Weight loss recommendations often include education on cutting carbs – including sugars as well as starches like pasta, bread, rice, etc.
These are commonly being considered “bad foods” and a reason for the increase in overweight and obese individuals.
Should we steer away from starches?
A meta-analysis of information from previous randomized trials, looked at people who ate about 3 servings of cooked pasta per week- with each serving being about ½ cup. These people also followed a low glycemic diet overall and had only the pasta instead of other “carb” type foods. The advantage overall was healthy weight LOSS outcomes for those who did include pasta, but were able to control portion along with other low glycemic foods and healthy intake of the other macro nutrients – fat and protein. In fact the analysis of these studies (32 randomized controlled trials involving 2,448 participants with average age of 50, BMI of 30.4 (overweight or obese individuals)) found that there was about a 1 pound loss of weight and change in BMI of 0.26kg over a 12 week time if they followed this plan. Pretty good considering it included a food we typically try to steer away from.
Consider QUALITY and QUANTITY
This brings up a good point in my opinion. We need to consider the quality of carbohydrate being eaten, but I think even more important to focus on the quantity eaten.
Even though this study wasn’t looking specifically at diabetes, it can have similar impact. We consider so many things when trying to manage BG levels and we tend to be very carb centric unfortunately. While most PWD have initially been taught “you can eat anything, as long as you cover it with insulin”, unfortunately this doesn’t focus on portion control or give information about how important it is to aim for balance.
We are not only managing our diabetes, we are striving for an overall healthy, long life. If we focus on portion control of all the food groups, and aim for a lower glycemic intake with healthy fat and protein portions it can be ok to include foods like whole grain pasta…just not a whole plate of it.
If you would like more information on including healthy carbs in your diet and optimizing your nutrition plan for long term health, give us a call. Integrated Diabetes Services clinicians live with diabetes too and can help you learn how to plan meals that not only keep BG in check but also promote long term health.
Research is published on this study in the journal BMJ Open.
Integrated Diabetes Services, Director of Lifestyle and Nutrition.
Jennifer holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Nutrition and Biology from the University of Wisconsin. She is a Registered (and Licensed) Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, and Certified Trainer on most makes/models of insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring systems.