Carbs are our bodies main source of energy, so a very important part of our diet.
Pasta sits squarely in the carb basket, and can be vastly underrated. Here are some reasons we think it’s a star carb.
It’s a slow digest compared with purer carbs
The simplest carbs, like rice cakes, boiled white rice or boiled potato are made from chains of glucose units. These are quickly digested and the glucose easily absorbed into the blood stream. This gives a portion of boiled rice a GI of 72 and potatoes 82 (where pure glucose is 100). A portion of boiled spaghetti has a GI of 46. The rise in blood glucose is slower and the energy available for longer.
Pasta wheat has protein
Regular pasta has one ingredient, durum wheat. This wheat needs the elastic protein gluten to give pasta it’s strong structure. No good if you can’t tolerate gluten, but otherwise a 90g dry serve gives a 200g cooked serving which provides around 20% of our protein requirement for the day.
Pasta is a vehicle for extra nutrients
Pasta is virtually fat free, but it needs a protein complement. To get a truly nutritious, delicious meal, there are endless additions we can make. We can add a rich tomato sauce with tuna, a simple Arabiata with chilli and anchovies or pesto with veg like peas and asparagus. It’s only the addition of fatty meats or creamy sauce that makes a pasta meal less healthy.
Served with a green salad, pasta has everything
Chilled reheated pasta has an interesting story of its own. Check out Carbs and Cooking at Diabetes UK for more on this.
If you would like to learn more about the Glycaemic Index check this out from the Better Health Channel.