Pasta may not be as bad as you thought

  • Mon Apr 28th, 2014 6:11pm
  • Life

By Barbara Quinn The Monterey County Herald

Nutritionally speaking, here are some facts about spaghetti and other types of pasta.

Historically, almost every country in the world touts some variation of pasta: noodles made with flour dough.

Italians however, are given credit for the name “pasta” which is thought to be derived from the Italian word for “paste.”

Is there any redeeming nutritional value to pasta? For one, it’s made with semolina flour which is ground from durum flour, a high-protein wheat.

In fact, an average serving of spaghetti or other pasta (1 cup) contains as much total protein as 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish.

Whole grain pasta can provide a good chunk of our daily dietary fiber requirements.

And carbohydrates in pasta also provide fuel to power our brains, nerves and muscles for those long days on the range.

Because pasta is made from wheat, it is also on the “do not eat” list for people with celiac disease. These folks need to avoid barley and rye grains as well.

Gluten — a protein in these grains — can cause severe damage to the digestive tract of people who are genetically intolerant to gluten.

So what can gluten-sensitive people eat? Pretty much anything that does not contain wheat, rye or barley. That includes rice, corn, fresh meat, fish, poultry, fish, milk, beans, fruits and vegetables.

Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.