Do you love pasta but are concerned about whether it is good for you or not?  Pasta comes in various forms, so the answer to that question is not black and white.  Let us take a deeper look into pasta.

Pasta is originally from Italy and you make pasta from durum wheat.  It is available as refined white pasta, or wholemeal (whole grain) pasta.  It can also be fresh or dried.  You make fresh pasta using plain durum wheat flour, water, and eggs.  Fresh pasta only lasts a few days so you need to cook it right away.  You make dried pasta from semolina, which is milled from grinding the grain of durum wheat, and then adding water.  It is then shaped and dried until all the moisture is removed and the pasta hardens.  This process extends the shelf life of the pasta.  Pasta also comes in different colours such as red, green, and purple.  The colouring comes from adding vegetable powder and is meant to give it colour and not added nutrients from the vegetables.

A serving size of cooked dried white pasta provides 336 calories, 11g of protein, 0.9g fat, 75.7g carbs, 1.4g sugars and 6g of fibre. Whole grain pasta contains about 50% more fibre than plain white pasta.

Refined white pasta is the most popular pasta. Unfortunately, eating too much-refined carbs can be detrimental to our health and is associated with various health conditions including heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.  Whole-wheat pasta is lower in calories and provides more vitamins, minerals, and fibre.  If you prefer white pasta, you are better to use fresh pasta, which will have a higher protein content and a less of an impact on blood sugar levels (even less than white rice).

To make pasta healthier, recent research has found that cooking pasta and then cooling it right away changes the structure of the carbohydrate, which increases a certain type of starch, called “resistant starch”.  “Resistant starch” is resistant to digestive enzymes that break down carbs to release glucose causing a spike in blood sugar.  What the research has found is cooked-then-cooled pasta acts more like fibre creating only a small glucose spike, helps to feed the good bacteria in the gut, and minimizes the absorption of calories.  Refrigerated leftover pasta has an even higher amount of “resistant starch”.

Eating pasta in moderation can be a part of a healthy balanced diet.  However, because it contains gluten, if you have coeliac disease or are gluten intolerant you should avoid wheat-based pasta and look for pasta that is certified gluten free.

If you are looking for some healthy pasta recipes.  Check these out: