A University of Idaho researcher is teaming up with J.R. Simplot Co.'s food group to develop new potato products with resistant starch, which can improve digestive health and benefit people with diabetes.
Resistant starch is modified starch that bypasses digestion in the small intestine.
If successful, the project could open up new markets that are currently inaccessible to growers and processors, said UI professor Kerry Huber, who is leading the research into potato-based resistant starch ingredients.
Huber is focusing his research on dehydrated potato products such as flakes and granules, which as currently produced have only low levels of resistant starch.
"We are trying to develop similar or equivalent products with resistant starch characteristics," Huber, a professor of food science in UI's College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, said.
Starch in cooked potatoes is normally digested quickly and absorbed as glucose into the blood stream. Resistant starch products can benefit diabetics because they cause a much slower blood sugar increase.
A type of dietary fiber, resistant starch also has digestive health benefits and is associated with good colonic health. It has also been linked with lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.