There is a bit of a phobia around pasta these days, and the world is awash with talk of Keto and FODMAPS dieting and the need to reduce carbs. This is true when we have been over-consuming the fast carbs on offer on most of the supermarket shelves. This is changing however, with the rapid growth of supermarket chains such as Wholefoods Markets in the USA, or Harris Farm Markets in Australia, who are bucking that status.
Eat well for long term health
Reducing our intake of fast carbs may include not only changing where you shop for groceries, but also transitional diets. Transitional diets like the Keto diet and low FODMAPS diet, are more about reintroducing a more flexible metabolism, rather than a diet for the long haul. If these diets are maintained over longer periods, they can in fact have negative consequences. Keto diets might lead to a very inflexible metabolism that can no longer produce insulin adequately, while low FODMAPS diets require you to avoid some of the best prebiotic carbohydrates for your microbiome, like inulin. They can be useful to clear out the effects of a fast carb world, and to reset your metabolism and gut function, but they are not designed to follow for the long term.
Good carbs are an essential part of our lives, and if kept in a flexible balance, should form a part of a healthy diet that hopefully prevents you from having to go through rebalancing diets. After all, the Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables, healthy oils, and grains, is one that has been identified as a very healthy long-term diet to aim for, and can be a great way to wean you back onto foods that you avoided while doing Keto or low FODMAPS.
Pasta choice and preparation make a difference
Coming off a Keto diet or a FODMAPS diet, can be challenging however. Maintaining blood sugar regulation and good insulin sensitivity is a big part of the recovery from fast carb diets. The slower the carbohydrates are in your digestion and the lower the insulin spike, the better. You can choose pasta, and prepare it in ways which slow down its digestion. For example our pastas Phettuccine and SeaSpirals, are made with quality Australian durum semolina which has a better protein, fibre and mineral profile than plain pasta flours. The added seaweed further enriches the fibre, protein and mineral content. If you choose to cook it and use it in pasta salads that have cooled, then the starch in the pasta is transformed to resistant starch which is also more slow release, and reduces sugar spikes in your blood.
Healthy proteins from pasta
It is important to appreciate that pasta is not just composed of carbohydrates either, and in fact contains a nice protein profile, including all essential amino acids. By choosing our seaweed rich pasta, you can further enhance the protein content of your pasta, bringing it to 11%, of which 40% is all essential amino acids. By adding our PhycoGreen seaweed to Australian durum semolina, we increase the amount of the essential amino acids threonine, arginine and lysine by over 50% compared to plain durum pasta. This diversifies and improves the essential amino acid profile, as well as introducing very slow release SeaFibre, and multiple important micronutrients.
Threonine is an important amino acid involved in the building up of proteins, including collagen, and may help in the prevention of certain gut disorders as it supports a better gut barrier and mucous lining. Arginine is also important for protein synthesis, but is also known to be important in relaxing the walls of our arteries. Lysine is also important in collagen production in our skin, but has other roles in helping us to retain minerals like calcium.
In addition to what our seaweed adds to pasta, it is in your hands as to what other foods are served with your meal. A good way to start is with a Mediterranean style, protein and fibre rich pasta salad, that can be served hot or cold, and is great for work lunches. You can add a variety of other condiments and ingredients, such as feta cheese for calcium, roasted vegetables and olives for flavour and anti-oxidants, or walnuts for Omega-3. Adding a good lashing of Phukka to any of these recipes will add more protein and anti-oxidants again, in addition to an amazing Mediterranean flavour.
And PS - remember that you and your GP know you best. The above information targets people who do not have Type 1 diabetes, a coeliac diagnosis or other specific health condition that limits certain foods. There are many of us with unique allergies, from peanuts to elderberries of all things, and this information needs to be considered from your context. There will always be amazing food that will suit each person.