Pasta is a staple in the American diet. It’s a noodle made from unleavened dough of semolina wheat. Most dieters avoid pasta like a plague because it’s fattening. To a certain extent, pasta can cause weight gain just like any carbohydrate-based foods. However, there are many ways to enjoy your favorite pasta dishes and keep a trim figure.
Losing Weight Through Pasta: Is it Possible?
Yes, it’s quite possible to lose a few pounds just by consuming pasta. The key is to choose pasta made with whole wheat flour, not processed flour. Pasta is made from whole grains so it’s slow-burning. It also contains fiber so it’ll make you feel fuller for longer.
Choose Whole-Wheat Pasta
According to the USDA, a cup of whole-wheat pasta contains six grams of fiber, which is 25% of your RDA of this nutrient. Regular pasta yields about 2.5 grams of fiber. By choosing whole-wheat pasta instead of regular pasta, you will take in fewer calories.
It’s hard to measure how much pasta you can eat in a day, but the key is to keep trying if you want to lose weight. Large serving of pasta can cause weight gain, especially if it’s made with processed flour. If you’re trying to lose weight, we recommend limiting your portion to about one half to a cup of whole wheat pasta. A ½ to 1 cup serving of pasta yields about 100 to 200 calories. Limiting your portions this way won’t hurt your figure at all.
Your cooking method can affect the calorie content of the pasta. Ideally, you want to cook the pasta al dente. Generally, pasta has low glycemic index or GI. GI is the measurement of sugar in foods. A low GI should be below 55 while moderate is 56. A GI of 70 and above is considered high.
A low glycemic food promotes weight loss by keeping the blood sugar level stable. Intense cravings are caused by the sudden dip of blood sugar level. This occurs when you’ve eaten something sugary, causing the glucose level to shoot up. When the blood sugar level shoots up, you feel satiated, euphoric. But if the sugar level plummets, you feel intense cravings for more sweets. Satisfying your cravings leads to a vicious cycle of overeating. This will inevitably lead to weight gain.
So how does GI relate to pasta cooking method? Cooking the pasta al dente keeps the GI level to about 38, which is very low. But cooking the same serving of pasta for more than 20 minutes increases the GI to 64.
Choosing the Sauces
Plain pasta is not as fattening unless you mix it with calorie-laden sauces. Creamy sauces tend to be high in calories as opposed to tomato-based sauces. For example, Alfredo sauce contains 98 calories and 6 grams of fat while marinara sauce only yields 29 calories and zero fat. By being selective over the sauces you add to your pasta dishes, you won’t take in as many calories.
Beefing Up Your Pasta Serving
We don’t mean increasing your portion but bulking up a modest serving of pasta with raw or cooked vegetables. By bulking up your serving of pasta, the dish becomes even more satisfying. That’s because vegetables contain high amounts of fiber and essential nutrients. Paired with pasta, vegetables make a filling, more satisfying meal!