A lot of people with diabetes are fearful of pasta just because of its infamously high carbohydrate content.
They think Healthline will spike their blood glucose levels to the moon and increase their body weight.
The truth is, that 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.
Carbohydrates and Diabetes
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 the 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, as carbohydrates are essential for the human body.
The Right Type of Pasta
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 contrast, 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.
How Much Pasta You Should Eat
One cup of pasta is about 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.
- Check the carb levels of your favorite sauce. Tomato sauce might be a better option than Alfredo sauce, but if you still want the second option, make sure you add less.
- Instead of different sauces, try adding some vegetables to your pasta
- Cook your pasta a bit tougher and chewy instead of overly soft. In this way, your pasta will have a lower glycemic index.
- If you plan to eat pasta for dinner, reduce your carbs for lunch by about 20%.