Pasta, Rice, and Potatoes for Fat Loss?

Eat starchy foods to get healthy and lose weight!

Wait…What? That doesn’t sound right.

My trainer/nutritionist/health coach told me to limit starchy foods if I want to lose weight.

They are mostly correct…but keep reading…

Most carbohydrates are starches (i.e. potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, beans, fruit, etc.). Starches have gotten a bad reputation (well-deserved in many cases) for causing weight gain and increasing risk for Type 2 diabetes and other associated health problems. This is mostly because the bulk of the starchy foods we eat are processed and we eat WAY too much of them!

In fact, until very recently the USDA Food Pyramid instructed people to eat 6 to 11 servings of grains and starchy foods every day.

This (in my opinion) was one of the most misguided health recommendations to ever be published.

Even the newer USDA Choose My Plate recommendations say that men and women should eat 6 to 8 servings of grains per day. Ludicrous…especially if you want to lose fat and have more control over insulin.

HOLD UP! This is not a starch-bashing party! If you're not quite ready to reduce your reliance on rice, pasta, and potatoes, there are ways to "upgrade" these foods to make them better! 

Not all starches are created equal!

Have you heard of RESISTANT STARCH?

Lately this has become a very hot topic in the fitness and nutrition world because RS appears to have some powerful health benefits.

So what IS resistant starch?

Resistant starch acts similarly to soluble fiber in our digestive system. And just like the name implies, it is resistant to digestion in your small intestine and reaches your large intestine largely unchanged.

What are the main benefits of consuming RS?

From a weight loss standpoint, consuming resistant starch basically means you don’t get all of the calories from that food because at least some of food is resistant to digestion. Resistant starch has also been shown to fill you up faster and increase satiety, causing you to eat less overall. Win win!

The most important health benefit to eating foods that contain RS seems to be its impact on gut health and gut flora. Resistant starch, which cannot be broken down by your small intestine, appears to be excellent food for your good gut bugs! Did you know you have to feed those critters? You do. And if you don’t, the good ones die and the bad ones take over….but that’s a discussion for another day.

When you feed your little gut critters, they get really happy and release short-chain fatty acids, one of which is called Butyrate. Butyrate feeds the cells of the colon which may improve digestive function. Butyrate is also linked to a reduced risk of colorectal cancer, and may help improve conditions like Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, and constipation.

Resistant starch is shown to increase insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels after a meal. Improved insulin sensitivity is KEY to controlling your weight and overall health, and avoiding metabolic diseases like type 2 diabetes, obesity, and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Those benefits are pretty convincing.

What are the best sources of resistant starch?

  • Green bananas
  • Plantains
  • Raw potatoes
  • Raw unrolled oats

What are some other sources of resistant starch?

  • Cooked and cooled potatoes
  • Cooked and cooled rice
  • Cooked and cooled beans
  • Cooked and cooled pasta

Whoa. Did I read that correctly?


You did read that correctly friend. But before you go all crazy and start telling people that Kelly Bailey said it’s okay to eat plates of pasta and potatoes…let’s calm down, take a deep breath and get real.

  1. For the resistant starch to form in rice, pasta, and potatoes, they must be cooked and then cooled completely…preferably overnight. That means advanced planning on your part.
  2. You cannot reheat the food. This will break the RS apart making the food once again digestible in your small intestine, and thus negating all the benefits.
  3. This is NOT a free pass to eat all the pasta, rice, and potatoes you want. While that would be nice, your body STILL absorbs plenty of the calories and it STILL impacts your blood sugar. You will STILL get fat and sick by overeating starchy foods!

What all of this does mean is that if you love these starchy carbs and/or you're not quite ready to make major changes to your diet, you can choose to “upgrade” your preparation method to make them a little healthier! 

The Bottom Line(s)

Bottom Line: Resistant starch has some promising health benefits and may help you lose weight.

Bottom Line: If you love rice and pasta and potatoes, it's okay! You will need to reduce overall consumption of these foods, but you don't need to eliminate them. When you do choose to eat these starchy foods, cooking and cooling before eating may help you “upgrade” those foods and make them slightly healthier.

Bottom Line: If you are trying to lose fat, improve insulin sensitivity, and improve overall health, you MUST reduce or eliminate processed starchy carbs like mashed potatoes, pasta, bread, crackers, cookies, and cereal. These aren't dietary staples...they're treats.

Bottom Bottom Line: It's not about being's about trying to be a little better than you were yesterday. Making small improvements and upgrades to your nutrition and exercise can lead to monumental changes over time!

Thanks for reading!





Chilled RS Rice Salad

  • 1 ½ cups white rice, cooked according to package directions and cooled overnight
  • 1 cup of green sweet peas
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
  • ¼ red onion, diced


  • 2 T rice wine vinegar
  • 2 T toasted sesame oil
  • 3 T extra virgin olive oil
  • Ground fresh ginger to taste (or 1 tsp powdered ginger)
  • Splash of soy sauce to taste
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Cook the rice as directed on the package and cool overnight in the fridge. In a small bowl or Mason jar, mix all dressing ingredients together. Dressings are often best if you can leave them chill overnight in the fridge.

About 10 minutes before you’re ready to eat, mix the peas, peppers, and onion into the rice. Mix the dressing and pour over the rice. Mix well to coat the rice and veggies with the dressing.

kelly bailey