Starch Structure Influences Its Digestibility: A Review

J Food Sci. 2017 Sep;82(9):2016-2023. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.13809. Epub 2017 Jul 28.


Twenty-five years ago, it was found that a significant fraction of the starch present in foods is not digested in the small intestine and continues to the large intestine, where it is fermented by the microbiota; this fraction was named resistant starch (RS). It was also reported that there is a fraction of starch that is slowly digested, sustaining a release of glucose in the small intestine. Later, health benefits were found to be associated with the consumption of this fraction, called slowly digestible starch (SDS). The authors declare both fractions to be "nutraceutical starch." An overview of the structure of both fractions (RS and SDS), as well as their nutraceutical characteristics, is presented with the objective of suggesting methods and processes that will increase both fractions in starchy foods and prevent diseases that are associated with the consumption of glycemic carbohydrates.

Keywords: functional foods; hydrothermal treatments; resistant starch; slowly digestible starch; starch; structure.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Digestion*
  • Humans
  • Intestine, Large / metabolism
  • Starch / chemistry*
  • Starch / metabolism*


  • Starch