Cook Your Pasta Al Dente For Better Blood Sugar Control and Taste
I grew up in Joisey, (New Jersey) surrounded by Italians. You eat pasta in Jersey. Most of the time it is very good. I live in France now. You eat pasta, but it is often cooked wrong. I go to Italy when I can and I eat pasta everyday when I am there (when in Italy do like the Italians) and it is always cooked correctly.
Trust me, when you have that perfect dish of pasta in front of you, prepared with perfection and soul, the pasta just cooked enough (al dente) and not overcooked to soft texture , this equals a taste that drives you pasta crazy! (Who agrees with me?)
Al dente pasta complements the sauce sitting on top.
Al dente pasta is firmer for better texture, mouth feel and taste.
Cooking pasta al dente helps keep blood sugar in better control (more on this below).
Al dente. Literally translated from Italian, this means: to the tooth. Firm to the touch. If your pasta package gives the time for pasta to cook, follow al dente cooking times.(And taste your pasta while it is cooking-don’t always trust the label for exact cooking times).
Blood sugar and pasta. Keep portions in control and your al dente pasta can be part of a diabetic balanced meal.
Blood Sugar and Pasta: How Eating Your Pasta Al Dente Makes It A Lower Glycemic Index Food
Foods we eat affect our blood sugar. Pasta is a high carbohydrate food (so diabetics need to watch portion sizes so their blood sugar doesn’t spike) but pasta in itself is a lower glycemic index food. Eating foods with a lower glycemic index can keep your blood sugars more stable than eating foods on the higher glycemic index scale. Eating foods lower on the Glycemic Index scale can be a strategy to keep blood sugars under control.
And here is the important part: pasta cooked al dente, or firm has a lower glycemic index (GI) than pasta that is cooked for a normal bite or overcooked (soft). That is the goal: eating foods lower on the glycemic index for better blood sugar control. Cooking al dente (5 to 6 minutes), for example, allows us to keep spaghettis GIs as low as possible while prolonged cooking (from 15 to 20 minutes) will raise GIs since it accelerates starch gelatinization.
You can read more here about the glycemic index of durum wheat, including pasta.
Now to Watch Those Portions!
The only problem with cooking your pasta so perfectly al dente, is that you cannot eat just a few bites. Delicious pasta makes a second or third serving more tempting to eat. When you eat too big pasta portions, even if pasta is cooked al dente, this can create a carbohydrate overload and a spike in high blood sugar. The remedy? Wrap up leftovers and live like the Italians do: create your own Dolce Vita. Make your meals longer, eat slower, use fresher ingredients, and stop eating your al dente pasta when you are full.
Here is a pasta we adore here in Europe and in the United States. It is available at many grocery stores (or see the link to buy online). When I make pasta using this brand, my kids can tell the taste difference too, they ask me, “What did you do different?” It must be in the semolina flour used. According to Vincent Scordo, “The very best dry pastas are manufactured in Italy and are made with locally grown Durham wheat. The hard Durham wheat is what yields semolina flour, which is used in all types of quality dry pastas. In the US, the most common pasta brands are Ronzoni, Barilla, Colavita, De Cecco, etc. Of the brands found in the typical US supermarket, De Cecco, in my view, is the best choice. You can see De Cecco’s quality via it’s color and firmness out of the package and once you cook up a batch of linguine fine, for example, you can taste the quality in the semolina flour used.”
Ah, Buon Appetito!
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(This article was edited and updated from a previously published post on pasta, al dente and taste).