Give Me Back My Carbs...with Resistant Starch?!

Discover our in-house eating experimentation and results and how you, too, can eat carbs and still lose weight.

Body Signals Podcast
Bill Tancer
— Signos
Chief of Data Science
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Reviewed by

Bill Tancer
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Updated by

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Science-based and reviewed

April 23, 2024
August 10, 2021
— Updated:
May 17, 2022
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Table of Contents

Signos CMO Hannah Russin joins host Bill Tancer to discuss our in-house eating experimentation and results and how you, too, can eat carbs and still lose weight.

Full Transcript:

Bill Tancer  00:13
Welcome to "Body Signals", a Signos podcast. I'm your host, Bill Tancer. And this is season one episode four - Fun with Resistance Starch. On today's episode, we're thrilled to have our very own Hannah Russin join our conversation. Hannah's our Chief Marketing Officer here at Signos. In today's episode, Han and I will talk about resistant starches. We'll define what they are, and talk about some in-house experiments we've conducted at Signos with the purpose of finding out how you might incorporate resistant starches in your diet to aid in your weight loss journey. And with that, let's get to today's show. Hannah, welcome to Body Signals.

Hannah Russin  00:58
Thank you, I'm excited to be here.

Bill Tancer  01:00
And we're excited to have you as our guest. And I chose the topic of resistance starch for today's episode.

Hannah Russin  01:08
Anything I can do to get my carbs back, Bill!

Bill Tancer  01:12
You got it! That's one of the things that we're going to get to, is there might actually be a way that you can eat carbs, and not increase your glucose levels, which is really exciting. But before we get there, I just want to ask you a little bit about your background. So Hannah, please introduce yourself.

Hannah Russin  01:30
Well, I have been doing marketing for Mission Bay startups since 2009 or so. And I would say I am a bit of an athlete. But I've probably been working to lose 10 pounds for most of my adult life with not a lot of success. And that's a real challenge when I eat fairly healthily according to what I thought I should be eating. You know, I exercise regularly and I'm not a big drinker, I'm not super sedentary. So I was super excited to have the opportunity to join Signos and use Signos to try and find some explanations really, like, why has it been so hard to lose weight? And then how can I help bring a technology to people that will change how you view your own relationship with your body, and why it is, in fact, harder for some people to lose weight than others. You know, it really takes the blame out of the equation and starts making this a much more personalized, tailored solution. And it can change our perceptions, which is what I'm here to do.

Bill Tancer  02:52
And those are great points, and that's one of the things that we'll talk about today, which is our individual responses to foods. I think it's something that's ignored in the diet culture. We see all of these diets that come across that tell you, "eat this, don't eat that." But what we're starting to realize—and we'll actually illustrate in today's conversation—is that everyone reacts differently to foods. There are some foods that might work for you and not work for others, and vice versa. So, I'm so excited to talk about that. I referenced earlier that we had some experiments that we are trying within our team. And one of the first things that I asked the staff to do was try out some resistant starch. This wasn't an easy thing for me to ask the team because we're all trying to lose that last 10 pounds. And so I told the team, I need you to eat some white rice, I need you to eat some potatoes. These are the things that I told them previously not to do, you know, eliminate some of the simple carbs to lose weight. And there I am asking people to do it. And Hannah's like I'll do it, I'll do it.

Hannah Russin  03:57
I was pumped. I was like, let's eat that white rice. I love it. If it was up to me, I would eat white rice with dinner, you know, three nights a week easy. Rice pilaf, Spanish rice...there's so many rices that I would love to have in my life on a regular basis. So this was like, "Okay, let's see what we can do here!"

Bill Tancer  04:19
And I had a finding that was the most exciting of all, but I'm going to mention that in a second. Before we get too far, I think we should probably tell people what resistant starches are. Before joining Signos, I had no idea what resistant starches are. Did you know?

Hannah Russin  04:35
No, and I still find the different types a little confusing, to be honest. So let's walk through them.

Bill Tancer  04:44
So there are three main types of carbs. There are sugars, which are simple carbs, and then there are starches, which are complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are really made up of several simple sugars, all strung together. Then finally, there's the third type, which is fiber. And this is also a complex carbohydrate, but it's a complex carb that your body doesn't break down that easily. So in our experiments today, we're going to talk about white rice. White rice, or rice, is a starch. But the fact that it's white rice means that it's refined. So it's going to break down into simple sugars a little bit easier than rice. And then we have potatoes, which are also a starch. And they also tend to break down into their component sugars easier than other carbohydrates. But then we have these other starches that we'll call the resistant starches. The way they got their name is that resistant starches, when they go through the digestive system, pass through the stomach, the small intestine, and they resist digestion. They're not digested there. And that's where the word resistant comes from. They only get digested when they hit the large intestine and the colon. And the reason for that is the way they're structured. So there's three different types of resistant starches. There's the first type, which for the most part is beans, and legumes, think of your chickpeas and lentils. The reason why these starches go through your small intestine, your stomach, and don't get digested is mainly the structure of the food itself. It's got a protective coating. And it can go all the way through the stomach and small intestines without getting into digestion until they get to the colon. There's a second type, and this is one of the types that we're looking to test, and that's green bananas.

<p class="pro-tip">Learn about slow-digesting carbs from an registered dietitian</p>

Hannah Russin  06:53
Woah Bill, green bananas?

Bill Tancer  06:56
Yes, I said green bananas.

Hannah Russin  06:59
What? Why would anybody eat this?

Bill Tancer  07:02
Well, A - to get resistant starches.

Hannah Russin  07:05
By accident, I assume they bought them too early. They're desperate for a banana, it's smoothie time, I see no other reason that you would ever eat a big green banana. But by all means, carry on.

Bill Tancer  07:16
I would agree with you green bananas are an acquired taste. Now, I did find there are some ways to get green bananas into your diet. One main way is to hide it.

Hannah Russin  07:31
So to eat it.

Bill Tancer  07:34
To eat it of course you've got to eat. But to make it more palatable, I should say you can put it in a smoothie. You can cut it up and throw it into your oatmeal. So you're not just peeling and eating a green banana. I personally before these experiments was avoiding green bananas like the plague. I would wait for my bananas to fully ripen.

Hannah Russin  07:56
It's got that mouthfeel and taste. You know, nobody wants that.

Bill Tancer  08:03
Right, it is a little bit more, well green, for lack of better word. Almost tacky, maybe a little bit bitter even perhaps. But there are ways to hide it.

Hannah Russin  08:17
I was gonna say though, when we're talking about these starches, I thought that if I'm choosing carbs, complex is best. So I'm already nailing it in the Type A. Then possibly would we consider a green banana complex starch?

Bill Tancer  08:36
Yeah, parts of it are complex, but parts of it are resistant as well. Now, here's the interesting thing, is that one fruit like a banana can actually change over its lifetime, its shelf life. In the beginning, it's that green banana. It's got resistant starch in it, but also has some complex carbs. And then as it ripens, it actually develops some natural sugars. That's why it's sweeter. And a lot of that resistant starch goes away and you have what's left in addition to the added sugars is just the complex carbohydrates. So things do change over time. There's a third type I should mention, and this one I found the most intriguing, one I didn't realize existed, and that is that foods after you cook them and cool them can actually build resistant starch. There's two main ones and actually, both we've tested within the team. Hannah was kind enough to test as well, and that's cooking white rice and then letting it cool overnight in the fridge, and then white potatoes and letting those cool overnight in the fridge. They actually start to build resistant starch as they cool. So there's three main types.

Hannah Russin  09:48
This sounds fairly easy. I feel like if you're gonna make fried rice, for example, it's actually—I've learned from my light cooking experience in the fried rice category—it seems to be better to use day-old rice. So you know, this is opening up a world of possibilities.

Bill Tancer  10:06
A world of possibilities. Now with rice, I want to mention one thing, and that is if you decide to let it cool, it's important for food safety that you do refrigerate rice and not just leave it out. I do know I've talked to some individuals that say that growing up, their moms always left rice out. But there is a bacterium that exists on the coating of rice that can grow and cause some food poisoning. So for these experiments, if you can do something with rice, and let's just throw potatoes in there as well, after you cook them, it's best to refrigerate them and then eat them the next day versus letting them sit out.

Hannah Russin  10:40
Okay, so right away, it's done. I've tested it with a fork, I'm like, "okay, I'm gonna take one day, try the experiment hot, not wait." And then whatever I'm not eating, I should just store in the fridge overnight, and then repeat the experiment the next day having it rested in the fridge overnight.

Bill Tancer  11:00
Yes, exactly. Now, before I go any further, I think there's one other question that we need to answer for folks that was "Why? Why would I even think of adding resistant starch to my diet? What's the benefit for me?" And there's a couple. I mentioned that these resistant starches go through the digestive system, they don't get digested in the stomach or small intestines, but they do in the large intestine and colon. One of the things that they do is they produce butyrate. And that actually is a fuel for our microbiome.


Hannah Russin  11:31
Can you say that again? And maybe spell it: butyrate?

Bill Tancer  11:36
I don't know if I can, and this is a good point, I'm gonna make an admission here. I've always been a really poor speller. So I might have to look that up. Yeah, we can Google butyrate.

Hannah Russin  11:50
Am I saying that right? Like Gatorade, but butyrate?

Bill Tancer  11:54
I don't make the connection there necessarily, but okay. Sounds somewhat similar. You're gonna make me look this up, aren't you?

Hannah Russin  12:06

Bill Tancer  12:07
Yes, okay. So while I'm talking about that, the benefit to eating resistant starches is that they feed the beneficial bacteria that's in your digestive system—the good bacteria that actually helps you digest food. So that's one good reason for adding resistant starches.

Hannah Russin  12:31
So you could say, power to the resistance, the resistant starch? This is how I'm thinking about this Bill, the whole conversation, all I can think about is I'm eating the resistance and letting them do their thing. And this is beneficial for me.

Bill Tancer  12:45
Yes, it's a great way to think about it. And the correct spelling for butyrate is B-U-T-Y-R-A-T-E. Butyrate.

Hannah Russin  12:55
Okay, I feel like that'll come up later in life. And I will be glad that we assessed the spelling of this word.

Bill Tancer  13:01
Yes. Benefit number two, when you eat resistant starch, it tends to increase your insulin sensitivity. So it's making your body more efficient at using insulin. And as a result, can lead to some health benefits. You want to become more insulin sensitive and not insulin resistant. And resistant starches can help you do that.

Hannah Russin  13:29
So just for clarification, say a little bit about insulin resistance. I mean, my team name clearly is spike-tastic, I spike quite high when I eat foods. Would this qualify me for insulin resistance?

Bill Tancer  13:48
It may or may not. One of the things that happens when you develop conditions like metabolic syndrome, is that your body is producing more and more insulin to try and reduce the glucose that's circulating in your blood. And as more of that glucose gets converted into glycogen and fills up your glycogen stores and then tries to find some storage and fat, it gets harder and harder for insulin to cram that sugar into your fat cells. You become insulin resistant, and your glucose levels creep higher and higher, which is not good for your body. So anything we can do to increase sensitivity or reduce resistance is good for the body.

Hannah Russin  14:42
I feel a trend of green banana recipes coming on. As we talk through this. I'm like alright, I'm doing it. I'm going to figure out how to eat that green banana. Maybe you could fry them. We'll have to come up with a recipe.

Bill Tancer  14:55
We'll talk about that because cooking can be problematic for resistant starches. But I do believe there are some fun and interesting ways to get resistant starch in your diet. There's a third thing that I think is really on point for us at Signos. And that is that resistant starches tend to reduce your glucose spikes post-meal, which is exactly what we're trying to do is keep you from spiking too high. So those excess sugars after being stored in your liver muscle end up going to fat tissue. We want to keep that from happening. It's been found that resistant starches help reduce those spikes. But here's a really interesting finding that I was just reading about this morning. It doesn't just reduce the spike after a meal but has a two-meal effect. So you could have resistance starch in breakfast, reduce the spike after breakfast and then not have it for lunch. It could still reduce the spike that's happening during your lunch.

Hannah Russin  16:00
This sounds awesome, because I think it's pretty hard to be super carb conscious in breakfast for sure. But sometimes for lunch, you know you're busy, you need to plan ahead. So if you could kind of keep that superpower going to meals is a pretty good get for one green banana situation.

Bill Tancer  16:24
Absolutely. So how do we get these? Type one's probably the easiest. Just incorporate more beans and legumes into your diet. More lentils, more chickpeas, any type of bean that's your favorite bean. This is going to help you to get some of that resistant starch into your diet. That's the easiest of all these.

Hannah Russin  16:43
What is your favorite bean? Now I'm curious as I'm not sure that I have a favorite bean. But I would like to have one.

Bill Tancer  16:50
I would say hands down the chickpea, the garbanzo bean. I'm a huge hummus fan. And I have been trying to perfect hummus. I found this article about the best hummus in the world. And what they actually do is that you use dried chickpeas, soak them, and then peel each individual chickpea. So this takes me hours to make just one bowl. I take the dry chickpeas, I soak them, boil them, and then I peel each individual one. You don't have to do that. Get a can of garbanzo beans, you're gonna get the same effect. It's just I love the process. And I love taking something to the extreme.

Hannah Russin  17:34
It's the journey. It may be the destination but for you it is clearly the journey because I am definitely not taking the time to individually shell my chickpeas. Though that does sound delicious.

Bill Tancer  17:46
Right. And I've tried to use it as a mindfulness exercise, just really focus on what I'm doing.

Hannah Russin  17:51
Feel the food, touch the food, embrace the food, squish the food, eat the food.

Bill Tancer  17:55
Yes. So there's that type one. The type two—okay, I'll admit green bananas, kind of a hard thing to stomach. But as I mentioned, there are other ways to get it. One of the ways is potato starch. You can just go to the grocery store, get some potato starch, put a tablespoon or two into a smoothie, if you're into smoothies, great way to hide a resistant starch. And then there's the third way, which I'm excited about. This idea that certain carbs, once you cook them— and these are simple carbs—once you cook them and cool them, they build resistant starch. And that's what we tested with our experiment.

Hannah Russin  18:30
What, you know, we tested about 24 hours of waiting, is there an optimal time? Or would that be something that you could test your way into figuring out how long you should let the rice sit? Like at 24 hours has it maxed its resistant starch? What is my waiting time before I can eat the thing?

Bill Tancer  18:48
As far as I understand, yes. It's something that maxes out after only a few hours of cooling. And 24 hours may be excessive. If anyone runs across anything, because I haven't seen it in the research, if you could just leave a comment in our comment section letting us know what you've found and link to it, we'd love to hear about it. But as far as the research I've done, several hours is usually the peak time and you don't lose anything by going 24 hours. I don't think it degrades beyond that. As long as you can safely keep food.

Hannah Russin  19:21
Awesome. Okay.

Bill Tancer  19:23
So we launched this experiment and the experiment was to eat one cup of rice. Cook the white rice, eat it right after you cook it, and then measure your glucose. We of course use the Signos app to get a good picture of what happened in our body and our glucose spike right after that rice. So why don't you tell everybody what you spiked to because I found this so impressive.

Hannah Russin  19:51
Well, what can I say? I believe it was to 211. So basically it had the same effect on my body as drinking 50 grams of sugar like what we do when we do a glucose calibration. So, that was quite the meal there. One cup, I did add some garlic salt because just plain rice is a little boring. So a little garlic salt, but poof.

Bill Tancer  20:23
That's incredible. But this, I mean, this is something maybe some of the people listening might not have thought that just eating one cup of white rice could affect your body that way, right? It seems pretty innocuous. It's not like eating a hot fudge sundae. It's not going crazy and having some fast food in the drive thru and a large soda. Okay, just a cup of white rice.

Hannah Russin  20:50
Yeah, I was thinking like chocolate or something delicious, for me, which would basically always be in the chocolate category. Can you shed a little light, like how bad is it that I spiked to 211? My glucose dropped pretty quickly after that. But what is the after effect? Because for me, I also didn't feel bad. Some people on the team, when they spiked that high, they don't feel good. But for me, I was just like, "okay, this is another day, I just ate some rice. Here we go."

Bill Tancer  21:25
Yeah, absolutely. So if we look at the American Diabetes Association, they have some guidelines for what your blood glucose should stay within. As a healthy individual, when you have an excursion, that is when your blood glucose rises after you eat a meal, it should cap out around 140. That's their recommendation not go above 140. What happens when you go higher, and we have a weight loss zone that we calculate within our app. But when you go higher than your weight loss zone, or the guidelines from the ADA, your body needs to store all that excess glucose that's now circulating in your system. First, it's going to go to top off your glycogen stores in your liver and muscle. If it has nowhere else to go, then it's got to go into your adipose tissue, your fat tissue, and there's unlimited storage there. So the more white rice we eat, without somehow mitigating that spike, the more we gain weight.

Hannah Russin  22:27
Got it. Okay, so this is making sense. I mean, I have a weight loss range in Signos and because I am quite spiky, mine actually tops out at 125.

Bill Tancer  22:40
milligrams per deciliter

Hannah Russin  22:42
There we go. So mine actually tops out at 125 milligrams per deciliter. So this was considerably out of my weight loss range. And so if I'm doing this regularly, definitely could see how that leads to some weight gain. Probably want to investigate cutting back on the rice, which I have been doing. That is a change that I have made since using Signos. And, for the course of this experiment, I didn't actually exercise to try and decrease my spike, which is an option. You know, I had to ignore my fast rise alert in the app. We actually enable that, it's a way I could have mitigated the spike. But I wanted to see what the effect would be with no mitigation and no manipulation, just eating one cup of rice. And here we go. But what happened when you ate the rice? Well, that's a little tangent I want to take right now, which is I did the same thing. I ate the exact same amount of rice right after it was cooked. And I saw not even a spike, I went up to like, 120. How do I get your metabolic response? Is there any way we can swap?

Bill Tancer  24:00
Not that I know of. I think a lot of it has to do with genetics and our microbiome. And a lot of what we're discovering as we're testing different foods is we're validating the study that came out in 2015 in the journal Cell. It was an experiment done at the Weitzman Institute. They put CGMs on I believe, 800 people, and they measured their response to foods and they found that everybody was different. That you could have one person that would spike on ice cream and not on pizza. And then give the second person those same foods and they would do the opposite. They'd spike on the pizza, not the ice cream. And I had been avoiding white rice since I started working at Signos. This is going back to April of last year. I really haven't had any white rice because I read that simple carbs like potatoes and white rice should be avoided because they're going to spike your blood sugar. So I just thought, well, that must mean me too. And the huge eye-opener for me is that I don't really spike that much on white rice. And now I'm starting to include it in my meals without having that side effect of a post-meal spike.

Hannah Russin  25:21
You're a superstar basically, like you're metabolically super fit.

Bill Tancer  25:26
You know, I think all of us have some foods that we think spike us that may not. And one of the coolest exercises is to go through and start eating some things in moderation and see if we can find carbs that actually work for us. So we don't have to eliminate all carbs. There most likely will be some things that you can eat that you probably thought you couldn't, that won't spike you and I think this has a couple of different benefits. It's got the benefit of finding the foods that we don't have to give up. But I think it also lends to the mindfulness of eating. And I've been reading up a lot on mindfulness practices of eating. There's a doctor out of Brown University, Jed Brewer, and we should probably have him as a guest at some point on the podcast, but he talks about one of the ways to break a habit. Overeating is one of the habits he talks about. Just become curious about what you're eating. We can help you not only become curious, but we can show you how we can actually answer the question that you have. So we can show you how a cup of rice or some potatoes or a pizza or ice cream affects your body. And just that exercise alone takes you off the autopilot of eating without thinking and actually starts becoming more thoughtful about what it is that you're including in your diet. And that's an aside.

Hannah Russin  26:58
I'm all into food swaps. I am definitely curious about my food. I do not think that the level of curiosity I have leads me to perhaps eat less of it. I am as curious on the third piece of chocolate as I was on the first and they were all excellent. But I do think your ability to know when you feel full, the more that you're spending time actually slowing down to eat a meal, some of those things have been some really interesting learnings for me, from my Signos experience. And just figuring out how quickly I eat a meal. I mean, I'm a very fast eater, mostly because I'm running around, I have back-to-back calls, I have errands to run. To try actively to stop speed eating to get to the next task and to make actual time for a meal and slow down and make time for you know, a walk after a meal, it is a different outlook. And it is something that I have been now paying attention to and actively working on. And I think I've increased the time it takes me to eat a meal almost by double. Going from 10 minutes to 20 minutes or with a snack or 30-minute dinner to a 45 or an hour, but just actually enjoying the food in a different way. So that's one of the changes that I've made, as well as a lot of swaps actually. For example, I was eating Raisin Bran, which I was doing it for the bran, lots of fiber, good fiber there. And I was picking one that said it was low in sugar. Raisins are my kryptonite. They're like little tiny sugar bombs. So now I've pretty much phased out all cereal and I know people listening are going to be like, "how could you be eating cereal" but it was one of the easiest ways for me to get fiber every day and a consistent amount. So now I've switched it up to a Birch Benders, Paleo Pancake Mix, and I add extra eggs and it doesn't spike me. So I can get a warm breakfast that I wanted. I also tried Bill's obsession, oatmeal. I tried it 20 different ways. All of them spiked me. So I'm always looking for other alternatives. And I guess I would say it's bringing mindfulness. I didn't think about it that way. But it is bringing mindfulness to what you're putting in your body.

Bill Tancer  29:43
It really is. And not only that, I'm writing down a list of all sorts of food experiments that we can do next. I think food swaps will be big in there as well as something you mentioned, which is just extending your eating time, I think is huge. It allows the body to get fuller faster, and might be another great experiment that we do. But before I get too far down this road, I want to ask you what happened the next day in our experiment, when we asked you to take that same rice out of the fridge. So it wasn't just cooked right then, it's been cooling in the fridge overnight. What happened to your glucose levels, when you ate the cooled rice the next day?

Hannah Russin  30:29
This was a couple of weeks ago, but I believe I cut my spike down to 145. It was cut not totally in half, but significantly, which was pretty empowering. I was like, alright, I could make some rice pudding, or maybe I could make some fried rice. I could add some meats or some fats or some veggies to this to see what I could do to continue to decrease that spike. But at least the core of the rice wasn't quite as bad, you know? That's only 20-25 points above my range there.

Bill Tancer  31:06
And what an amazing drop to go from 220 down to the 130-140s is a huge drop. And you're right. Then once you know that, now your mind starts working well, what can I do with that rice? You mentioned a couple of the great ones. One of my favorite things is rice pudding. So finding a way of adding some fat and protein into that dish is going to further reduce the glucose response that you get from eating that rice, and it's probably going to get you well within your range that tops out at 120. Or you can do fried rice, there's all sorts of ways to add protein to that and some fats to further reduce a spike. But we didn't stop there. We also did a potato experiment. So we took some new potatoes. I did this experiment and just got 300 grams, just a fair amount of new potatoes. Boiled them, ate them, and then measured my glucose spike. It for me went to around 140. And then the next day I had cooled potatoes. And I didn't reduce my spike that much. But what I did notice is I narrowed my spikes, so it was a lot shorter in duration. And sometimes I think we get caught up in looking to see how high we spiked. Another thing that we should look at is something it's called area under the curve. So if you increase your spike over a weight loss zone that we set, and you keep it there for an extended period of time, that also can lead to some weight gain. So the fact that cooling those potatoes overnight, really did narrow the spike and I didn't have as much area under the curve, I think is beneficial. But for me, that's also opening up all sorts of ideas, which is I could take those potatoes and make potato salad, I could find all sorts of dishes to make with those cooled potatoes that I think would drop the spike even further. The other thing that I wanted to mention with these experiments is that there has been differing results when people reheat something that's been cooled. And it seems like if I look at all the studies together, there's a slight advantage to the school that thinks you shouldn't reheat something that's created resistant starch that you will probably break down that resistant starch back into simple carbs. So try and find ways that you can eat this cool potato salad. The great example is rice pudding. Another great example, if you do fried rice, I would just try and find a way to shorten the amount of cooking time so they're not spending a lot of time and heat, which is going to cause a lot of that resistant starch to break down. So a lot of great ways again to incorporate resistant starch into your diet. There's a couple that Hannah mentioned like rice pudding and my idea of potato salad. There's also that idea of just eating more legumes, eating more beans, seeds—great way of getting that type one resistant starch. And then there's additions like potato starch, very simple. You can take that. There's also green banana powder, if you want to find a palatable way to eat green bananas. Not really that available in the grocery store, but I've found them online. Amazon carries like six or seven different brands of green banana powder. If you're into smoothies, you can put a couple tablespoons of that into your smoothie. It'll hide it. You probably won't even notice the taste. You definitely won't notice the taste of the potato starch and you want to try and get somewhere between 5 to 30 grams of resistant starch in your diet per day. One thing I should also mention is it's going to take a little while for you to see results, you won't see results at that meal, you're probably going to see results in terms of the lowering of your post-meal glucose spikes and that second-meal spike over the course of about 30 days. So if you don't see results immediately, don't give up. Just keep adding that tablespoon or two or keep eating those beans and legumes for a month. And over that time, you should see a gradual reduction in your post-meal spikes.

Hannah Russin  35:33
Alright, so you're asking me to be patient, mindful. Definitely they both sound easy and terrifyingly hard. It's accessible, except I just want everything now. And also I would like the sugar. But you know, we're working on it. This is a team effort.

Bill Tancer  35:57
Yes. And I think most important with all these things we suggest is have some fun with it. I mean, I don't know if you would agree. But I would say doing these experiments, I was so excited to see the results. I was having fun doing this. It wasn't a chore, it was exciting to see how much control I could have out of the foods I'm eating and how they affect my body by making these little simple adjustments.

Hannah Russin  36:22
Yeah, I think it's interesting. I'm always up for trying new recipes. I'd actually never boiled a potato in my life. I always roast them. I will be trying this up next with my favorite roasted potatoes in the oven, cut thin so they get that crisp crackle but not quite with the garlic salt. Eating them right away, waiting a day, eating them then. Or even three hours later, I guess I could do a lunch potato and a dinner potato. But as I said, I tried your oatmeal solutions multiple ways. And it's just kinda like, don't give up, keep experimenting, keep seeing what works for you. And now I have a breakfast that doesn't spike me. I have a couple different lunch options. And I'm hot on the trail of good rice pudding recipes. So we'll see what we can post on the blog.

Bill Tancer  37:18
Absolutely. So before I let you go, there's a couple questions I always ask guests to the podcasts. And I'm going to ask you as well. And the first one is, what's been the most surprising finding that you've seen using Signos? What just shocked you? You've mentioned my oatmeal I've mentioned on the podcast, so I won't go through my whole story. But I was shocked by how I responded to oatmeal. So was there something that you saw on the app that just shocked you?

Hannah Russin  37:49
For me, it really has been how high I spike and how many foods I spike with. We have a variety of team members with very different ages and different weight ranges as well and different activity levels. And I seem to spike a lot. And historically, it has been really hard for me to lose weight. And so knowing you know that it's not somehow my fault, or I wasn't trying hard enough. And being able to see what's happening so quickly. And then take that knowledge and apply it forward like, "okay, cool! Not going to eat raisin bran for breakfast anymore." Or, "I'm gonna eat it, but I'm gonna need to do a 30-minute walk afterward." It's just sort of saying, "Okay, well, cool. I have some choices and some tools here that I didn't have. And I need to apply this lens regularly." For me, that was really just reassuring, I guess. It is hard for me, particularly to lose weight. And now I'm armed with all sorts of information and experimentation and I'm actually seeing results. I've lost about six pounds so far and for me, that is like herculean efforts. Like usually I would have to cut down to a 1200-calorie diet, and the weight would come off, but I just can't sustain that. So this is a really different way where I'm not eating significantly less, I'm just changing the composition. And that's something I can do. And I can do it for the long haul. So I'm so pleased overall.

Bill Tancer  39:31
And I think you've answered my second question, which is how has Signos change your behavior. It's been exactly that, you've found ways and I think you've made a really, really important point and that is that a lot of people when they try and lose weight, they turn to a diet and that's not what this is. This is about finding the foods that work for you. It's about personalizing your nutrition plan based on how your body responds to food. And you have provided some amazing examples of how you've been able to do exactly that.

Hannah Russin  40:02
Yeah, I mean, I'm excited to sign up for future experiments and continue to learn and continue to get really interesting ways to tweak things that I love and make them better for my glucose stability and continue on this slow and steady weight loss journey.

Bill Tancer  40:24
Awesome. Well Hannah, it is so nice having you on the program, and we can't wait to have you back to talk about a future experiment. But for right now, go out, get some green bananas.

Hannah Russin  40:35
Thank you. Thanks, Bill.

Bill Tancer  40:37
You're welcome. Thank you. Thank you for joining us today. If you enjoyed today's conversation, please like and subscribe to our podcast. If you'd like to follow us you can find us on Instagram @signoshealth. If you'd like to join Signos, you can visit our website at and sign up to request access. Till next time.

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About the author

Bill Tancer is a New York Times best-selling author. He is a co-founder and the chief data scientist at Signos and the creator and host of Signos’ podcast, Body Signals.

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