Fear of Pasta:

Should pasta be a part of our diet? Why is it that it is the first food that people eliminate when they feel they want to eat healthy or lose weight? Actually, pasta can be a good source of energy as well as a nutritious part of your diet when used properly. Sure, pasta can put on weight, but that depends on how much of it you are consuming and what you are combining it with. It should be part of the meal and not the entire meal. In other words, about a cup of cooked pasta in combination with olive oil, vegetables, beans or some animal protein can provide a nice combination of carbohydrates, fat and protein. With so many types available, is one better than the other? Regular refined pasta may seem to be an undesirable choice but in fact it is made from semolina (a hard Durum wheat) which is high in protein. Since it is refined it is also fortified with folate and B vitamins. The nature of this type of pasta is such that the way its protein and carbs are bound together it digests very slowly making it a slow release of energy in the body. Vegetable infused pasta is nothing more than colored pasta with no added nutritional benefits. Whole wheat is a step up since it contains the whole grain of the wheat so you will get both the bran (fiber) and the germ (healthy fat) of the wheat. Pastas made from beans or other grains (chickpeas, lentils, quinoa etc.) do have a higher nutritional value but vary in taste. Using pasta for energy can really work especially if you are an active person. Just be aware of portion size and incorporate other grains to vary your diet and nutritional needs.