Ongoing research to develop digestion-resistant starch for human health promotion integrates the disciplines of starch chemistry, agronomy, analytical chemistry, food science, nutrition, pathology, and microbiology. The objectives of this research include identifying components of starch structure that confer digestion resistance, developing novel plants and starches, and modifying foods to incorporate these starches. Furthermore, recent and ongoing studies address the impact of digestion-resistant starches on the prevention and control of chronic human diseases, including diabetes, colon cancer, and obesity. This review provides a transdisciplinary overview of this field, including a description of types of resistant starches; factors in plants that affect digestion resistance; methods for starch analysis; challenges in developing food products with resistant starches; mammalian intestinal and gut bacterial metabolism; potential effects on gut microbiota; and impacts and mechanisms for the prevention and control of colon cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Although this has been an active area of research and considerable progress has been made, many questions regarding how to best use digestion-resistant starches in human diets for disease prevention must be answered before the full potential of resistant starches can be realized.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/diane_birt/14/