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Pasta and Diabetes

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Recently I read that pasta cooked al dente, or slightly underdone, has less of an effect on blood sugar levels than pasta that is fully cooked, or cooked to be soft. The reason given for this is that it takes longer to digest the al dente pasta and break it down, therefore the sugars are released more slowly into the blood stream. I can't find the citation now - anybody know if this is true, or have any comments on the subject?

scb
post #2 of 15
Shel, I have had Diabetes for many years and take medication daily. One thing I have found is at night I can eat Ice cream and candy to. When I take my sugar in morning it is slightly elevated. However when I eat pasta cooked any way hard, soft, medium when I do my sugar next morning it is a lot higher. Therefore I have concluded that pasta (carbs) are worse then sugar
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post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your comments, Ed. They reflect some of my own experiences as well, although mine is more with brown rice than pasta. So many people, books, web sites, suggest eating brown rice. For me, even a small amount of it, say 1/4 - 1/2 cup, shoots the blood sugar levels way up. A week or so back I knocked back two candy bars and had a big lunch that was heavy with carbs, no meds, and the result wasn't quite as bad as eating brown rice.

I believe there's a lot of misinformation floating around. For example, it's frequently suggested that one drink or use low fat or non fat milk, yet full fat, and cream, have substantially less sugar, and less of an effect on blood sugar levels.

I just found a site on which a Dr. Bernstein claims that a number of commonly held beliefs about what to eat are flat out wrong. Of course, just like the more commonly held beliefs, one must put them in the context of one's overall situation: other foods eaten, exercise, attention to medication, one's own predisposition to various foods and nutrients, etc. I'll need to read a little more to get a better picture of his position, but the initial page, which was focused on just pasta and rice, is pretty much in accord with what you and I have experienced.

I'll edit this post in a little while with the web site address.

http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/mod...ticle&sid=3245 = Part 5

http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/mod...ticle&sid=3210 = Part 4

http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/mod...ticle&sid=3170 = Part 3

http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/mod...ticle&sid=3116 = Part 2

http://www.diabetesincontrol.com/mod...ticle&sid=3079 = Part 1

Part 5 talks about breads, rice, and pasta. I've not yet read all the other parts ...

scb
post #4 of 15
Shel, I use only whole-grain pasta now. I like Dreamfields (be sure to down some Beano with the first bites :eek: ) and Ronzoni Smart something or other. Both taste pretty much like regular pasta to me. I limit the amounts I eat, of course. My blood sugar numbers aren't too nasty at bedtime after a meal of this pasta.
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post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
We're pretty much on the same page - when I eat pasta it's usually whole grain, and I have the Ronzoni stuff here as well. But I don't make pasta too often these days, eating more veggies ... never tried Dreamfields - don't know exactly why, but there's something that puts me off trying it. Maybe the price, maybe that there's something going on with how they "hide" their carbs that I don't know about or understand.

Edit: Using Ronzoni Healthy Harvest, not the Smart Stuff

scb
post #6 of 15
You should read them. Bernstein puts pasta in the "no-no" category in Part III, along with several whole grains; inferentially whole grain pasta is off limits as well. While Bernstein isn't mainstream his recommendations seem supported by real time blood work and to make sense in every way other than that they aren't mainstream.

When it comes to evaluating theories I'm not qualified to evaluate, I try to stay conservative and take the weight of authority seriously. This area, not so much. Medical nutritionists seem predisposed to see certain foods as "good," certain other foods as "bad," and not go beyond those predispositions. For instance, tests showing the efficacy of high-protein/ low-carbohydrate diets, e.g., Atkins (especially as compared to low-fat diets), as productive in controlling a number of risk factors seem to come as a constant surprise (shocked! Shocked!) to be perpetually repeated.

It's important to remember that many of those doing the work and dispensing the advice are more clinicians than scientists. While that makes it harder to accord them trust, it doesn't make them wrong. This makes it all the more confusing.

An anonymous attorney (guess) cross-examined a psychiatrist at a civil commitment hearing of a just-released convict. The doctor was testifying on behalf of plaintiff that the defendant was a risk to others. The lawyer tested the doctor's understanding of the statistics he claimed he'd used to make the assertion. He did alright on "error bar" when it came to "level of confidence," but didn't have the foggiest when it came to the "Q." The ADA objected, "it's more of an art than a science." Before the judge could rule the objection was improper, the defense attorney said, "stipulated." The judge laughed, the State's petition was denied, the defendant was released, and shortly thereafter re-offended and went back to prison.

Moral of the story, watch out for bad science. Sometimes it's right for the wrong reasons.

BDL
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post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Well, I finally read 'em all, plus some not posted here. Following the mainstream usually results in a fight to keep my levels down, and often, even with meds, sends the numbers up. After a lot of blood testing over a period of a few months, I found what works and what doesn't work for me. Coincidentally, what works is quite close to what Bernstein sugests.

scb
post #8 of 15
Everybody's different. White bread will make my blood sugar skyrocket, but pasta doesn't seem to bother me at all. I think it has to do with the type if flour they use to make pasta. The idea with controlling diabetes is to avoid spiking insulin prodution. If a person is insulin resistant, oils aggravate that condition which is why the dieticians want us to avoid oils. The deal with any type of carb is to slow down the breaking down process so the pancreas doesn't overwork. The trick to that is to get enough fiber in you so it slows down. Really want that apple pie or hot Italian bread? Eat an extra helping of broccoli, skip the potato, and have at it. Some of what they tell us is a bunch of hooey, such as pretzels made with white flour being a good snack. You'd be better off with a handful of nuts because at least you'd be getting some beneficial oils that boost HDL cholesterol. There's as many calories in a pound of cheesecake as there is in a pound of pretzels. The cheesecake has more fat, but I'd rather have that, thank you. Just not every day. I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes ten years ago. I went on a high veggie diet with no refined sugar and no white bread. I lost 40 pounds in six weeks and my doctor said I should be the poster child for diabetes as it had gone away. I did not follow their food pyramid as I don' eat much bread and cereal and couldn't see the benefit of increasing my intake. The bottom tier of my food pyramid was veggies with protein and fruit in more or less equal amounts. The veggie tier did not inclde corn, peas or other starchy veggies. I still ate those, but in moderation. If you eat enough fiber, you can eat anything you want is the basic message here. Didn't mean to go on this long about it.
post #9 of 15
I have read a few labels on these pasta boxes in supermarkets. On some I see no differences at all as compared to regular past except the price,. In fat,carbs,salt etc the same. My logic is if I am going to eat and indulge myself in ice cream, I want real ice cream not no sugar or no fat.
A question I have, and maybe one of you can answer as I have never cooked or tried this kind of pasta? A salesman told me you can boil the heck out of the low carb one but can't overcook it. Is this true and if it is why? Thanks all in advance
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post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hi Ed,

I don't know from "low carb" pasta. Generally, the only pasta I eat at home is Ronzoni Healthy Harvest and a couple of brands of organic whole wheat pasta. Every now and then I get one of two artisan Italian pastas. Non are "low carb" However, all the pastas I use will turn mush if overcooked.

Frankly, I don't know of any low carb pasta, and I don't know if I'd even want to try it. Do you know of any pasta that is truly low carb? I know some that are effectively low carb - subtracting fiber from total carbs or some such thing gives an effective lower carb rating. Dreamfields supposedly works differently using some sort of patent-pending process to prevent carbs from being digested. But the pasta still has 40+ carbs per serving. There's a discussion here that includes some references to Dreamfields here:http://forums.about.com/n/pfx/forum....b-lowcarbdiets

shel
post #11 of 15
This stuff he had of which name escapes me,cost $2.00 pound wholesale. and contained no flour, I will have to get a hold of Sysco salesman to find out what it was. At the time I was running a large gambleing complex here in Florida and told him I was running a place where guys drank,smoked and gambled and I was not really interested in running a nurseing home or paying $2.00Lb. for spaghetti.
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post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
I jst found out about Barilla Plus--it is a multigrain pasta, relatively high in protein and supposedly lower in carbs, that was described as actually tasting like pasta. It is only available in thin spaghetti, reg spaghetti, elbow, and penne shapes, but, the informant said, it is light years ahead (in taste) of the straight whole-wheat stuff.

Barilla Plus

Barilla Plus Fiber Info

scb
post #13 of 15
I was hospitalized for diabetes three years ago. Studied what the cause of the it was, cured myself and have been ooff insulin for over a year and eat all the pasta I want. My doctor refuses to acknowlege that diabetes can be cured. And when I ask him why my protocals works he just shrugs his shoulders. I also lost over 65 lbs with out restricting my dieting.Doctor can't explain that either. But the realy interesting phenonoma about my doctor was he never asked my what I did to cure myself. I guess there is no money in curing diseases only in managing them.
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
So why don't you tell us what you learned and what you did?

scb
post #15 of 15

Hi you all, this is my first posting as I just joined, but I read your comment about pasta and Al Dente is the way to go. if you doubt that add a lot of mixed vegetables. Today my reading is 95 as I had a cup of green tea before bed time without the caffein, had a very large cup of coffee as I do every day with only creamer and no sugar even though this one is made with corn syrup solids, then later today at lunch had a bowl of Alfredo pasta Al Dente one 1/2 lb pack with a large bag of mixed vegetables and additional whole kernel corn, seasoned with Zataraians Creole seasoning, onions, skellions, thyme and about 2 tbls of olive oil which I used to saute the seasonings before pouring one jar of Alfredo sauce in my skillet. I added 1 large tomato also then mixed it around for about 3 minutes before adding and mixing in the vegetables then the pasta. I pretty much added more vegetables than pasta and only 1 jar of Alfredo cheese sauce and I have been binging a bowl each day for 3 days now and my reading is still today 95. I volunteer at the county hospital in the surgery area and the nurses always tell me to make half my plate vegetables and I do that, it even helped me to loose 57 pounds a year ago and maintain a good weight still fluctuating but till going down from a size 18 to a size 14. Try this with the meals you love to eat but raise your levels too fats or too much. Brown rice or any rice mixed with more vegetables and no oils and less sauces..

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