Resistant starch and energy balance: impact on weight loss and maintenance

Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2014;54(9):1158-66. doi: 10.1080/10408398.2011.629352.


The obesity epidemic has prompted researchers to find effective weight-loss and maintenance tools. Weight loss and subsequent maintenance are reliant on energy balance--the net difference between energy intake and energy expenditure. Negative energy balance, lower intake than expenditure, results in weight loss whereas positive energy balance, greater intake than expenditure, results in weight gain. Resistant starch has many attributes, which could promote weight loss and/or maintenance including reduced postprandial insulinemia, increased release of gut satiety peptides, increased fat oxidation, lower fat storage in adipocytes, and preservation of lean body mass. Retention of lean body mass during weight loss or maintenance would prevent the decrease in basal metabolic rate and, therefore, the decrease in total energy expenditure, that occurs with weight loss. In addition, the fiber-like properties of resistant starch may increase the thermic effect of food, thereby increasing total energy expenditure. Due to its ability to increase fat oxidation and reduce fat storage in adipocytes, resistant starch has recently been promoted in the popular press as a "weight loss wonder food". This review focuses on data describing the effects of resistant starch on body weight, energy intake, energy expenditure, and body composition to determine if there is sufficient evidence to warrant these claims.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Composition
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake*
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Fermentation
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Intestines / microbiology
  • Mice
  • Microbiota
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Postprandial Period
  • Rats
  • Satiation
  • Starch* / metabolism
  • Weight Loss*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Starch