Resistant starch can be invisible in many formulations.
Resistant starch’s biggest assignment is fiber enhancement — a nutritional goal — but there are functional and formulation benefits, too. In this exclusive Q&A with Baking & Snack, two experts from Ingredion, Inc. — Maria Stewart, Ph.D., clinical research lead, global nutrition R.&D., and Maria Tolchinsky, senior business development manager, global nutrition — examine the many facets of resistant starch.

Editor’s note: On May 27, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration published a new definition of dietary fiber related to health claims and voluntary disclosure in the Nutrition Facts Panel on product labels. Readers should contact Ingredion,, for an update on the status of its ingredients as dietary fiber.

Baking & Snack: What is the latest news about resistant starch’s role as a fiber health and wellness? How does it figure into satiety? What other benefits has it been linked to and why?

Maria Stewart: Resistant starch has many desirable benefits, especially when it replaces digestible starch in foods such as baked goods, crackers and pasta. Compared with conventional foods, foods with resistant starch can help manage blood sugar levels. High-amylose corn resistant starch has also been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and carbohydrate metabolism. Improving insulin sensitivity and carbohydrate metabolism is a key component for the risk reduction and management of type 2 diabetes.

Resistant starch also supports digestive health. When resistant starch reaches the colon, it is degraded by the resident bacteria. These bacteria create beneficial metabolites known as short-chain fatty acids, which improve digestive health. Short-chain fatty acids also impact broader metabolic effects, which may be the key mediator between resistant starch intake and improved human health.

Resistant starch may increase satiety and decrease food intake, but this concept is currently under debate. Research on the health benefits of resistant starch is still evolving. A few of the hot trends in this area include the effect of resistant starch on the colonic bacteria, also known as the “gut microbiome,” the immune system and inflammation.

What can resistant starches do for formulating baked foods and snacks that other forms of fiber cannot?

Maria Tolchinsky: Resistant starch can be invisible in many formulations, enabling manufacturers to add fiber without compromising taste, texture or appearance of food. This allows consumers to continue to eat the foods they love with the added benefits of fiber and lower calories. Resistant starch fibers are also very easy to work with and formulate into food systems due to their low water-holding capacity and can deliver improved texture and expansion properties in some food systems.

Do these ingredients bring clean label benefits to bakery or snack formulations? What are they?

Ms. Tolchinsky: There are different types of resistant starches. Some types of resistant starches, such as those considered RS2 type, can bring clean label benefits to bakery and snack products and offer a great way to add fiber while maintaining a clean label. For instance HI-MAIZE resistant starch is a Non-GMO Project verified, clean label product with substantial clinical research showing digestive and blood sugar management effects when substituted for other high glycemic ingredients in food systems.

Please also describe your recent product introductions in the resistant starch or starch categories. What do they offer to formulators?

Ms. Tolchinsky: Launched at IBIE, Ingredion's new VERSAFIBE dietary fiber ingredients are insoluble, resistant starch products that offer high fiber and process tolerance without impacting the taste, texture or appearance of baked goods, pastas, and extruded cereals and snacks. There are two product offerings: potato-based VERSAFIBE 1490 resistant starch and corn-based VERSAFIBE 2470 resistant starch. Both products are gluten-free, allergen-free and non-G.M.O. VERSAFIBE 1490 resistant starch is also a great fit for “grain free” foods. These resistant starch ingredients can be used to deliver fiber fortification claims as well as for calorie reduction.