You've no doubt seen lots of recipes for pancakes that combine protein powder with other ingredients to make a clean, healthy breakfast. Now, enter the era of the super pancake. Research published in Nutrition Journal explains how pancakes made from a combination of whey protein and resistant starch will get you that protein hit you need to start the day.

But that's not all! They also can help you burn more fat after your meal and keep your appetite under control for longer.[1] And all you have to do is cool it!

What Is Resistant Starch?

Resistant starches include foods like uncooked potatoes, unripe bananas, and coarsely ground or whole-kernel grains (oats, barley, millet). They're called "resistant" because unlike normal carbs, they pass through your small intestine where starch digestion typically takes place.

The Ultimate Muscle-Building, Fat-Burning Pancake

Instead, they go straight for the large intestine, where your body's good bacteria uses the starch for food and as fuel to generate short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs). Then, your body uses the SCFAs as energy and to stimulate the production of hormones such as leptin, which regulates appetite, metabolic rate, and other functions.

It's important to have healthy gut bacteria. It's equally important to have healthy colonic bacteria, and resistant starches can help keep these bacteria colonies well fed and happy. Resistant starches may also help support healthy cholesterol levels, make you feel full longer, improve insulin sensitivity, enhance digestion, and maximize fat metabolism.[2, 3]

The Super Pancake

Researchers in the same Nutrition Journal study found that you can get even more benefits from resistant starch by eating it with protein. When you take a resistant starch like waxy maize and combine it with whey protein, you're creating a very healthy, fat-burning breakfast.

It already sounds amazing, but you can make it even healthier still!

The Ultimate Muscle-Building, Fat-Burning Pancake

As a rule, cooking or boiling foods high in resistant starches makes them easier to digest, which results in glucose flooding into your blood stream at a rate that can spike your blood glucose levels. But when you let these same starches cool down, the opposite happens. The starches become harder to digest, introduce glucose into the blood stream more slowly, and improve the health of your large intestine. But if you heat them again, you're back where you started, with an easily digested starch that floods your blood stream with glucose.

To get the full SCFA-burning benefit of a pancake made with resistant starch, combine it with a protein source like whey, cook it, let it cool down, then eat it. If eating these pancakes when they're cold isn't appealing, don't let them cool all the way. You'll still be ahead of the game.

  1. Gentile, C. L., Ward, E., Holst, J. J., Astrup, A., Ormsbee, M. J., Connelly, S., & Arciero, P. J. (2015). Resistant starch and protein intake enhances fat oxidation and feelings of fullness in lean and overweight/obese women. Nutrition Journal, 14(1), 113.
  2. Higgins, J. A. (2004). Resistant starch: metabolic effects and potential health benefits. Journal of AOAC International, 87(3), 761-768.
  3. Nugent, A. P. (2005). Health properties of resistant starch. Nutrition Bulletin, 30(1), 27-54.

About the Author

Laura Williams, MS

Laura Williams, MS

Laura Williams, MS, is a freelance writer and exercise science instructor.

View all articles by this author