Low calorie carbs? No such thing. EXCEPT THERE ARE! Hold on Dr Atkins – why didn't you tell us?
Seems like low calorie carbs have been the subject to a treasure hunt in recent years. We do like our starchy foods don't we? Potatoes, chips, curry with rice, pasta and Bolognese all taste amazing, but those used to be illegal in the world of dieting. Let's all cheer because they aren't any more. 'All the carbs before Marbs' is the new Essex catchphrase.
Cutting down on carbs can help you lose weight because it forces your body to burn fat for fuel. Usually food is burned up first, especially the kind that carbs provide. If you don't eat any, the fat is sacrificed instead. Carbs are often the first food turned into fat because they are absorbed so quickly. If they aren't burned off straight away they turn into lard.
But hold on, Holy Hallelujah! Research is showing that carbs can be transformed into resistant starchy carbs. This cuts their ability to morph into insulin and then into fat.
Want to know how it's done? You cook and let your carbs go cold. Then you eat it. Better still, reheat it first. This works because temperature change causes some of the food's digestible starch to convert into resistant starch. Your body can't process resistant starch because it's errr, resistant. That means no calories.
If you want to get technical, the resistant starch glucose-chains are not broken down in your small intestine like normal starch. Instead it's slowly absorbed by your large intestine, helping the bacteria ferment into short-chain fatty acids (bear with me.) Short-chain fatty acids are great for you. They help you poo, fend off heart disease, and possibly lower blood pressure as well.
Animal studies show that resistant starch leads to a decrease in visceral fat, which is the worst type. Resistant starch also seems to increase fat burn too - by 25%. Not stopping there, resistant starch also appears to reduce levels of insulin after a meal, which is great news for diabetics looking to manage their diets effectively.
And then! Last but not least, resistant starch can keep hunger at bay. Those chomping through high levels of resistant starch ate roughly 300 less calories a day. Researchers think it might be to do with fermentation in the colon releasing fullness signals to the brain. This is good news for those who detest feeling hungry and end up sabotaging their diets - why are you looking at me?
So who fancies a massive bowl of cold pasta for dinner? No? Don't forget you can reheat your cooled food items. This may even increase the amount of resistant starch in them. Saving that leftover lasagne for tomorrow was a good idea, mum was right after all.