Cardiometabolic Health

Potatoes and Gut Health

Emerging research in animal models and some human studies suggests that the type of resistant starch that exists naturally in some forms of potatoes or that can be enhanced by various cooking methods may impact gut bacteria which, in turn, may positively affect body composition, and favorably impact blood lipid and blood glucose levels, among other things.

Emerging research in animal models and some limited human studies suggests that resistant starch (RS) – a component of potatoes – may enhance satiety, positively affect body composition, favorably impact blood lipid and blood glucose levels and increase the amount of good bacteria in the colon (1-6, 8).

  • A small proportion of the starch found in potatoes is “resistant” to enzymatic degradation in the small intestine and, thus, reaches the large intestine essentially intact.
  • This resistant starch is extensively fermented by the microflora in the large intestine producing short-chain fatty acids which have been shown to lower the pH of the gut, reduce toxic levels of ammonia in the GI tract, and act as prebiotics by promoting the growth of beneficial colonic bacteria (7-8).

For more information on potatoes and gut health, read:
Potatoes, Nutrition and Health: A Review (PDF), pages 17-18.


  1. Gentile CL, et al. Resistant starch and protein intake enhances fat oxidation and increases feelings of fullness in lean and overweight/obese women. Nutr J. 2015;14:113-123.
  2. Higgins JA. Resistant starch and energy balance: Impact on weight loss and weight maintenance. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54:1158-1166.
  3. Higgins JA, Brown IL. Resistant starch: a promising dietary agent for the prevention/treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and bowel cancer. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2013;29:190-194.
  4. Kawabata K, Mukai R, Ishisaka A. Quercetin and related polyphenols: new insights and implications for their bioactivity and bioavailability. Food Funct. 2015;6(5):1399-1417.
  5. Robertson MD. Dietary resistant starch and glucose metabolism. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab.Care. 2012;15:362-367. (6) Zhang L, et al. Effect of dietary resistant starch on prevention and treatment of obesity-related disease and its possible mechanisms. Biomed Environ. 2015;28:291-297.
  6. Higgins JA. Resistant starch: metabolic effects and potential health benefits. J AOAC Int. 2004;87:761–8.
  7. Brit DF. Resistant starch: Promise for improving health. Adv Nutr. 2013; 4:587-601.
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