Is pasta healthy? #WorldPastaDay

Ask an Italian mama and you’ll probably get a different answer from a low carb dieter as to whether or not pasta is healthy!

But that’s the beauty of the health and wellness grid. We’re all about bringing you all aspects of information so you can make an informed choice for yourself.

Most of us have been bought up with the idea that we need a balanced amount of protein, starchy carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and dairy in order to stay healthy.

In March 2016, Public Health England replaced its eatwell plate with the eatwell guide to define the government’s advice on a healthy, balanced diet. The guide is a visual representation – based on five food groups – showing the proportion that each food group should contribute to a healthy, balanced diet.

The eatwell guide suggests just over one third of the foods you eat should be starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes, bread, rice and pasta. And they recommend eating wholegrain pasta and rice where possible as it is higher in nutrients and fibre, plus it keeps you feeling fuller for longer.

public health england eatwell guide for health and wellness

IN 1995, pasta was the enemy and we were told to avoid it at all costs.  In 2012, we were told that pasta made us more fat than bacon! In 2017, we all breathed a sigh of relief when an article in the BMJ suggested that pasta does NOT make you fat, and can in fact, help you lose weight. So what’s the truth?

One serving of cooked pasta has around 200 calories, 1 gm of fat and 43 grams of carbs.

It’s clear pasta isn’t fattening on its own.

It’s most likely to be HOW you eat it that makes all the difference.

Consider eating pasta for your two main meals of the day, slathered with cheesy, creamy sauces. Compare that to eating pasta twice a week with lots of veggies – such as a tomato based sauce – and including healthy fats, such as olive oil, served with protein such as chicken pieces and a side salad. And then compare that to eating out at an ‘all you can eat buffet’ in your local Italian restaurant!

It seems your Grandmother (regardless of whether she’s Italian or not) was right – as with all things in life, enjoy pasta in moderation! Pasta isn’t bad per se (unless you have a gluten intolerance, but that’s a whole ‘nother story), it’s the amount you eat and what you eat it with that will contribute to you piling on the pounds.

Here’s one other tip I picked up. Apparently, cooking pasta ‘al dente’ lowers its GI index. Wondering what the GI index is? The Glycemic Index (GI) ranks carbohydrate in foods according to how they affect blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates with a low GI value (55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolised and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose and, therefore insulin levels. Foods in this category include wholegrains, lentils and vegetables.

Carbohydrates with a high GI value (70 or more), are more quickly digested, absorbed and metablolised and can therefore increase blood glucose and insulin levels much more quickly. Foods in this category include sugary soft drinks, white bread and many breakfast cereals. These foods often lead to a quick ‘crash’ afterwards.

Longing to get pasta back on the menu? Here are some books to get you started and three tasty and healthy recipes:

super food chicken pasta salad

Loaded with tender chicken, earthy beetroot, peppery radishes and crunchy pumpkin seeds this super food chicken pasta salad recipe looks so colourful:
super food chicken pasta salad recipe

Roasted vegetable penne

Roasting your veggies before tossing with penne amps up the flavor of your whole dish in this recipe.

Tuna fettuccine

Giving you a portion of oily fish, this is a lovely pasta dish includes crushed almonds for texture, creaminess and depth of flavour.
tuna pasta



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