Grains Research and Development

Date: 01.09.2001

Lightly chewed and starchy... that's good!

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Can’t digest your beans? Maybe that’s good for you. CSIRO scientists are working on a type of starch, previously considered useless, which could be more important than fibre in protecting against bowel cancer.

The starch is resistant to digestion in the stomach and small intestine, but in the colon it releases substances that protect against colorectal cancer.

“We are now considering that resistant starch, which has long been considered ‘empty calories’, has an important role to play in bowel health,” said CSIRO Health Sciences and Nutrition researcher David Topping.

It may add a new dimension to your eating experience, but you can add resistant starch to your diet through undercooking and only lightly chewing starchy foods such as potatoes, pasta, baked beans, lentils, peas, bread and brown rice.

Scientists got onto this path by noting that populations in Africa, lapan and China had low rates of bowel cancer but ate less fibre than Westerners. However, they ate significantly more starch.

Australia has one of the world’s highest bowel cancer rates but lowest starch intakes.

Contact: Dr David Topping 08 8303 8898