Pasta is one of the favorite dishes of adults and children at home. According to a survey conducted by the OpenTable platform, When it comes to international cuisine, Italian is (by far) the Spanish favorite., higher than Mexicans, Americans, or Asians.In fact, pasta consumption in our country has increased by 10% in the past decade, which means We eat an average of 4.19 kilograms per person per year; although this is much lower than the consumption of the Portuguese (6.6 kg) or the French (8 kg).
There are several reasons why pasta is given such prominent place: it’s economical, it’s quick and easy to cook, it’s versatile, and it lasts in the pantry for a long time…although it also Along with this comes the false belief that it will make you gain weight, and the belief that we must eliminate it from our diet if we want to lose weight or control it.
Given that pasta has a high caloric intake (375 calories/100g) and a high amount of carbohydrates (76%), to some extent, if you are very conscious of your weight, you may feel a little uncomfortable when it comes to pasta. Reluctant, this is understandable. Eat it. But despite the bad reputation, we can’t forget that nutritionists insist time and time again that no isolated food can make you fat by itself, but that the entire diet must be considered and evaluated as a whole.
Not only that, according to a study published in the famous magazine “BJM”, When pasta is consumed in a healthy eating pattern, it does not lead to weight gain or an increase in body fat.. Furthermore, giving up pasta will only increase your desire to eat it, so the wisest thing to do is to include it in your meals, but do so sensibly. Here are some tips to help you achieve this goal so you can enjoy it without worrying about gaining weight.
Use high quality slurry
Not only does quality pasta taste better, it also has a better texture, and if you cook it al dente, it will stay that way longer. As a result, ten dishes can be made by just adding a few ingredients. On the other hand, when using standard pasta, you have to resort to a very flavorful and thick sauce to make up for its weaknesses.
As with other foods, not exceeding the amount is crucial to avoid weight gain. When it comes to pasta, a very common reference is to eat 80 to 100 grams of dry pasta. However, the Spanish Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sets the recommended intake for adults at around 60 grams. If you are on a diet to lose weight, it should be reduced to 40-50 grams.
As for frequency, nutritionists recommend consuming no more than two to three times a week.
Best overall version
There is almost no difference in the calories provided by whole wheat pasta and white pasta, but it is still recommended to choose the former because it is healthier and more suitable for weight control. In the case of white pasta, the grain goes through a refining process that removes some interesting nutrients, such as fiber or minerals like magnesium, iron, and zinc.
On the other hand, the higher fiber content lowers the glycemic index of whole wheat pasta. That is, it’s absorbed more slowly, creates a feeling of fullness more easily, and helps maintain constant blood sugar levels; so you don’t get that “low” or hungry feeling soon after eating.
Cooked al dente
There are a few reasons why it’s important to let your pasta harden slightly. For one thing, a harder, more chewy consistency forces us to chew more and eat more slowly, allowing time for satiety hormones to be released, so we feel full faster and eat less.
On the other hand, when pasta is cooked al dente, undegraded starch crystals remain inside and cannot be broken down by gastric juices, so they do not enter the bloodstream as glucose, thereby reducing calorie intake. As for the starch crystals on the surface of the pasta, even if they are soft due to partial hydration, our digestive system has to do a lot of work to break them down, so digestion slows down a lot and the glucose passes through the intestinal wall and enters the bloodstream bit by bit . This will lower the glycemic index of the pasta, preventing another blood sugar spike and hunger pangs soon after eating.
To prepare al dente pasta, strictly adhere to the manufacturer’s recommended time and, after the minutes have passed, add a little cold water to the pot to stop cooking. One trick to know if the pasta is at this point is to take a sample and cut it in half: if the pasta is slightly firm and slightly darker in the center, it’s ready. Remember, if you plan to put the pasta in the oven later, you should take it out a little early (30-90 seconds) to prevent overcooking it later.
let it cool
If you cool pasta after cooking it, its structure changes into what’s called “resistant starch.” It is not easily digested and absorbed slowly by the body, unlike pasta that is eaten immediately after cooking, making it easier to feel full. But you don’t need to eat your pasta completely cold, either. We can heat it slightly, but not more than 130°, because at this temperature the starch will return to its previous state.
Anyway, don’t think it’s a magic trick, just leave the pasta in the refrigerator overnight and you can eat as much macaroni as you want. It’s just another resource.
But really, in large quantities, it’s not enough to add a few cherries to give it color, let alone think that you can save on vegetables if you use tri-colored pasta.
When it comes to the ratio of ingredients and nutrients, the reference is the so-called “Harvard Plate”. According to this, half of your plate should be vegetables, a quarter carbohydrates, and a quarter protein. Therefore, the goal is to eat “vegetables with pasta” dishes rather than “pasta with vegetables.”
As for protein, forget about adding bacon or sausage. Instead, choose leaner proteins: chicken breast, eggs, fish, low-fat cheese…
Be careful with the sauce
We often blame excess calories on pasta, when in fact the sauce we add is the culprit. Butter- or cream-based sauces provide creaminess but also contain a significant amount of calories; many ultra-processed tomato sauces you can buy contain large amounts of sugar.
Instead, opt for homemade sauce. Two very simple options are classic tomato sauce, using sweet vegetables like carrots or pumpkin instead of sugar to eliminate the acidity. Alternatively, you can simply sauté the pasta in a little oil in which you’ve sautéed the garlic and chilli previously.
If you like it and can tolerate it, a good idea is to add some spices such as cayenne pepper, ginger, etc… These all contain capsaicin, a chemical that promotes thermogenesis and increases metabolism, causing more heat to be burned; indeed Not too much, but it all adds up to one more reason to enjoy it if you like spicy food.
Just the right amount of cheese
Cheese contains a lot of calories, so use it in moderation, and if your recipe allows, choose a lower-calorie cheese. Generally speaking, fresh cheeses (higher water content) such as mozzarella, burgos, or mozzarella are the least fattening; cured ones contain more calories. Fortunately, you can also find many skim or semi-skim versions with lower caloric intake in supermarkets today.
A very healthy and light alternative is to use brewer’s yeast flakes in place of the cheese. The flavor is easily reminiscent of cheese, but since you don’t need to use more than a handful, it at least provides the calories. It also has the added benefit of being rich in protein, B vitamins and minerals like selenium, potassium or zinc.
Do you have to eat pasta for lunch?
It’s a common belief that eating pasta at night will make you fat. Well, don’t worry, we already told you that’s not the case; carbs won’t make you fatter at night. What really causes weight gain is sticking to a diet that consumes excess calories for a more or less extended period of time. As nutritionist Aitor Sánchez explains in his book My Diet Limp, we shouldn’t worry about when we eat carbs, but rather the types of carbs we consume and eating more or less carbohydrates depending on activity. .
It’s true that insulin sensitivity is better during the day, which allows us to clear carbs from the bloodstream faster, but there’s also research highlighting that people who eat more carbs each night will have increased energy expenditure and be more satisfied the next time.