Beans and the Second Meal Effect: Resistant Starch

Beans & lentils have about 5-10g of resistant starch per cup cooked, depending on the kind.

So check out this excellent 3.5-minute video by Dr Michael Greger that doesn’t mention resistant starch, but that’s what it is he’s talking about. Watch how beans not only blunt a BG spike as part of a meal side-by-side with a high-GI carb meal, but persists to blunt BG spikes in subsequent meals or even sugar water, even into the next day.

Incidentally, I have confirmation from some N=1s out there that a ketogenic dieter can remain in ketosis and have zero BG spike consuming up to 30 grams of resistant starch (Bob’s Red Mill Potato Starch) per day either along with a Z/VLC meal, or all by itself stirred in water. Accordingly, LCers are just plain ignorant and wrong about Resistant STARCH! (deploy garlic necklaces and crucifixes).

I should be posting on that and other N=1 stuff soon.

Richard Nikoley

I'm Richard Nikoley. Free The Animal began in 2003 and as of 2021, contains 5,000 posts. I blog what I wish...from health, diet, and food to travel and lifestyle; to politics, social antagonism, expat-living location and time independent—while you sleep—income. I celebrate the audacity and hubris to live by your own exclusive authority and take your own chances. Read More


  1. john hall on July 9, 2013 at 20:08

    Hi Richard,

    i was talking about RS to my barber yesterday, like one does, your bean post is timed well.

    He said that his mother and grandmother, in Greece, cooked their beans/chickpeas/peas the night before, stored at room temp overnight and eaten during the next day. He said you have to remember, we had no electricity, no refrigerator, only wood for the fire. ( a little more RS3?). Which triggers a thought- what time period is paleo attempting to model- according to recent archeology digs in south africa, fire is yet to be traced back earlier than 1-2 million years ago. So for the previous x million years of hominid living before fire, , uncooked starch might have been the norm, honey would have been then a really desirable carbohydrate prize.

  2. J. B. Rainsberger on July 9, 2013 at 15:24

    So if beans/lentils can blunt the blood glucose spike from carbohydrates, even hours later, I see that that means “eat beans with rice, and more beans than rice”, but I can’t tell from here (yet) whether this makes beans *beneficial* even without the rice, because frankly, I don’t really care to eat rice any more. Of course, I prefer not to act scared of it, either.

    • Tatertot on July 9, 2013 at 21:05

      The things we do for our health…I harvested several tons of potatoes over the last couple year, but wouldn’t eat a bite…Evil Carbs! I went to a Japanese restaurant and picked the rice off the sushi rolls–cuz Sisson said carbs were bad!

    • J. B. Rainsberger on July 10, 2013 at 08:10

      I don’t eat low carb because somebody said so. I eat low carb because I found the theory reasonable, I tried it, and it helped me. Now I’m just looking to fine tune my approach. I don’t want to go buy beans just cuz Rich Nikoley sez they let me eat rice. I don’t care about eating rice. I’d like some general understanding of whether beans might benefit me is some way more than as carb-blockers, which I generally don’t need.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 10, 2013 at 08:21

      It’s just one way to get a decent amount of fiber and resistant starch in the diet along with quality protein, and in an actual food package rather than a supplement like potato starch. I choose to do both. I have zero problems with small portions of beans or lentils and I quite like them.

    • J. B. Rainsberger on July 10, 2013 at 14:16

      Thanks, Richard. That helps me. I like them both, too, but I’ve grown accustomed to not eating them over the past couple of years.

  3. EatLessMoveMoore on July 9, 2013 at 16:36

    Jimmy Moore – and his legions – evidently missed the memo.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 9, 2013 at 16:50

      I’m confident they’ll come along, eventually.

    • bernardo on July 9, 2013 at 17:39

      I think that’s great news for low carbers! I might try some beans. Funny in Brazil the staple food for lunch (main meal in Brazil) is Rice + Beans + Meat, or at least it used to be.

    • Brad Baker on July 10, 2013 at 16:11

      Yes, it’s still the staple. The problem is many (probably nearly all of them) of the lunch places put oleo de soja (soy oil) in both the rice and the beans, and pretty much everything else supposedly to increase their palatability. This is horrible obviously and ruining the health of Brazilians.

  4. Bernardo on July 9, 2013 at 18:05


    Would carrots be a resistant starch kind of food? Is there a place where I can check a list of these foods?

    Thank you.

    • Tatertot on July 9, 2013 at 20:46

      Sorry. Carrots have no RS. Wish they did! A complete list of RS in foods has never been compiled. Maybe I’ll work on that.

      We have been looking at studies like: and (2nd link may be broke). The different tables list common foods and their RS content.

      Several reasons a complete list won’t be coming soon. The RS of a food changes. It’s different when raw compared to cooked, and different when cooked in various ways, and different when cooked and cooled. There is no official way to measure RS. The gold standard is the ‘ileostomy method’ also called ‘in vivo’. They feed a person or animal a food, then examine the contents of the small intestine just before it dumps into the large intestine–any starch found is RS. The second method ‘in vitro’ or test tube method, treats food with acids that act like digestion and then they measure remaining starch. Both methods get similar results.

      A brief list off the top of my head of foods you are likely to encounter:
      Raw Potato Starch: 8g/TBS
      Raw Potato: 25g per 100g
      Cooked Potato: 2-5g per 100g
      Cooked and cooled potato: 5-10g per 100g
      Legumes/Beans/Lentils: 5-10g per cup, cooked
      Corn Tortillas – 1-2g per
      Cooked Rice – 2-9g per 100g
      Cooled Rice- 5-13g per 100g
      Buckwheat Flour – 4g per TBS
      Plantain Flour – 5g per TBS
      Dried Plantains – 50g per 100g
      Green Banana – 10-20g (small-large)
      Ripe Banana – 0g
      Hi-Maize Corn Starch – 5g per TBS
      Regular Corn Starch – 1g per TBS (or less)
      Beets – 0g
      Turnips – 0g
      Jerusalem Artichokes – 0g
      Wheat Flour – 0g
      Uncooked Wheat – 2g per 100g
      Uncooked Oats – 20g per 100g

      I will fact check this when I have time, but it should be pretty close. I smell a good blog post here!

  5. Bobert on July 9, 2013 at 18:19

    Properly prepared beans have zero fartage, toxins are diminished, and are a huge form of rs. I think because of peanuts and soy the rest of the beans are a baby bath water situtation. Small red are my favorite. Another topic you may want to explore further is starch meal separation

    • Tatertot on July 9, 2013 at 20:49

      A must-read if you want to eat beans! Pros and Cons…another good blog, hint, hint

    • Austin Pitts on July 10, 2013 at 05:20

      Great link tater! I haven’t searched yet but is the best way to prepare them by soak drain boil drain slow cook eat? Are all beans ok as long as you stay away from red and kidney beans?

    • Tatertot on July 10, 2013 at 11:41

      Beans have been off my radar for so long it’s ridiculous. Time to start back up again. Just the little I have read in the last few days makes me wonder why I haven’t re-introduced them sooner. I plan on looking into how to best prepare them or even if canned are fine.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 10, 2013 at 11:43

      There’s some decent bean links to check out from that same article.

    • John on July 10, 2013 at 08:40

      Really solid article, and I think the conclusion is dead on. Personally, I’ve found that when I’ve used Paleo as a template or guide, it worked great and I felt great! It’s when I REALLY tried to dial it in to 100% that it seemed to stop working, and it was making me crazy on top of it.
      Only minor quible with it was blaming nitrates and sodium for the possible negative effects of processed meat. As Chris Kresser mentioned, there are more nitrates in 4 oz of celery than there are in 400 hot dogs. And the amount in your own saliva dwarfs the amount in any food. And the evidence against sodium is as weak as the evidence against saturated fat. Still, I would bet fresh meat is better than processed.

  6. Austin Pitts on July 10, 2013 at 07:46

    n=n+1 for me now. I tried the RS mixed with water and drank at night before but stopped after a week or so only. After reading more of the RS articles here is sounds like it’s important to spread the RS through out the day.

    I also tried getting the starch out of a potato last night by peeling and then putting it in the ninja blender with some water. At first the potato seemed to float while the starch sank but after a night in the fridge with some more water to help seperate, everything looks like its stuck on the bottom now.


  8. Tatertot on July 10, 2013 at 11:38

    I’ve never come across anything that supports that. Lots of bro-science, but nothing that ever blows me away.

    • Vertical1 on July 10, 2013 at 14:55

      I believe Jicama has a fair amoun of resistant starch. Makes a great potato substitute.

  9. Dr. Curmudgeon Gee on July 10, 2013 at 22:02

    do the bean have to be soaked for a long time?

    (they agree w/ me better after long soak)

  10. Laura Dolson on July 19, 2013 at 18:52

    “LCers are just plain ignorant and wrong about Resistant STARCH!”

    They may be ignorant, but wrong? I don’t see them writing about it much at all (although I admittedly don’t stay on top of what everyone is writing). As a counterexample, I wrote an article about it 7 years ago. ( and it’s a topic I’ve been very interested in. I am fascinated to find out that potato starch is a good source that might not drive people’s blood glucose up, and I thank you very much for this lead!

    Something else I’ve recently learned, though, is that the ketone ß-hydroxybutyrate can be used for butyrate by colonocytes, which I thought was fascinating. Probably helpful for people on ketogenic diets.

    Thanks again.

    • Richard Nikoley on July 20, 2013 at 06:26


      That was partly my hyperbole schtick to take a dig at my friend Jimmy. Otherwise, there have been plenty of dismissals I’ve seen, because it has the word starch.

  11. Laura Dolson on July 19, 2013 at 18:54

    In case anyone cares, I messed up that link.

  12. Laura Dolson on July 21, 2013 at 14:07

    Thanks for the response, Richard. I think I’m probably writing for a wider variety of people than Jimmy is.

  13. tatertot on July 21, 2013 at 14:44

    Laura – Thanks for commenting here. I read the article you wrote in 2009, and found it technically correct and very informative. A lot was written about RS in the 2005-2009 time frame for some reason, then all talk just died for the past 5 years.
    I think the reason everyone lost interest in RS is for two reasons: 1. Fiber was somewhat denigrated by diet writers as not needed and even harmful, and; 2. People were left confused by all the articles and didn’t have clear guidance on dosage.
    Your article (in a low carb setting!), for instance, left the reader with the idea to eat more “whole grains, shiritake noodles, beans, and Hi-Maize cornstarch”, very typical of the articles of the period. Unless one really doubled-down on the Hi-Maize, eating it straight from the bag, it would be hard to get 10g/day from your recommended sources.
    I almost dropped the RS idea after realizing how little RS was in healthy food. I didn’t eat many grains and had sworn off beans and corn. When I came across the well-agreed-upon fact that raw potato starch was nearly 80% RS by weight, things changed.
    It appears that the correct dose of fiber is 30-50g/day which includes about 15-30g/day of RS. 5-10g/day may be fine if you are also getting 50g/day of fiber–but nobody gets that much. So much of the research points to the fact that fiber AND RS is way more beneficial than either alone. This is demonstrated well in Australia’s failed attempt to curb their high colon cancer rates by pushing a high-fiber diet on the public. After 30 years of high fiber, colon cancer did not decline except in the people that also ate lots of resistant starch. Australia’s new tactic is to push RS in the form of Hi-Maize added to baked goods. I smell another dismal failure.
    So, Laura, I would love to see you reenergize interest in RS in your guides and articles. Point out novel ways to include healthy amounts of RS that work well, even with low carb diets.
    Some sample daily menu inclusions to get to 30g of RS per day can easily be obtained with: 1/2 of a dried (unripe) plantain sliced into chips (20g), 1 green banana (15g) 1/2 cup of soaked and simmered kidney beans (5g), 1/2 a cold potato (5g), 1/2 cup cold rice (2g). Potato starch added to yogurt or sour cream adds 7g/TBS and a slice or two of raw potato adds 5-10g.
    I think the game changers in all this are potato starch, dried plantains, and green bananas–the powerhouses of RS. Beans, potatoes, and rice all contain RS but at considerable expense when counting calories and carbs.
    I hope you read every article in this Free The Animal series, stay tuned for more, and re-engage your readers on the health benefits of RS and how to achieve them.

  14. Dr. Curmudgeon Gee on July 22, 2013 at 00:42

    @tatertot the RS guru,

    how does RS compared w/ inulin?

  15. tatertot on July 22, 2013 at 08:22

    @DrCG – Well, they are both good prebiotics. We posted some studies earlier that showed inulin and other plant fibers like tghe oligosaccharides were self-limiting in that we can only use 5-10g a day regardless of amount ingested. The best prebiotic application seems to be a combination of plant fibers and RS around 30-50g/day. When taken in combination, they populate more of the gut with beneficial bacteria than either fiber or RS taken alone.

    I think that most people eating paleo, especially the Perfect Health Diet or Primal Blueprint versions, eat quite enough plant fiber. Supplementing with inulin may be a good thing if you aren’t eating many veggies. Inulin is found naturally in onions, leeks, garlic, dandelion greens, and the real powerhouse is Jerusalem Artichoke.

    Hope that helps!

  16. J. B. Rainsberger on July 24, 2013 at 11:06

    It’s not a scientific conclusion, by any stretch, but I’ve eaten about 250 g of red kidney beans in the past two weeks — 3 different meals — with no apparent effect on weight. At a minimum, this suggests that I don’t have to avoid beans like they’re threatening to kill me. I consider that a win.

  17. J. B. Rainsberger on July 24, 2013 at 11:07

    That’s 250 g total, not each meal, in case anyone cares.

  18. tatertot on July 24, 2013 at 12:07

    @JB – I’ve been experimenting with different beans lately, too. One thing to consider, if you are looking for resistant starch, canned beans have about 1/4 of what those that were soaked and cooked have. 1/2 cup of canned kidney beans has about 2.5g RS. 1/2 cup soaked and simmered from dry beans has about 9g per 1/2 cup! If you were to take those cooked from dry beans and freeze them for a couple days, when you thaw and reheat them the RS will be raised significantly, maybe 25% increase.

    What seems to be the best accepted method for preparing dry beans is to cover them with water and soak for a minumum of 8 hours up to 48 hours. The longer the soak, the more toxins may be removed through fermentation. I like to do a 24 hour soak. Then cook the beans on low heat for several hours. I put mine in a crockpot on low in the morning before I go to work–when I come home they are perfect. I have been making a whole bag at a time, freezing most for eating later. I try to eat about 1/2 – 1 cup a day (100-250g). When soaked and cooked like this, they don’t give me gas at all. I use them as a base for the rest of my dinner, put beans in a bowl and stir in meat, cheese, spices, veggies or whatever else you are having–quick and tasty.

    But you are correct–beans in and of themselves need not be shunned and shouldn’t lead to insidious weight gain.

    I think the wrong way to eat beans is canned beans or dry beans that have not been soaked at all. Canned beans are supposedly not soaked, but I can’t be 100% sure if that is true across the board. Also, canned refried beans may have a lot of weird ingredients.

    • cynthia on January 31, 2015 at 11:33

      Eden Foods canned beans ARE soaked then cooked and their bpa-free cans (yeah i know bpa isn’t the only problem) of beans have only beans and sometimes a little sea salt and sometimes a little kombu. would be interested to learn what the RS content is. thanks for all the great info!!!

    • Jess on May 5, 2016 at 00:30

      I have to interject here for the sake of future readers that it is simply not safe to cook kidney beans at a low temp. You must boil them for a minimum of 10 minutes before putting them in your slow cooker. This denatures the phytohaemagglutinin (aka Kidney Bean Lectin) and makes them safe to eat.

      This is specific to kidney beans and cannellini (white kidney) beans, as they both have a lot more phytohaemagglutinin (aka Kidney Bean Lectin) than other beans (red kidneys have the highest of any edible bean). There have been several cases of people being poisoned by slow-cooker-prepared kidney beans. No joke, no lie. Here is the link to the FDA article on phytohaemagglutinin:

  19. Brad on July 24, 2013 at 14:39

    Tater, You said above that 1/2 cup kidney beans has 5g RS but now it’s 9g. You found new info? Also, given all the other options – green bananas, potato starch, etc., why you bother with legumes with their anti-nutrients. I highly doubt that any amount of soaking gets rid of it completely.

  20. Brad on July 24, 2013 at 14:46

    Btw, I’m now eating about 1 tbsp of raw casava/tapioca starch (polvilho) per day now. Though combined with greenish bananas now and then and lots of onions, it’s hard to say which is causing most of my gas.

  21. tatertot on July 24, 2013 at 15:16

    @Brad – you are seeing the difficulty in measuring RS. “Generally” all studies, place lentils and legumes in the 5-10% by weight range. That equates to roughly 5-10g per 1/2 cup. Some have more, some less, and cooking methods come into play as well. Kidney beans are mention quite often by name, and the range of RS for them is up to about 9% for beans prepared from dry beans and 2.5% for canned.

    As a source of RS, beans are not the best. You’d have to eat lots and lots to be sure to get 30g/day. Not sure I want to go there. Beans, however, are a good source of fiber+RS in one package with some good protein as well. Long soaks and cooking does seem to remove most of the toxins that paleo warns about. I have been looking at ways to cook, store, and include in my diet lately. I had not eaten a single beans for several years, as many who adopt a paleo template, but I think this may be as unfounded as avoiding potatoes and rice.

    For a measured dose of RS, I think your starches (potato/cassava) are probably the best bet with green banana/plantain flour a close second. At least they can be used in the 1-4TBS/day range to bridge the gap on days you ate nothing with much fiber or RS.

  22. […] Beans and the Second Meal Effect: Resistant Starch (36 Comments) […]

  23. Charles on August 11, 2013 at 11:01

    I can attest to the fact that beans/legumes are compatible with ketogenic diets. I started the Tim Ferris “slow carb” diet this week, basically adding beans (and removing any white starches) to a LC diet, and stayed in ketosis most of the time. In addition, I lost fat and gained strength. This could show I was too LC personally, but it does lend credence to this approach. And this was canned beans, mostly. I’m going to try the soaking/cooking approach and see how that works. Per Richard, that will add the RS factor to the slow carb factor, and there should be some benefit to that over time.

    • Evey on April 6, 2014 at 14:38

      this is good info. Just what I was looking for and now I am not afraid to eat my frozen beans, made from dry (soaked x2, rinsed very well and cooked).

  24. […] Beans and the Second Meal Effect: Resistant Starch (36 Comments) […]

  25. I've Got A [Gut] Feeling | Free The Animal on August 27, 2013 at 13:30

    […] have the complete picture of, and you put it all together. So, I like to assemble where I can, even with bits from vegans like Dr. Greger. I laf when people say, "but he's a vegan;" just as I do when people say, "but Dr. Eades is LC […]

  26. Beans and the Second Meal Effect: Resistant Sta... on December 29, 2013 at 06:54

    […] Beans & lentils have about 5-10g of resistant starch per cup cooked, depending on the kind. So check out this excellent 3.5-minute video by Dr Michael Greger that doesn't mention resistant starch, but that's what it is he's talking about.  […]

  27. […] OK, there's the whole-fruit aspect of the thing. There's going to be variation because of the degree of ripeness, and ripening is a continuous process, losing some of the RS every day that's fueling the ripening. So, one option is flours made from dried green plantains or green bananas that preserve the RS at its hight. In blog comments, a lot of us have integrated Plantain Flour, but it doesn't seem to mix all that well in just a stirred beverage, and the taste is nothing to write home about. How about banana flour? Would be nice to compare, right? Maybe you're like me, trying to get my gut-bug-feeding resistant starch from a number of sources, not just Bob's Red Mill Potato Starch. Potato starch is kinda my foundation. 2-4 TBS most days ensures I'm getting it, and the rest is made up by other things like cooked and cooled potatoes, cooked and cooled parboiled rice, and cooked and cooled legumes. […]

  28. […] my favorite vegan, I suppose. You may recall that I devoted a whole post to him concerning Beans and the Second Meal Effect: Resistant Starch. Offhand, I love many of his videos, all of which are a brief 1-3 minutes, typically, right to the […]

  29. sally on March 27, 2014 at 12:07


    In the article by J.D. Moyers he says ‘Soaking is most effective for getting rid of phytic acid, and boiling is most effective for reducing lectin levels. Do not slow-cook beans without boiling first. Slow cooked kidney beans and red beans (often in the form of chili) lead to dozens of cases of lectin poisoning in the U.S. every year.’ In an earlier comment you mentioned that you use a crock pot for your beans. How long must they be boiled first to make sure the lectins are sufficiently reduced?

    • Jess on May 5, 2016 at 00:32

      10 minutes at a hard boil.

  30. Resistant Starches - Page 177 | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page 177 on May 18, 2014 at 07:24

    […] stir in meat, cheese, spices, veggies or whatever else you are having–quick and tasty. … Beans and the Second Meal Effect: Resistant Starch | Free The Animal Originally Posted by tatertot Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as […]

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