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Healthy Weight Center > Research > The Great Pasta Debate: 1 | 2

The Great Pasta Debate (cont.)
By Bob Barnett, Health Editor, Parenting


Pasta is one such low-glycemic food. It raises blood sugar much more slowly and evenly than white bread or potatoes—even though it's usually made from refined white flour. This is because pasta, made from hard durum wheat mixed with water and then dried, takes a long time to break down in the intestines, so it releases its carbs much more slowly than do potatoes or most breads—especially if it's served al dente.

Similarly, gnocchi, a pasta-like product made from durum wheat and potato flour, has a lower glycemic effect than potatoes.

The Right Way to Eat Pasta

So, yes, pasta is healthy—if you eat it like southern Italians: cooked al dente, prepared with olive oil and beans or vegetables or fish, served in modest portions, followed by a piece of fish or lean meat, and perhaps a side of garlicky greens, with wine to drink, and fruit for dessert.

By Italian standards, a modest portion is considered to be about a cup of cooked pasta for an appetizer and about two cups for a main dish. A huge bowl of overcooked pasta with a butter or cream sauce is another matter.

Of course, Americans aren't the only ones to succumb to the obesity-generating modern lifestyle. "When I was in short trousers, gelato was a treat once a week," said Andrea Strata, MD, a professor of nutrition at the University of Parma, Italy. "Now it's an achievement to give to your kids twice a day!"

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