Dr Oz: Is Pasta Bad For You?
There’s a good chance you’ve been hearing pasta is bad for you. That’s exactly why Dr Oz was joined by the pasta-loving food guru himself Mario Batali. Together, they discussed the “pasta paradox.” According to Mario, some people say it’s good for you while others argue it’s bad for you. The one thing you can’t deny is that it’s just about everyone’s favorite food.
Dr Oz: Why Does Everyone Love Pasta?
Mario shared that pastas are the top-selling dishes at his restaurant, because everyone loves pasta. Fortunately, now we might finally know why. Scientists have discovered a sixth taste on the tongue: starch. According to registered dietitian Maya Feller, that taste could explain just why we love carbs as much as we do. The enzymes in your mouth help break down carbs into a simple sugar, leaving you with a sweet taste when you eat pasta. That’s why people crave pasta.
But in the summer of 2016, pasta fans were thrilled to learn that an Italian study claimed that pasta could actually help us lose weight. Unfortunately, it turns out the study was funded by the pasta industry. The truth is that you could lose weight if pasta was part of a healthy Mediterranean diet. According to Maya, there was a lot of information that was left out.
Dr Oz: What Is The Pasta Paradox?
But what about those new healthier pastas showing up in groceries touting extra fiber, added protein, fewer carbs, and more. Are they too good to be true? Mario asked a pasta expert at Eataly’s pasta headquarters to explain how pasta should be made. When pasta is made in Italy, it’s made with only semolina flour, organic eggs, and water. If you use those ingredients and only those ingredients, then yes, pasta can be good for you. The typical Italian eats pasta every day and doesn’t gain weight. That’s the pasta paradox.
Fresh pasta is typically made with eggs and double zero flour, which is regular wheat flour ground a special way, which gives it more calories and fat and is usually used for special occasions. The dry pasta sold in packages is made with semolina flour mixed with water, so it’s usually lower in calories and higher in protein, based on the durum not the egg. It’s usually served more simply.
Dr Oz: A Closer Look At Healthier Pastas
Mario joked that he wasn’t exactly sure what low-carb pasta was made out of, and said that generally whole grain and whole wheat pasta is a good option. But as for the high-protein, high-fiber and other seemingly healthier choices, Mario wasn’t sure. As for what he buys at the grocery, he sticks to pasta made with just two ingredients: durum flour and water. The more ingredients in a dry pasta, the less likely they are to be good for you.
Dr Oz typically goes for the 100% whole grain pasta, which Mario said made a lot of sense, given who he was. Mario made a point to say that whole wheat flour, if not cooked to exactly al dente, tends to get a little more “mushy.”
Dr Oz: How To Make Healthy, Authentic Italian Pasta
The most important thing to remember when it comes to eating pasta is serving size. One serving of pasta is 1 cup. Pasta typically comes in one-pound packages, which is five portions for Italians. A portion of pasta should be between 70 and 80 grams. Pasta should also be dressed “like a salad” which means lightly and with healthy ingredients.
When cooking pasta, cook it one minute less than package directions for al dente, which means it will have a slight bite to it. When you cook pasta to al dente, it means it’s harder to digest, so it doesn’t digest so quickly that it causes a glycemic spike. When you drain the water, don’t rinse the pasta and save some of the cooking water to mix with the sauce to help make it stick and to boost flavor. Of course, you then want to add fresh tomatoes, herbs, and even some extra-virgin olive oil. Then add just a little freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano once the pasta is off the heat to finish. If you do that, you can eat like a real Italian!
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