March 6, 2014 by Johanna Burani
No doubt about it: carbs elevate your blood sugar level. That’s what they’re supposed to do. The body breaks down the carbohydrate in food into readily-available fuel (glucose) more easily than it does for protein or fat. How quickly that fuel enters the blood from the gut determines how much and for how long that energy will last.
Slowly-digested, low glycemic carbs (“tricklers”) give the body not the biggest “bang for its buck,” but the longest. In other words, a slowly-digested carb can provide a steady stream of glucose for the cells to use for 3-4-maybe even 5 hours! Talk about efficiency and not having to worry about low energy issues like hunger, headaches, and lack of mental sharpness!
Now, I hope I’m going to make your day by assuring you that pasta is a fabulous low glycemic carb. The body slowly digests the semolina and durum (hard) wheat flour that make up pasta.
Research has shown that the starch molecules in pasta cling tightly to each other and create a spongelike network from the protein (gluten) molecules that are also in the semolina and durum wheat flour. This slows down the cooking water from reaching the starch molecules, so that they swell and cook more slowly. The end result is slower digestion and slower release of the glucose that the digested starch molecules have become.
Good news, right? So why not plan on having some pasta with dinner tonight? Just don’t overcook it and don’t overeat it – portions still count! And why not be a little inventive? Add some cooked vegetables from your fridge or freezer to a simple tomato sauce or what about a one-dish meal with chicken, beef, shrimp or beans and some sautéed vegetables over your favorite-shape pasta.