The In Vivo Net Energy Content of Resistant Starch and Its Effect on Macronutrient Oxidation in Healthy Adults

Nutrients. 2019 Oct 16;11(10):2484. doi: 10.3390/nu11102484.


The in vivo net energy content of resistant starch (RS) has not been measured in humans so it has not been possible to account for the contribution of RS to dietary energy intake. We aimed to determine the in vivo net energy content of RS and examine its effect on macronutrient oxidation. This was a randomized, double-blind cross-over study. Eighteen healthy adults spent 24 h in a whole room indirect calorimeter to measure total energy expenditure (TEE), substrate oxidation, and postprandial metabolites in response to three diets: 1) digestible starch (DS), 2) RS (33% dietary fiber; RS), or 3) RS with high fiber (RSF, 56% fiber). The in vivo net energy content of RS and RSF are 2.74 ± 0.41 and 3.16 ± 0.27 kcal/g, respectively. There was no difference in TEE or protein oxidation between DS, RS, and RSF. However, RS and RSF consumption caused a 32% increase in fat oxidation (p = 0.04) with a concomitant 18% decrease in carbohydrate oxidation (p = 0.03) versus DS. Insulin responses were unaltered after breakfast but lower in RS and RSF after lunch, at equivalent glucose concentrations, indicating improved insulin sensitivity. The average in vivo net energy content of RS is 2.95 kcal/g, regardless of dietary fiber content. RS and RSF consumption increase fat and decrease carbohydrate oxidation with postprandial insulin responses lowered after lunch, suggesting improved insulin sensitivity at subsequent meals.

Keywords: carbohydrate oxidation; energy expenditure; fat oxidation; fiber; food labeling; in vivo; net energy; resistant starch.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Colorado
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / metabolism*
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism*
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / metabolism
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Energy Intake*
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Postprandial Period
  • Starch / administration & dosage
  • Starch / metabolism*
  • Time Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Biomarkers
  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Insulin
  • Triglycerides
  • Starch