Is Pasta Healthy For Us?

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Pasta is a favorite comfort food among kids and adults alike, but is it really healthy for us? Pasta is quick, economical and a favorite comfort food and one of the few foods that kids love. It can be part of a healthy diet since it is a complex carbohydrate. However, some researchers and medical experts concerned about insulin resistance, obesity and diabetes suggest that pasta and other high carbohydrate foods could be contributing to these illnesses. The health benefit of pasta depends on who is eating it as well as the type and amount that is eaten. Children, distance athletes and thin adults probably benefit from eating pasta the most. They need the carbohydrate calories. If you are overweight, have insulin resistance, Type II Diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, you should limit the type and amount of pasta. QUESTION: SHOULD WE EAT WHOLE GRAIN PASTA? Whole grains supply more fiber and greater nutrients. Whole grains also tend to have a lower glycemic index which means they don’t spike insulin levels. Most pasta has a low glycemic index, but it depends on how long you cook it. The longer you cook it, the higher the glycemic index. If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, avoid regular pasta, but there are more choices. Regular pasta: semolina wheat flour (wheat and gluten), moderate glycemic index, good for normal individuals. 2 oz. 200 calories, 1 g fat, 41 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 7 g protein Whole grain pasta: whole wheat flour (wheat and gluten), lower glycemic index, good for diabetics, heart disease, weight loss, constipation. 2 oz. 190 calories, 1 g fat, 34 g carbohydrates, 6 g fiber, 9 g protein Spelt pasta: spelt flour, non-hybrid grain related to wheat (gluten), lower glycemic index, may be tolerated by people with allergies, easier to digest, more B vitamins and minerals. 2 oz. 190 calories, 1.5 g fat, 40 g carbohydrates, 4 g fiber, 8 g protein Brown rice pasta: brown rice/rice bran (no wheat or gluten), higher glycemic index, hypoallergenic, gluten, corn, soy and wheat-free, good for celiac, wheat allergies, IBS, may not be good for diabetics and insulin resistance. 2 oz. 210 calories, 2 g fat, 43 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein Quinoa corn pasta: quinoa and corn (no wheat or gluten), moderate glycemic index, good for celiac, IBS, wheat allergies, heart disease, diabetes, weight loss, higher in minerals and B vitamins, easier to digest. 2 oz. 180 calories, 2 g fat, 35 g carbohydrates, 2.5 g fiber, 4 g protein Buckwheat pasta: buckwheat and brown rice (no wheat or gluten), low glycemic index, good for celiac, IBS, wheat allergies, heart disease, diabetes. 2 oz. 220 calories, 46 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, 3 g fiber, 8 g protein Lentil pasta: lentils (no wheat or gluten), low glycemic index, high in minerals and B vitamins, good for celiac, IBS, wheat allergies, heart disease, diabetes. 2 oz. 190 calories, 33 g carbohydrates, 1 g fat, 5 g fiber, 13 g protein Shirataki pasta: yam flour and tofu (no wheat or gluten), low glycemic index, good for celiac, wheat allergy, heart disease, diabetes, contains soy. 4 oz. 20 calories, 0.5 g fat, 3 g carbohydrates, 2 g fiber, 1 g protein QUESTION: WHAT ARE THE HEALTHIEST WAYS TO PREPARE PASTA? Add to soup, toss with pesto and herbs, top with marinara, vegetables and cheese.