How can I make pasta healthier?
Recent research found that cooking pasta and then cooling it changes its carbohydrate structure, and increases a type of starch called ‘resistant starch’. This starch is resistant to our digestive enzymes, which are responsible for breaking them down to release glucose – this normally causes an increase in blood sugar. Dr Denise Robertson, from the University of Surrey says that cooked-then-cooled pasta acts more like fibre in the body. This creates a smaller glucose spike (resulting in better blood sugar control), helps to feed the good bacteria in the gut and also means you absorb fewer calories from the same quantity of pasta. When the leftover pasta in the study was reheated it became even richer in resistant starch, reducing the rise in blood glucose by an impressive 50%.
Is pasta safe for everyone?
When eaten in moderation, pasta may be enjoyed as part of a varied, balanced diet. However, pasta is made from wheat and therefore contains gluten, this means if you have coeliac disease or non-coeliac gluten intolerance you should avoid regular pasta and look for products which are specifically labelled ‘gluten free’. Such products are typically made from brown rice, chickpea, green pea or buckwheat flour.