Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Watching Those Pasta Carbs & Calories

Carlo recently wrote about pasta in a recent blog. He noted that the Italians eat much more pasta on average than Americans. Yet somehow the Italians aren't as chubby as Americans. There's great news here if you are watching your diet.

The secret -- as Carlo pointed out -- is not to overcook your pasta! Pasta should be chewy. It simply tastes better when cooked "al dente." But there are health benefits to eating al dente pasta, especially for the millions of Americans who are susceptible to Type II diabetes or trying to lose weight. Al dente pasta releases its energy gradually because the starches are broken down naturally over a longer period of time. Inversely, when pasta is overcooked, the starches quickly turn into simple sugars. This is not good for those watching their carbohydrates or trying to curb their appetites.

Overcooked pasta is like eating a Snickers Bar. It's satisfying, but the satisfaction quickly wears off after the "carb rush," and sure enough you are soon hungry again.

The good news is that pasta can be part of every diet. Prepare pasta "al dente" and you have less concern about both carbs and calories.

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