Pasta: Good or Bad?

by in Food News, Healthy Recipes, February 3, 2009

Thankfully, the low-carb diet craze is on its way out, but during the anti-starch explosion, pasta took a severe beating. But pasta is GOOD! Here’s why…

The Nutrition Facts
One cup of cooked spaghetti has approximately 220 calories, 1 gram of fat and no cholesterol. Most pastas on the market are enriched with iron too. Whole grain pastas contain about the same calories as regular pasta but have more protein, fiber and vitamins. As an added bonus, all that protein and fiber means that you’ll feel more satisfied by eating less.

Your choices don’t stop at whole wheat; other whole grain pastas include brown rice (my personal fave), corn and soba. Barilla also makes the tasty Barilla Plus, which has fiber, protein and added omega-3 fats (Toby’s kids are huge fans).

The reason that low-carb promoters bashed pasta is actually the main reason it’s so good for you! Pasta is great source of carbohydrate, the body’s primary source of energy (your brain runs on carbs and carbs alone –- that’s pretty important, no?).

So instead of looking at pasta as the enemy, embrace it as a vital energy source. The trick is making pasta part of a varied diet (read on).

Serve It Up!
Portion control is most important. Eating huge portions of pasta smothered with cheese or a heavy cream sauce expands waistlines. Keep portions to 1 to 1 1/2 cups per person and add vegetables and lean meats, beans or fish to balance out the meal.

Just about every cuisine on the planet has traditional pasta dishes. Enjoy wheat pasta with tomato and olives or a light cream sauce. Try rice noodles wrapped with veggies, or lo mein noodles (made from wheat flour) with an Asian-inspired sauce. I love to stir fry vegetables with some soy sauce, add cooked brown rice spaghetti, Srirahca chili sauce and a heaping tablespoon of natural peanut butter. Toss to combine and melt the peanut butter and you have a fabulous dinner in minutes.

The Bottom Line:
As with everything, enjoy pasta in moderation — be mindful of portion sizes and experiment with all the glorious varieties.

Photo by G & A Scholiers

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Comments (29)

  1. Pudge says:

    Quite simple actually………

    Bleached, washed, and processed flour has a high glycemic value. This means that it causes a large rise in blood sugar per unit consumed.

    A large rise in blood sugar causes a large amount of insulin to be released. This means increased fat storage, possible low blood sugar (requiring more carbs to make things right), cravings and the like.

    This is why we try to avoid white flour.

    The less refined the pasta is the better it is for you because it takes more time for you body to proccess it.

  2. s4595tild1m says:

    You ought to really control the responses at this site

  3. Joanna says:

    All types of pasta are good for you because they have lots of vitamins and protein. As long as you eat a small amount such as 1-1/2 cup, your alright.

  4. Beth says:

    Where can you find Dreamfields Pasta?

  5. Kathy T says:

    You can find Dreamfields Pasta in most large supermarkets. Or, if you can't find it, you can order it online. It's the only pasta that doesn't shoot my blood sugar sky high and it tastes like regular pasta.

  6. Mary Whitesides says:

    I think its wonderful that pasta is so good for most people – but for me who is gluten intolerant – I can't enjoy a plate of whole wheat pasta. Dang!! Must use Quinoa.

  7. Angie says:

    Have you ever been checked for gluten intolerance?

  8. Debra says:

    I Love Dreamfields pasta….I promote it to my clients. It's just the best one I've found so far, that is low glycemic and tastes GREAT. My husband is italian, and he loves it…so you know it's good. Small selection but Wegmans Markets carries the largest selection I've seen. Genuardi's comes in a close second. If your following the Transitions Lifestyle System…(I'm a certified coach)…or find your carbohydrate sensitive, insulin resistant or diabetic…Dreamfields will have the least impact on your bloodsugars.

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