What’s so sugary about regular pasta?

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Everybody loves pasta – and how could you not? With well over 300 different shapes, sizes and varieties, pasta is one of the most versatile, comforting and well-loved foods in the world. And whether it’s spaghetti bolognese, a veggie-packed lasagne or some homemade gnocchi, everyone is sure to have their own favourite pasta dish.

Yet despite its deliciousness, pasta tends to cop a lot of flak from nutritionists and health experts due to its high sugar content.

But what’s so sugary about pasta? Let us explain.

Pasta, as many of us know, is made up primarily of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the sugars, starches and fibres found in food, and are the main way our bodies obtain energy. Carbs are found in foods like oats, beans, bread, peas, bananas and of course, pasta.

Like most nutrients, carbs are not processed simply as they are. Instead, they are broken down into their components and absorbed into the body that way. Complex carbs, referred to as ‘good carbs’, are those are highest in natural fibre. High-fibre carbs are slow to break down, meaning the fibres, starches and sugars enter the blood stream and are absorbed by the cells slowly.

Simple carbs, or ‘bad carbs’, are those that have been refined or processed so that much of the nutritional fibre is absent. These carbs are quicker to break down, meaning the starches and sugars enter the blood stream and are absorbed by the cells quicker than necessary.

So, when it comes to pasta, you can probably guess which category a bowl of fettuccine alfredo might fall under. Yes, that’s right, because pasta is most commonly made using refined white flour, the vast majority of pastas are indeed bad carbs.

Without healthy fibre to slow the break down and absorption of sugars and starches, the carb components in pasta enter the blood stream quickly, resulting in a spike in blood sugar levels and only a fleeting feeling of fullness. Because of this, we tend to eat more than we should, as our bodies require larger portions to feel properly satisfied. And as we now know, more refined carbs mean more sugar!

Next time you’re tossing up between tortellini or macaroni, swap it to Slendier instead – with a bigger portion of veggies and lean meat – to ensure you’re getting a delicious yet balanced meal.

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