WHY HASN’T ANYONE SHOUTED THIS FROM THE ROOFTOPS?
According to a BBC.com article in 2014, they did just that. I guess I wasn’t paying attention. Even if I had been, I surely would have been skeptical. It goes against everything we’ve been told so far. And that is exactly why I took another look.
As it turns out, popular science doesn’t tell the whole story. We all agree that pasta, potatoes, and rice are all carbohydrates. We agree that once they hit your stomach they are absorbed as simple sugars, which in turn makes your blood sugar soar. This triggers a release of insulin to combat all of that sugar. Then we enter the “carb coma”. Our sugar levels decrease rapidly and we lose our energy. We know that too much free roaming sugar in our blood is unhealthy as is the rollercoaster of glucose-insulin response. Sugar that isn’t used up in the form of energy makes us fat. That must mean that pasta makes us fat. Period. This is why we are encouraged to eat carbs rich in fiber to slow that ride down. Are you with me so far? Good.
Now Let’s talk “resistant starch”.
Resistant starch, according to http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/diet-tips/lowdown-resistant-starch, “is a carbohydrate your body can’t digest. It behaves a lot like fiber, helping food move through your system, says Mary Ellen Camire, Ph.D., University of Maine food science professor.”
Wait, what????? “Like fiber, resistant starch helps control blood sugar and keeps you regular. It also acts as a prebiotic, nourishing healthy gut microbes. Those bacteria then produce a type of fatty acid that may protect against cancer.”
This could be revolutionary. Back to pasta… So, according to scientist Dr Denise Robertson, from the University of Surrey, “if you cook and cool pasta down then your body will treat it much more like fibre, creating a smaller glucose peak and helping feed the good bacteria that reside down in your gut. You will also absorb fewer calories, making this a win-win situation.”
Even better, the surprise came when the doctors decided to do an experiment. You can read all of the details here. I am excited to report that they found something that I really didn’t expect – cooking, cooling and then reheating the pasta had an even more dramatic effect; an even smaller effect on blood glucose! In fact, it reduced the rise in blood glucose by 50%.