Delicious Living Blog

Time to end the pasta guilt

by Jenny Ivy
Apr 03, 2018

Is pasta really that bad for you? A new study suggests it may be getting an undeserved bad reputation.

In the movie Eat Pray Love, Julia Roberts’ character Elizabeth is at a crossroads in her life. She leaves behind a husband, house and career when she embarks on a self-discovering journey through Italy, India and Indonesia.

Italy is where she finds her food awakening, indulging in a heaping mound of spaghetti that she would have never touched back home. In her culinary tour, she resolves to ditch the carbohydrate guilt and opt to buy bigger jeans rather than worry about the weight she puts on.

I also have a love-hate relationship with pasta, in that I love how it tastes and how comforting it can be, but I hate the stigma that surrounds eating it. If I could, I would eat a simple angel hair pasta with sweet marinara sauce dish every other night.

But is pasta really that bad for you? A new study suggests it may be getting an undeserved bad reputation. Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto say that unlike most “refined” carbohydrates, which are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, pasta has a low glycemic index, meaning it causes smaller increases in blood sugar levels than those caused by eating foods with a high glycemic index.

When they studied 2,500 people who ate pasta instead of other carbs as part of a low-glycemic diet, they found that pasta didn’t contribute to weight gain or increase in body fat. Their trial subjects ate an average of three servings of pasta (one-half cup of cooked pasta per serving) a week instead of other carbs.

So, maybe I can pamper myself a few nights a week with a moderate amount of angel hair pasta. But, as the research suggests, I’ll dodge the weight gain only if I’m following a healthy diet and eating other low-glycemic index foods.

“I'm so tired of saying no and waking up in the morning and recalling every single thing I ate the day before,” Roberts’ character Elizabeth says. “Counting every calorie I consumed so I know exactly how much self-loathing to take into the shower. I have no interest in being obese; I'm just through with the guilt.

Thank you, Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the book that inspired the movie. I'm going for it, too. 

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