Pasta, It's What's for Dinner
"A bottle of red, bottle of white. It all depends upon your appetite...I'll meet you any time you want, in our Italian restaurant."
A while back a friend and I were trying to decided where to go grab a bite to eat. We just had a full day of playing outside and were starving!
I suggested an Italian restaurant that was on our way home. She said, "um, how about something else, I'm not really into all those carbs these days." Turns out she was experimenting with a "new way of eating" in order to boost energy and reduce inflammation.
I didn't bother to get on my all foods fit, food neutrality soapbox about the fact that carbohydrates are actually the number one preferred source of energy for our bodies. We just kept driving...
My friend isn't alone in her diet mentality. For many women eating carbs without the fear of gaining weight is a foreign concept.
As described in Daily Mail Australia,
* 28% of women love the taste of bread/pasta but avoid eating it as a results of weight concerns.
* 1 in 5 women feel guilty when eating bread/pasta
* 58% of women believe that eating bread contributes to weight gain
*43% of women avoid eating bread when trying to loose weight
Over the last 3 decades carbohydrates have been on the macro-nutrient chopping block depending on the famed diet Du Jour.
(Defined: our bodies require protein, fat, and carbs in macro or greater quantities than vitamins, minerals...the micro-nutrients)
BUT...the science tells a very different story...
In a recently published study (The Eat Pasta Study), researchers found that pasta, even as a refined carbohydrate made from white flour, was shown to have a low glycemic response, which is typically more common of unrefined or whole grains.
(Defined: glycemic index or GI is a ranking of foods based on how quickly or slowly they raise your blood sugar levels after digestion)
The Eat Pasta Study looked at several randomized, controlled trials (the cream of the crop as far as research methods go) to examine how including pasta in various types of diets affected people's weight and body fat.
Their investigation found that consuming pasta as part of an overall low-GI way of eating did not contribute to weight gain.
To sum up, this research verifies that the demonizing of foods like refined white flour pasta is rarely supported by substantial scientific evidence.
This result also shows that in the big picture mindset around eating, the overall quality - including how we feel about the foods we eat (aka our relationship with food) has a greater impact on our overall well being.
Intuitive eating focuses on balanced nutrition as one of the last principles in learning how to eat from a place of intuition, desire, and self care. This study examined eating pasta as a part of an overall balanced low-glycemic eating pattern.
For most people, when they've learned to pay attention to what hunger, fullness, and satisfaction feel like - they find that patterns of balanced eating - including plenty of produce, whole grains, nuts/seeds, adequate fat, adequate protein, and fun snack/sweet foods - help them to feel more balanced, energized and less crazy around food.
The jist of this story is - one type of food is NOT responsible for weight changes. Our bodies and psychology are WAY more complicated than that. If you like bread and pasta - eat them, enjoy them, make them a regular part of your eating pattern.
"I'll meet you anytime you want in our Italian Restaurant" - without the guilt and shame!
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