How can eating pasta help with weight loss?

In most diets, pasta is either on the “forbidden foods” list or at the very least, on the “eat sparingly” list.

This is because pasta is a form of carbohydrate which gets broken down by the body into sugar and causes an increase in blood sugar.  The body then releases insulin to bring the level of sugar in the blood under control and this can cause excess sugar to be stored in the body as fat.  And this speedy increase in blood sugar followed by a rapid decrease as the insulin comes into play, results in hunger pangs and a desire for more sugary foods.

Making foods high in fibre part of your diet helps keep blood sugar levels steadier as you get a slower release of glucose into the bloodstream after eating. Blood sugar levels increase slowly instead of undergoing the rapid rise seen after sugars such as sweets and cakes – and carbohydrates such as pasta – are consumed.  So eating higher levels of fibre and keeping the carb consumption down helps people to maintain a healthy weight.

Scientists have discovered that by heating and then cooling pasta down before eating it, the type of starch is changed to what is known as “resistant starch” and so your body treats it more like fibre when digesting it.  Resistant starch is so named as it is resistant to the various enzymes which break down starch in the body’s gut so less sugar is released into the bloodstream.  This offers the opportunity for people to still enjoy some pasta as part of a healthier diet.

However, some people (me included) are not keen on eating cold pasta.  So the news that a further discovery has now been made will be most welcome.  Scientists at the University of Surrey have discovered that if heated and then cooled pasta is reheated before eating, the effect on glucose in blood is considerable reduced with the level of blood sugar decreasing by a further 50%.

You can read more about this in the BBC News Magazine article.