Pasta is a popular meal across the world. Its ability to take up spices and condiments while still retaining that soft taste makes it irresistible. So What Kind of Pasta Can Diabetics Eat?
Our food choices as a diabetic matter a lot. I have come across many people with diabetes who completely avoid pasta. Also, many people are embracing a healthy diet, one which is low in carbs and sugar. Pasta is mostly avoided due to its ability to spike blood sugar levels and cause weight gain. There are some diabetic people who eat pasta and feel guilty after completing the plate. In fact, it is listed as the top 10 worst foods for diabetics on several sites.
However, this doesn’t have to be the case. There are ways of including pasta in your diabetic meal plan without foregoing your healthy diet. There are also numerous pasta substitutes that one can eat that taste close to the original pasta.
According to dieticians, pasta is not bad, but how you approach it makes the difference. Pasta contains some nutritional content too. Here is the nutritional content of pasta:
- Carbohydrates. Pasta is made up of mostly carbs, which is why many people with diabetes avoid it altogether. When eaten in small quantities, pasta can be used to fuel the body. For instance, marathon runners eat pasta on the night before the race.
- Sodium: pasta has low levels of sodium. However, if you choose to eat pasta with the sauce you are likely to come across sodium.
- Fat and saturated fat: pasta is low in fats and saturated fats. The choice of sauce you use can introduce fats into your meal.
- Low glycemic index: pasta has a generally low glycemic index when compared to white bread and spaghetti. Therefore, you are advised to eat pasta in small proportions, about a handful or one-third of a cup.
Pasta is sometimes enriched with other nutrients such as iron and B vitamins, of course deepening on the brand. One-third of a cup is approximately 15g of carbohydrates. Therefore, you can accompany pasta with other carb-containing foods to reach your medical goal for carb intake. This way you get to eat pasta accompanied by bread, fruit, milk, or guacamole.
The market has some diabetic-friendly pasta that is low in carbs. This pasta contains more fiber and protein, enough to slow down digestion. There exist brands that manufacture pasta that goes as low as 5g carbs in one and a half cups of pasta. You should try this kind of pasta and measure your blood sugar levels after several hours to measure its suitability in a healthy diabetic diet.
Can diabetics eat pasta?
As a person living with diabetes, I know you have stopped and asked yourself, “can diabetics eat pasta?” well yes! Here a few pointers on how to include pasta in your diabetic meal plan:
- Add vegetables: mixing your pasta in vegetables is a sure way to reduce the impact that pasta would have on blood sugar levels. Keep your pasta portion small and fill in with vegetables such as broccoli, lentils, and spinach. Instead of mixing pasta with the vegetables, you can choose to start off with the salad. Doctors have proved that the order in which food is taken can help stabilize blood sugar. Using proteins or veggies as appetizers followed carbohydrates is good for type 2 diabetes.
- Eat pasta as a side meal. Let the main meal be made up of grain foods. Grain foods add fiber and proteins to the mix. Pasta should account for about 15g carbs, while you fill-up the rest with grain foods. You can also pair pasta with meat proteins from fish, chicken, or eggs. Proteins will help steady blood sugar, therefore, avoiding spikes.
- Cook it al dente: cooking pasta al dente means cooking it in moderation, stop cooking it when it has a crisp, firm feel. Overcooked pasta can be dangerous to your blood sugar levels due to its high glycemic index. Al dente cooked pasta has slower absorption rates hence easy on blood sugar.
- Choose whole-grain pasta. Today, the market is filled with a variety to choose from. Whole grain pasta tends to contain fiber and has a lower carb content. Opt for the brands that have at least 3g of fiber. There are also other alternative kinds of pasta made out of brown rice, quinoa, and soy germ.
Pasta alternatives for diabetics
If following the guidelines laid for eating pasta with diabetes is hard, you can opt for the following pasta alternatives for diabetics that are just as delicious and almost similar to pasta.
- Whole wheat pasta. It contains a lot more fiber compared to white pasta. It has a similar taste to al dente white pasta. It makes the perfect pasta alternative for diabetics. You can also try gluten-free or fortified pasta both of which help with glucose control.
- Whole grains. They may not resemble pasta, however, they can take on the flavor of the sauces used just like pasta. They are of great nutritional value; they contain nutrients such as proteins, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- Spaghetti squash. It resembles pasta in appearance when cooked. It can also take up the taste of the sauces used in serving. It is a pasta alternative that is low carb and rich in other nutrients. You can eat larger portions of spaghetti squash due to its low carbohydrate content.
- Veggie curls and spirals. You can make these at home by using a vegetable peeler. Use non-starchy vegetables such as eggplant, eggplant, and cabbage.
Pasta may have already gained a bad reputation with diabetic people, however, it is not too late to redeem it. Gone are the days where diabetic people would be stuck rotating like 5 meals which were known to be healthy. Know the different types of pasta in the market and choose your poison. You can go for gluten-free vegan pasta, whole-wheat pasta, or vegetable pasta. Watch your portions when it comes to white pasta and remember to pair it with foods rich in proteins and fiber is key. I wish you the best in your exploration of what kind of pasta diabetics eat.