CHARLESTON — Editor’s note: Recipes, Images and Facts provided by the National Pasta Association, www.pastafits.org
The word “trim” gets a month-long hall pass starting tomorrow, when turkey with all the trimmings and dual tree trimming/cookie noshing override any looming notions about weight loss.
Keeping in mind that resolution time follows closely on the heels of sloppy seasonal habits, it’s a fair bet that pasta will be included among those items on personal naughty lists. Last decade’s low-carb craze, banning all white foods forever, is a somewhat misguided principle, however; most experts agree eliminating any single food group from our diets is not a good idea. Explains registered dietitian for the National Pasta Association, Diane Welland: “It’s a fact — reducing calories, not carbohydrates, helps one lose weight. Studies show (New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of the American Medical Association) there are no significant differences in weight loss over the long-term between low-carbohydrate diets and those considered “high” carbohydrate when dieters achieved similar calorie reductions.”
Much of pasta’s guilt by association is due to terrific restaurant-sized servings. Doled out in modest, one-cup measure, pasta can be a very nutritional way to elevate traditional leftovers. And while whole-wheat pasta provides a boost of fiber, it doesn’t always have to be brown to be good for you. According to Welland, a serving of enriched white pasta supplies about 25 percent of the recommended daily intake of folic acid. When paired with folate rich foods like black beans and spinach, a pasta meal could easily supply nearly three-quarters of your daily folic acid requirements, which are linked to not only healthy babies, but to a decreased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease and some cancers. Data also shows a lower risk of stroke mortality in the U.S. and Canada (where fortification is mandated).
After tomorrow’s fleeting couch-side claims of “never eating again,” take healthy advantage of the taste and easy prep these pasta dishes can bring to the busy days ahead.