BY: DR JASON BUSH
In 2017, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued several recall warnings for flour products. The Public Health Agency of Canada determined that thirty people had become sick after consuming foods containing raw product that had been contaminated with pathogenic E. coli strain O121. The outbreak was a serious health concern and while there were no deaths, eight people required hospitalization to recover from the illness. Following the recall, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency reminded people of the following:
- Bake or cook items made with raw dough or batter before eating them.
- Do not taste raw dough, batter or any other product containing uncooked flour. Eating a small amount could make you sick.
Despite the high degree of food safety we enjoy in the modern world, the use of ingredients in applications for which they were not intended can cause serious adverse effects. This poses a greater risk for people looking to improve their health by supplementing their diet with solutions sourced from food products ordinarily meant to be cooked.
The importance of gut health has increased the public’s interest in prebiotic supplements. Resistant starch is the most difficult prebiotic to obtain from diet alone because the prebiotic property disappears when it is exposed to heat or pressure. Most foods naturally containing resistant starch are cooked or otherwise processed, stripping away the prebiotic benefit. This realization has led ‘biohackers’ and gut health enthusiasts to supplement with uncooked flour or starch products to increase their dietary intake of resistant starch.
Herein lies the risk: Using raw flour and starch products runs contrary to the manufacturer’s advice and potentially exposes the consumer to food-borne illness.
This is likely why manufacturers of flour and starch products that contain resistant starch stop short of making resistant starch claims. Fortunately, dietary supplements carry their own substantiated recommendations, giving consumers confidence in both the efficacy and safety of the supplement. In the case of resistant starch supplements, products must undergo manufacturing processes the prevent degradation of the prebiotic properties while ensuring that the product is free from microbial pathogens.
The combination of exceptional production methods, thorough laboratory testing, and additional regulatory compliance help to explain why supplements are typically more expensive than seemingly similar ingredients found in the bulk foods aisle. When it comes to prebiotic resistant starch, the price you pay reflects the confidence you gain when using a dietary supplement.