Diet Science

Science says Spaghetti is back on the menu!

October 16, 2020

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Science says Spaghetti is back on the menu!

It’s National Pasta Day and we couldn’t be more happy to celebrate.

For many years our diet culture would’ve had you believe that Pasta was pure evil, but luckily the science is in!

Scientists, nutritionists, and foodies alike have all agreed on what Italians have known for centuries…. Pasta just isn’t that bad. It totally has a place within a balanced healthy diet.

But before you go and give yourself permission to gorge on a lobster-stuffed fried macaroni and cheese to celebrate, there are a few important details to pay attention to when making pasta truly healthy.

First of all, we’re talking about pasta, and pasta alone.

We mean real, unprocessed handmade or naturally made pasta with simple ingredients like egg, salt, and flour. Gluten-free pasta, rice pasta, chickpea pasta are all fine too as long as the ingredients are natural and simple.

We’re not talking about Kraft Macaroni and Cheese or Spaghetti O’s, and we don’t vouch for the nutrition of Olive Garden.

We also aren’t talking about the toppings. Sorry. Just the pasta itself. A lot of the calories, fat, unhealthy elements get added on top of pasta, and that’s not pasta’s fault. So say arrividerci to that can of ‘alfredo sauce’ and give it two kisses goodbye. We’re talking about the old-school, real-deal, the ace of bases, pasta.

The Low Down on “Low Carb”

Ever since the ‘low-carb’ diet trend hit in the mid 90’s Americans have been obsessed with lowering their ‘carb’ intake. The problem is… this trend was super indiscriminate and treated every gram of carbs as exactly the same and always bad. But it’s 2020 and we’re over sterotypes. It’s time to recognize carbohydrates as the complex bunch they are, and stop saying they’re all the same.

While highly-processed bleached flour products like cake, cookies, and white bread are obvious no-nos; perfectly good and vital foods like pasta have been tossed into the pot with all the rest.

Why?

Know Your GI’s, Joe

It’s all about the GIs. The glycemic index, that is.

First of all, carbs are not bad.

Carbohydrates are actually the most important macro nutrient for us to consume. Carbohydrates give us energy, nutrition to burn, and keep us feeling full longer.

Carbs can be found in every food item, not just breads and rice, from spinach, to beans, to apples! When people recommend lowering your carb intake, they usually mean cutting back on processed flour products. That’s because these highly processed flour products have a high glycemic index.

Simply put, the glycemic index is a ranking system for the quality of carbs in the foods you eat based on how they affect your blood glucose levels. When you eat a carbohydrate with a high glycemic index (over 70) your blood sugar levels spike and then crash, leaving you tired and hungry again with extra glucose in your system that your body, if unused, turns to store as fat. Boooo!

But when we eat low glycemic foods (with a value of 55 or under) like apples, spinach and PASTA, our blood sugar levels stay steady for longer, causing us to have sustained energy, satiated hunger, and less glucose to store as fat.

Ever wonder why Italians are so thin? Well… now you know. The mediterranean diet balances whole grains, legumes, pastas and veggies with pure oils and small amounts of healthy fats for an overall well balanced, satisfying meal!

Quick, to the study!

Researchers from St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto analysed a total of 2,448 people from 29 studies to test the result of eating a half cup of pasta 3.3 times a week, instead of other forms of carbohydrates. 

“The study found that that pasta didn’t contribute to weight gain or increase in body fat,” said Dr John Sievenpiper, consultant physician and lead author of the study. In fact, those who ate pasta as part of a low-GI diet actually ended up losing a small amount of weight.

Eating the Right Kind of Pasta

Not all pasta is made the same!

Like we said, we don’t vouch for Olive Garden. But we do vouch for our own gluten-free pasta that comes in all your favorite pasta-forward MacroPlate meals.

Ciao, Pasta Loioco!

MacroPlate’s pasta comes from local LA favorite (and conveniently our neighbor) Pasta Loioco, sometimes known as Pasta Gluten-Free.

Roberto Loioco started the pasta company after moving to Los Angeles from Puglia, Italy. After searching supermarkets, local grocers, and farmer’s markets, he was surprised to find that no one had a handmade gluten-free pasta that matched his needs in quality and taste. As an Italian, there was no way we was going to give up pasta forever. So since he couldn’t find it, he had to make it.

“Not being able to eat pasta and pizza is a tremendous loss and can be difficult to accept. When we started making gluten-free pasta, we focused on people like you and I, who got diagnosed with celiac disease who suddenly need to change our diets. We don’t want to miss the flavors that we grow up with. That’s why we created our FRESH gluten-free products just like our grandmother used to make, with the best raw ingredients.”

At MacroPlate, we love working with Pasta Loioco, and using their handmade gluten-free pastas in many of our meals. Because sometimes, you just need to celebrate life with a little pasta.

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