A lot of people with diabetes are fearful of pasta just because of its infamously high carbohydrate content.
They think eating pasta will spike their blood glucose levels to the moon and increase their body weight.
The truth is, pasta does have high carbohydrate content that affects blood glucose levels, but you don’t have to give it up if you have diabetes. Instead, you should pay attention to how much and what kind of pasta you should eat.
If you’re able to control your portion size and choose the right type of pasta, you can continue eating this Italian meal as part of your diabetes diet.
Before telling you how to achieve that, let’s explain how carbohydrates affect your blood sugar levels.
Excessive carb intake can lead to high blood sugar or hyperglycemia. If you have high blood sugar levels for a longer time, it could lead to health complications associated with kidneys, eyes, heart, and nerves.
So, to prevent blood sugar spikes, people with diabetes should limit their carb-rich food intake. However, they should not eliminate these foods completely, as carbohydrates are essential for the human body.
Regular pasta made of refined flour strips vitamins, minerals, and fiber from the grain, resulting in a softer and smoother texture. On the other hand, whole grain pasta is higher in fiber and other nutrients but lower in calories.
One cup (1 serving) of regular pasta contains 43g of carbs, 3 g of fiber, and 221 calories. In contrasts, the same amount of whole grain pasta has 37g of carbs, 6.3g of fiber, and 174 calories.
The higher levels of fiber and lower levels of carbs in whole-grain pasta allow slower absorption of sugars in the digestive tract. In other words, whole-grain pasta won’t raise your blood sugar as much as the regular.
What’s more, the glycemic load of whole wheat pasta is 15, whereas the one of regular pasta is 23. About 80 percent of the calories of both types of pasta are derived from carbs.
To conclude, whole grain pasta is a better choice for people with diabetes as it provides more nutrients, more fiber, fewer carbohydrates, and fewer calories than regular pasta. In addition, you can go for non-wheat based pasta like quinoa, corn, or rice-based pasta.
One cup of pasta is about a half to ¾ of a plateful. According to the USDA, grain-based foods should take only ¼ of your plate.
So, you can still enjoy your favorite food, but it’s crucial that you cut down the portion size of your pasta to keep your blood glucose levels in control. This could also leave enough space for other carb foods like bread or sauces.