyrate, colon health, and gut microflora, that it is hard to be so myopic about RS as I was at first.

      I think that Paul’s PHD recommendations are perfectly fine in terms of RS/fiber/gut health for most people, but for those recovering from metabolic syndrome or anyone wanting to boost the potential benefits of a higher fiber diet, targeting RS and even adding a bit every day is easy and cheap.

      Adding lots of fiber may not be recommended for people with digestive problems as Paul talked about here: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2010/07/bowel-disease-part-ii-healing-the-gut-by-eliminating-food-toxins/ and it will cause a bit of flatulence if added too fast and at higher levels until gut flora have fully adapted to the new food source.

      I think the biggest case for supplementing with RS in the form of potato starch or plantain flour is that it fills the “Fiber Gap” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:American_Fiber_Intake_Gap.gif a well-documented term for the lack of fiber in Westernized diets. Even the PHD, unless specifically targeting RS-rich foods, is on the low end of fiber recommendations. Adding RS foods or supplementing is an easy and cheap way to increase your fiber intake without eating pounds of roughage, legumes, lentils, or grain.

      Sorry I don’t have a Facebook account–I already spend too much time on the computer according to my wife, Jackie. If you have any questions, I’m subscribed to this comment thread that I hi-jacked from Paul a while back: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2010/10/everything-you-might-want-to-know-about-the-potato/comment-page-2/#comment-194051

      Take care!

      • I would like to know more about the American Gut Project. How long does it take to get your results? Will you share with us?

        • http://humanfoodproject.com/americangut/

          Here’s the website. $99 for a test kit. Not sure how long it takes, I think they are backed up since it was just recently opened to the public. I sent them the money 2 weeks ago and haven’t gotten anything in the mail yet…

          If you go to website, on right sidebar is a list of ‘recent posts’, there are some very good articles on gut health there.

          • Great. I am going to try doing this as well. I am enjoying learning all about the benefits.

            I have read so much just recently. That I need to go back and re-read in order to let all of this science sink in.

  35. Thank you Tim! I never knew your whole story and feel very privileged to be one of the many who are partaking of the RS experiment.

    I am 55 and have been a healthy weight pretty much my entire life until the last 5 years. I started gaining and before I knew it had gained 50 lbs in 5 years time. In this period, I discovered that I have hypothyroidism but I believe there to be much more that played into the weight gain. Not really sure? I found PHD in December read the book and started my own PHD thread over at LCF.

    I know for a fact that “safe starch” was the important missing link from my diet and until I did a tater fast for 3 days and lost very well, then turned around and did a 5 day “tater only” fast and saw that it was so easy and doable, that I became obsessed with eating taters. 😀

    Oh, thought I would throw in that this morning I accidentally opened up a bag of BRM “Tapioca Starch” and mixed it into my morning drink thinking I had PS. So today, I am feeling very full and absolutely no hunger whatsoever, from the effects of tapioca starch. :mrgreen:

    • I wish I knew for sure what the RS content of tapioca starch was. It could possibly be more RS than potato starch, unless it is cooked in the process of making it–then it would have next to none. Quite a challenge, tapioca starch.

      At the end of the day, RS is simply a prebiotic. It feeds gut flora, hopefully enabling your gut microbiome to be populated with more beneficial types than pathogenic types.

      The medical community has been harping on us to eat more fiber for decades, but they include insoluble, un-fermentable fiber in their recommendations as well. A diet full of insoluble fiber, mostly grain or seed based, is probably just as bad as a diet lacking soluble fiber. It seems RS is a way to turn that all around and get a proper food supply to our gut microbes.

      I agree with you on the taters! They are delicious and nutritious and can be prepared in so many ways other than canola oil french fries. I usually boil up 10 pounds worth on Sunday and we eat them throughout the week, either cold or reheated in different ways (fried, mashed, etc..)

  36. Oh, and FWIW, I totally understand not wanting to join FB. It is evil and a huge “time waster”. :mrgreen:

  37. I’ve emailed Bob’s Red Mill about RS in Tapioca Starch. meanwhile, I find only two references online as to the RS content.

    In one study: http://www.aseanfood.info/Articles/11018388.pdf they examined 5 different varieties of cassava plants for RS and came up with a value of 6-14% (see table 1), but this is a percentage of the ‘weight of dry matter’, usually RS is expressed as a ‘percentage of total starch’, so I’m not convinced it’s that low if you are talking starch vs. ground up cassava root. I’m also not sure if tapioca starch is ground up cassava root or extracted starch–this could make a huge difference.

    The second study I found: Table 1 shows cassava starch to be 80% RS of Total Starch. This study doesn’t say how they came up with that figure.

    So, again, I’m perplexed. Still so many questions left unanswered!

    Potato Starch is easy. Many, many studies put it’s RS value in the 75-80% range, most right at 78%. It’s been tested in many different ways–test tube and internally, and has been used as the control diet when comparing other sources of RS. In most cases, potato starch beats all the others, such as from this study I just re-read: http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2638&context=etd&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2Furl%3Fsa%3Dt%26rct%3Dj%26q%3Dresistant%2520starch%2520not%2520necessary%2520for%2520gut%2520health%26source%3Dweb%26cd%3D20%26ved%3D0CGAQFjAJOAo%26url%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Flib.dr.iastate.edu%252Fcgi%252Fviewcontent.cgi%253Farticle%253D2638%2526context%253Detd%26ei%3DgeL6UMH5JYuI0QHUnICoBQ%26usg%3DAFQjCNH6YHMIgUpq8TCenTTyiSlqu_YVbw%26sig2%3DLLYwwGLx0lEM5vW3WUC88A%26bvm%3Dbv.41248874%2Cd.dmQ#search=%22resistant%20starch%20not%20necessary%20gut%20health%22

    “Cummings et al. reported that, compared to a starch free (SF) diet, total fecal SCFA was only increased by consumption of type2 RS from potato (17 – 30g/d) for 15d, but not by RS from banana (type2 RS) , retrograded wheat and maize (type3 RS). In addition, butyrate proportion was only increased by potato starch…”

  38. Thank you for the link to the Iowa study. I am curious. Does this mean that green banana and maize, may not have as good as RS absorbtion and also zero butyrate? That is important.

    Would make one think that making sure that we eat the potato starch to get all of the benefits that RS can provide? Right?

    • The more I read, the more I like potato starch over all the others. It has more RS and seems to do better in the studies. I have a few others that put PS at the top of the categories I will try to dig up.

      I like the thought of including some others–RS from real food, plantain flour, even buckwheat flour, for variety. I can’t believe that the other starches have no benefits of their own, as well as RS from real food. For instance, plantain flour has been used, presumably forever, as a cure and preventative for diarrhea in African and South American cultures.

  39. I think I have finally come up with a mission statement.

    “If there could be one point to this entire show I have been putting on, it’s this:
    If and when you decide that you should be getting more RS in your diet. It can be had from real foods, ie. cooked and cooled potatoes/rice, green bananas, dried plantains, and legumes. These sources may net you 10-20g/day if you are diligent about consuming them all every day. If you see a gap in your intake and want to ensure a steady supply of RS, then use raw, unmodified potato starch–it contains about 8g per TBS. Use as you wish to get however much RS you want.”

    • Great statement Tater.
      I actually gave up on adding potato starch as a supplement. It was making my waist rapidly expand and I was not fitting into my pants.

      I have subsequently been eating more al dente (fairly firm) cooked potatoes that are room temperature when eaten.
      I make a delicious potato wedge type dish. I cook them in coconut oil on medium heat.
      I fry garlic and onions first, then add the potatoes, dried parsley, turmeric, black pepper, salt and sometimes a dash of paprika. Once cooked and at room temperature, I serve them as a side at breakfast, lunch or dinner. Even my kids like them. These have really agreed with me and my long term health goals.

      • Peter – Those potatoes sound great, I will try it tonight! I find I like potatoes more if still very firm in the center, ie. not quite cooked all the way through.

        As to gas and bloating from potato starch; I’m so surprised so many people have reported this. I guess I didn’t have any problems because I was on an RS enriched diet from cold potatoes, green bananas, etc… before I tried potato starch. Once you get used to eating RS foods, think about getting some good potato starch to supplement with on days you may be lacking.

        Sunday mentioned organic potato starch. While it is almost 3 times the price of Bob’s Red Mill, it may not be so bad paying more if you are using less, just for piece of mind that it’s organic.

        Saying that, I have no reason to believe organic is better–just more controlled, I guess.

        • Yes, I think if you keep them fairly firm, this falls in line with keeping the RS higher, like you had stated previously around “how you cook them”.
          The firmer they are, the more resistant starch maintained, right?

          As a side not, when cooking them, I will keep a lid on them for about 5 minutes, and then finish up with the lid off so a lot of the extra moisture evaporates.

  40. Great statement. May I add this to our group? 😎

  41. One more question. Do you know if Frontier Organic Potato Starch is unmodified? I have some folks asking that are worried about Bob’s being non-organic. I guess I never worried, since potatoes should be pretty non-toxic. Or am I wrong?

    • Of course you can add it to FB!

      As to the starch in question. Organic is probably the best choice, I wish Bob’s was organic. As long as it doesn’t say ‘Modified’ or ‘Pre-gelatinized’ anywhere on the package it’s good RS. Also, watch out to not use potato flour–that’s not RS.

      Raw, unmodified, organic–all good!

    • Was just told that potatoes are the most highly pesticides crops, both for insects and fungus. My source tells me that farmers who grow potatoes commercially usually raise another small, pesticide free crop for themselves.

  42. Tater,

    Do you know anything about konjac? Is it an RS? How does it compare to potato starch? I happen to have some on my cupboard.

    I just started experimenting with potato starch ths evening. Had a tablespoon in yogurt before dinner. Plan to load up on test strips and check my blood sugars .
    I definitely saw them go lower over all once I switched from very low carb to
    PHD. But the FBG was inconsistent. occasionally it was in the 80s, other times high 90s, and I am guessing now that what made the difference was the amount of RS in my evening meal.

    Will report on my findings

  43. Hmmm. looks like peas are high in RS. Which solves the puzzle as to why, for the past several days , I have been having excellent production. I never buy peas, but our garden produced a modest crop and we have been enjoying them for a few days now. too bad I had not started testing my blood sugar.

    Peas are PHD approved, but I wonder about recommended amounts.

    • There is not much written about konjac. I think it is a decent source of RS, though. There are Shiritake noodles out there that are made from konjac, but a serving only contains 5g of RS. What kind of konjac do you have? Is there any nutritional info on the package?

      Peas do contain some RS, but boiled or steamed fresh garden peas only have about 1-2g RS per serving. They are only high in RS when dried and raw. Since nobody eats peas like that, they are not a super-great source of RS, but they do have some.

      In this paper is a list of RS contents in different foods. Look at the different tables, it’s a bit hard to decipher, but in Table 1 you will see the RS in raw foods and Table 2 shows RS in cooked food.

      The term ‘RS (g/100g esculent)’ means ‘Grams of RS per 100 grams of prepared food’ TS is Total Starch.

      Looking at Table 1, item 19, you see that dried garden peas contain 68g of Total Starch per 100g of peas. The RS portion is 21%RS per 100g of TS. So, the RS value for 100g of dried peas would be 21% of 68g or 14g RS.

      Looking at Table 2, item 35, you see that cooked peas contain 3.8g of RS per 100g of cooked peas, and a normal serving size is 70g.

      The RS values in this study are really accurate when compared to dozens of other studies, and this is my go-to paper when trying to determine the RS value of foods.

      If you study these tables closely, you will see that the two highest sources of RS are found in raw (fresh) potato and uncooked potato starch.

      If you want to target RS through foods, your best bets are cooked and cooled potatoes and rice, and green bananas. It’s hard to decipher from this list how much is in these foods, but if you were to eat 1 fairly green banana a day (5-15gRS) and a large portion of your potatoes or rice per day cooked and cooled (5-10g), you can easily get 10-25g of RS from foods alone. A sneaky little trick to nearly double that is to eat a few slices of raw potato when you are preparing potatoes to cook.

      Otherwise, just eating normal PHD foods without green bananas or cold rice/potatoes, you are lucky to get 1-3g RS per day.

      Hope this helps!

  44. It helps!!!! Thanks Tater.

    What I have is a half used bag of Konjac Glucommanan, of unknown age.
    a serving size is 5 grams and that is listed as 5 grams carb, 5 grams soluble fiber.
    The label says that “Glucommanan. (GM) is differentiated from other soluble fibers by the extraordinary high viscosity”. ADHD ” the higher the viscosity, the greater the effect ( on blood glucose, insulin and serum lipid levels)

    So do you think this viscosity has anything to do with the RS?
    If I recall it was rather pricey, and is labelled as coming from China. So am not planning on getting more. But might experiment for comparison after I get settled in with results from cooked and cooled potatoes and the potato starch.

    I am finding that if I season the warm , just cooked rice or potatoes , They absorb the favors and are quite tasty when they have cooled. There are some very interesting
    infused vinegars and olive oils out there that I may try

    Am still put off by the idea of eating raw potatoes, but will try some when we harvest our crop, as they are sure to be better than store bought. Am thinking that grating a raw potato and flavoring it might work.

  45. Excuse me…I have fat fingers ….ADHD was meant to be “and”.

  46. Not sure if konjac goes bad, but it is a good source of soluble fiber. Soluble fiber acts a lot like RS in that it is a prebiotic, meaning it provides food to the gut microbes.

    Some studies suggest that RS and soluble fiber taken together exert a more powerful effect than either alone. One theory is that when taken together, the RS is used first and the soluble fiber is allowed to travel further down the large intestine to areas that rarely see prebiotics. This increases the area where beneficial microbes can live. It is also said to be the reason why people eating a western diet have so much trouble in the last third of the large intestine–it lacks healthy gut flora due to starvation.

    One thing great about the PHD, if you are eating all of the fresh veggies you should be eating–you are getting a good sized dose of soluble fiber. Inulin is another important soluble fiber–found mainly in raw onion and garlic. Another class of soluble fiber are the oligosaccharides, found in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. Some veggies, like carrots, contain these fibers, but must be cooked to make them more available. I believe if you follow Paul’s recommendations in the PHD for food preparation, he has it nailed for maximizing the nutrients in the foods.

    On days when you maybe didn’t get all the veggies you should have or if you just want to increase prebiotics in general, that is when potato starch, glucomannan, psyllium husks, etc… come into play.

    Fiber recommendations from our big brothers in the government don’t differentiate between resistant starch, fermentable fiber, and unfermentable fiber. The official recommendation is approximately 20-30 grams/day, but the average intake is about 10-15g/day, and much of this from unfermentable fiber–which is not a prebiotic.

    I think a good recommendation for fiber intake is 20-30g/day from all sources and an additional 10-20g/day from RS. This is pretty easily done by looking at fiber contents of foods you are eating and eating a few foods known to be high in RS every day, supplementing with potato starch when lacking.

    • Psyllium husks or other harsh or toxin-containing fibers are a very bad idea as they will damage the gut. Not PHD compatible!

      If you want a safe fiber for fiber-deficient drinks (meals shouldn’t be an issue), then use apple fiber from NOW Foods which is 75% insoluble and 25% soluble.

      RS seems overrated. I’ve been unknowingly ingesting 50g a day from PS over the past 6 months or so and my latest workup doesn’t indicate it has done anything dramatic for lipids. Other than potentially smelly gas when not concurrently taking a probiotic, the only negative effect I’ve noticed from the RS is I get sleepy several hours after ingestion, likely due to fasting glucose going too low. OTOH, I suppose SIBO is ruled out.

      Worse, since 78% of PS is RS, that means I’m eating 78% less of 150g net carbohydates than I originally thought, so the fasting glucose and insulin values should be taken with a grain of salt. Heck, any kind of displacement of higher insulinotropic starches/sugars with fibers would result in an improvement of post-prandial and fasting numbers.

      The “second meal” effect also suggests that RS should only be taken early in the morning, otherwise it will interrupt the 16-hour IF.

      • MachineGhost,

        Konjac is not Psyllium Husks. Konjac’s main component is glucomannan, a water-soluble dietary fiber consisting of mannose and glucose sugars. Glucomannan hasn’t been widely studied in the West, but in 2008, researchers at the University of Connecticut published an analysis of 14 studies involving consumption of capsules, biscuits and energy bars containing this type of fiber. The analysis concluded that glucomannan significantly lowered total cholesterol, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and triglycerides; kept blood sugar (glucose) stable, and had a small effect on weight. The researchers found no evidence that it helped lower blood pressure or had a beneficial effect on HDL (“good”) cholesterol. Its effect on blood sugar appeared to be no different from that of other types of dietary fiber.

        I am curious how you were unknowingly ingesting 50 g of PS a day? 😕 Most of the benefits you will not be able to feel with RS.

        Here is another example of benefits that you can’t feel…


  47. Am looking at the paper you linked to. This is so helpful. Very interesting to see the difference between potatoes that have been steamed and cooled and those that have been roasted and cooled. I have been steaming mine. Will try roasting

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