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Pasta, to eat or not to eat?

Updated: Dec 1, 2021

One of the most consumed foods in the world, pasta is always a food that people ask me whether to eat.

For a cruel question whether I eat or not, my answer is, it depends!

If the person is not on a low-carb, calorie-restricted, or other special condition, eating pasta is beneficial.

The benefits mentioned here are for whole pasta, refined pasta is rich in carbohydrates and low in fiber. Therefore, eat wholegrain pasta to get the health benefits, otherwise it is better to avoid consumption..”

Pasta is produced with wheat flour and water, however other ingredients such as eggs can also be added, this will depend on the manufacturer. Pasta manufacturers typically use milled durum wheat (semolina) although soft wheat flour and other cereal flours are also used. That's why it's important to read the label to know the ingredients used.

Whole wheat pasta is indeed the best choice for health as it is significantly richer in fiber and nutrients than its refined counterpart. During the refining process, wheat loses about 60% of its grain, a portion that includes its most nutritious components, bran, and germ. Consequently, refined wheat is less nutritious and provides less than half the amount of B vitamins, minerals, and fiber as whole grains.

Normally, to be considered whole, the pasta needs to have at least 51% whole grains.

Benefits, risks, and adequate consumption of pasta

Whole grain pasta contains fewer calories for 100 g of dry product (about 324 kcal per 1356 kJ) and supplies more fiber (6 g) and 25% more proteins than the traditional refined pasta. Whole grain pasta is an excellent source of B vitamins, iron, selenium, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and alpha-linolenic acid. Due to its nutritional profile, pasta is considered nutritious and brings important health benefits. It is important to emphasize that to obtain the health benefits of noodle consumption, it is necessary to follow a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Wholegrain pasta can bring different health benefits. Because it is rich in fiber, it helps control body weight as fiber promotes satiety. In addition, fibers are important for good bowel function, as they accelerate intestinal transit and increase the volume of stools, facilitate their elimination, and prevent constipation and colorectal cancer. But it is important to emphasize that the intestinal benefits of fiber are only achieved if adequate amounts of water are consumed. Then calculate a daily intake of 30 to 35 mL of water per kg of body weight.

The dietary fiber in pasta also helps to reduce the intestinal absorption of fats and cholesterol, which provides protection against high cholesterol and cardiovascular disease.

Another important function of fiber is the removal of toxins, which helps to control and regulate the pH in the intestine, promoting balance.

Wholegrain pasta has a low glycemic index, which means that the glucose from its consumption is released more slowly into the bloodstream, which guarantees satiety for a longer period, avoids the peak of glucose and the increased need for insulin. This helps with glucose control and body weight control.

Attention: the benefits mentioned here are for whole pasta, refined pasta is rich in carbohydrates and low in fiber. Therefore, eat wholegrain pasta to get the health benefits, otherwise it is better to avoid consumption.

The amount of pasta to be consumed and the frequency will depend on everyone, as each person has a different energy and nutritional need. To find out the exact amount you can consume, request an individualized menu with us.

The best way to consume pasta is with vegetables and olive oil, accompanied by a lean protein such as fish.

I don't recommend eating every day as varying the food is important to make the diet more nutritious. Two to three times a week is enough.

Individuals with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should not consume pasta or should consume a gluten-free product.

Diabetics and obese people should be careful with the consumption of pasta, preferring the whole meal and adjusting the quantity and frequency.

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