Tandem Bar Case Study Part 3: Resistant Starches

By Julita E. Baker, Ph.D.

In the last two posts in the Tandem Bars Case Study we examined two gut health and microbiota-benefiting aspects of Tandem – Soluble & Insoluble Fiber, and Prebiotics. Tandem has done a fantastic job at adding these food constituents to help our gut microbes (and therefore us) stay happier and healthier.

Today we’ll discuss and analyze the last of these three microbiome- benefiting aspects, Resistant Starches.

    3. Resistant Starch in Tandem

      Resistant starches are another group of compounds in Tandem Bars that have been shown to benefit the gut microbiome. In Tandem, these resistant starch compounds are in the form of oats and chia seeds (other outside sources are: under-ripe bananas, cold pasta, lentils, green peas, barley, and cold potato). 

      Resistant Starch in Tandem Bar: Oats and Chia Seeds

      What are these microbiota-flourishing resistant starch compounds? And what do they do?

      Similar to prebiotics, resistant starches are long chains of complex carbohydrates that, as the name implies, are resistant to digestion. 

      Our gut microbiota, containing a hundred-fold more carbohydrate- degrading enzymes, are able to break down indigestible fiber, prebiotics, and resistant starches. They produce their own short chain fatty acid byproducts, serving as fuel sources for our colonic cells, regulating satiety and gluconeogenesis (glucose production from non-carbohydrate Carbon sources), and helping the growth of other beneficial bacteria.

      Because these polysaccharide chains are so complex, not all of the bonds are able to be broken down by our 17 gastrointestinal enzymes. But our gut microbiota- which have a hundred-fold more carbohydrate- degrading enzymes, ARE able to break them down. This is when the gut microbiota produce their own byproducts, such as short chain fatty acids which we’ve discussed previously, serving as fuel sources for our colonic cells, regulating satiety and gluconeogenesis (glucose production from non-carbohydrate Carbon sources), and helping the growth of other beneficial bacteria (1).

      Resistant starches are neat because they have different classifications - scientists label them as RS1, RS2, RS3, and RS4, depending on the level of processing (2):
      • RS1 is completely inaccessible to digestion, and is found in seeds, legumes, and whole (WHOLE) grains (not that packaged bread that says “whole grains.” It has to be a WHOLE barley kernel, wheat kernel, or faro kernel, or spelt kernel).
      • RS2 is a bit more broken down and is in foods such as green bananas or corn starch. So it’s slightly more degraded (as opposed to RS1 which is a whole kernel).

      • RS3 is one of my favorites because I’ll oftentimes eat cold leftovers, or cold oats, so it’s great to think that this simple act of eating the food cold will benefit my gut microbiome a bit more. RS3 is cooked and cooled food. So, say you cook pasta one evening, and then put the uneaten portion into the fridge. When you consume the pasta the next day cold, many of those starch molecules that were initially broken down via cooking, are now reformed when they were cooled- making it harder for your own enzymes to break down, but it’s dinner (or lunch, or breakfast) for your gut microbes! The same idea is true for cooking and cooling oats, lentils, beans, and potatoes. 
      • RS4 are the most processed and are typically modified to be indigestible.

      I am not 100% sure into which category Tandem Bars would fit in, but I would guess a combination of RS1 and RS2, as we have the whole chia seeds, and the crushed oats that are slightly more broken down than a whole oat kernel.

      And that’s it! I hope you enjoyed this case study of Tandem Bars and learned a bit about the different foods and compounds that help our gut microbiology flourish (and hence US thrive). 

      Tandem Bars are a great source of microbiota-flourishing prebiotic compounds, fiber, and resistant starch, with quality ingredients, overall. The high fiber, prebiotics, and resistant starch are all fantastic for our gut microbes and satiety to keep us full. The bars are organic, plant-based, gluten-free, with no artificial ingredients and additives. I also love the palatability aspect of Tandem Bars. They have a slight honey sweet taste but they’re not overly sweet, overly gooey, not overly rewarding on the brain. One bar really does fill you up.

      I do hope you give them a try, and if you have any questions along the way, please let us know!

      If you’d like to learn more about Tandem Bars, please head here

      For nutrition professionals, go here.

      Happy eating!

      Julita from Science of Food Choice 

      This post is sponsored by Tandem Natural Foods 


       1)    David L. Topping, Balazs H. Bajka, Anthony R. Bird, Julie M. Clarke, Lynne Cobiac, Michael A. Conlon, Matthew K. Morell & Shusuke Toden (2008). Resistant starches as a vehicle for delivering health benefits to the human large bowel, Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease, 20:2, 103-108, DOI: 10.1080/08910600802106541

      2)    Sajilata, M. , Singhal, R. S. and Kulkarni, P. R. (2006). Resistant Starch–A Review. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 5: 1-17. doi:10.1111/j.1541-4337.2006.tb00076.x