Don’t Fear the Noodle

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Duke Student Health Nutrition

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“Pasta demand wanes as health-conscious consumers see it as carb demon”. This recent headline had us shaking are heads. According to this article pasta sales are declining even in Italy! Pasta makers are busily working to change their recipes and creating “healthier” versions of their products in hopes of appealing to a more health conscious consumer.

Thumbnail But is it really necessary to be fearful of the farfalle? Scared of spaghetti? Run from rigatoni? Ok you get the point. 

Unless you have a wheat allergy, celiac disease or severe gluten intolerance there is no need to avoid this delicious and versatile food. 

Despite what you may have heard, pasta will not make you fat or test the limits of your blood sugar when eaten as part of a balanced diet. A serving size of pasta (generally 1 cup cooked) contains 7 grams of protein (same as an egg or an ounce of chicken) and about 2 grams of dietary fiber--- not too shabby. Additionally the type of wheat used to make pasta- durum wheat, is a harder wheat and digests more slowly, which unlike more processed starches does not cause an excessive rise in bloods sugar.

Sure if you top it with lots of cheese and heavy meat sauces, it becomes a higher calorie meal choice (but so would cauliflower or kale prepared in the same manner). However if eaten in a traditional Mediterranean manner with lots of veggies and lean protein and a light sauce (olive oil and garlic, marinara, pomodoro) you can create a delicious balanced meal- and that is certainly not scary.