Health effects of resistant starch

S. Lockyer*, A. P. Nugent

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

115 Citations (Scopus)


The merits of a fibre-rich diet are well documented. Resistant starch (RS) is a form of starch that resists digestion in the small intestine and, as such, is classified as a type of dietary fibre. RS can be categorised as one of five types (RS1–5), some of which occur naturally in foods such as bananas, potatoes, grains and legumes and some of which are produced or modified commercially, and incorporated into food products. This review describes human evidence on the health effects of RS consumption, with the aim of identifying any benefits of RS-rich foods and RS as a functional ingredient. The reduced glycaemic response consistently reported with RS consumption, when compared with digestible carbohydrate, has resulted in an approved European Union health claim. Thus, RS-rich foods may be particularly useful for managing diabetes. There appears to be little impact of RS on other metabolic markers, such as blood pressure and plasma lipids, though data are comparatively limited. Promising results on markers of gut health suggest that further research may lead to the classification of RS as a prebiotic. Microbial fermentation of RS in the large intestine to produce short-chain fatty acids likely underpins some of its biological effects, including increasing satiety. However, effects on appetite have not resulted in notable changes in bodyweight after long-term consumption. Emerging research suggests potential for RS as an ingredient in oral rehydration solutions and in the treatment of chronic kidney disease. Overall, RS possesses positive properties as a healthy food component.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-41
Number of pages32
JournalNutrition Bulletin
Issue number1
Early online date05 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • amylose
  • fibre
  • glycaemia
  • resistant starch
  • satiety
  • short-chain fatty acids

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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