TALK TO ME TUESDAYS- IS PASTA BAD FOR YOU?

Welcome to Talk to Me Tuesday!

Today's question is: Is pasta bad for you?

If you are going to eat pasta, it's best to buy whole wheat rather than white. I myself have decided to make this switch. Whole wheat pasta does have a different taste and may take some getting used to, but the health benefits of the wheat are worth making the switch. I find that eating whole wheat pasta fills me up more and I don't find myself eating bowl after bowl or feel hungry within an hour of eating.

Upon doing some research, here are some facts that I uncovered:

According to an article on lifescript.com by Allison Kanaley Trudell, she says that whole wheat pasta contains a whole lot of fiber which aids in digestion and reduces the risk of some types of cancer. It helps your body feel full which is an effective tool for weight control, hence what I just mentioned about feeling fuller after eating whole wheat pasta versus white.

Pastas are made with durum semolina flour. Durum has a high gluten content and when it is combined with course grind semolina, it makes the base for what we know as pasta. Semolina is made from wheat that has had the bran and germ removed during processing. However, a whole wheat grain still has the outer layer’s bran, which contains most carbohydrates and protein. As well as the germ which holds fat and nutrients. So, this basically says to me that you get more nutritional value out of the wheat variety since they don't remove the bran and germ where the nutrients reside.

Many pastas claim to be whole wheat but you must read the package to make sure you know what you're getting.

I think it's best to remember that whole wheat or not, pasta is still a processed product and very high in carbs. I happen to think of it as more of an indulgence, which is fine every now and then. It's very easy to make pasta dishes without meat or cheese. Me and JJ have made plenty. For example, tonight I'm having whole wheat pasta with spinach, mushrooms and a mushroom and garlic marinara sauce. There are so many other varieites of vegetable pasta you can make. You can also make your own sauce from scratch which we've done in the past as well and it's very easy to do. You can search the internet for recipes on how to make your own.

Another point to remember is you can make a healthful, meatless pasta and it will be just as satisfying as those loaded with cream, meat and cheese. You are making a better investment with your body by loading the pasta up with vegetables to balance out the high carb content. I do however, think that pasta still should be a once in a while thing. Many people who become vegetarian or vegan can still struggle with unwanted pounds because they use carbs such as pasta as a substitute for meat. I definitely notice the difference in my own body when I've been a little too liberal with this type of carb intake.

The bottom line is based on what I've read, pasta is not bad for you. You just need to read labels and know that the whole wheat variety is a better choice. Also, that moderation in this area is key.

One additional note is most often when you go to an Italian restaurant or even when you make pasta at home, bread seems to always be in the mix as well. This is an overload, if you are going to eat pasta, you don't need the bread. I have ALWAYS been guilty of this because I have a thing for bread. But, as I've been reading and trying to do even better for my body, this is a practice I have decided to stop.

Enjoy your pasta and save the bread for another meal!

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