Can you eat cold pasta? (& why you should do it)

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can you eat cold pasta? We will explain why the cold past is less “fattening” and whether we should consider eliminating pasta from our diet altogether. 

Can you eat cold pasta?

You can eat cold pasta, it is not dangerous. In fact, research shows that eating cold pasta may prove to be healthier and less “fattening”. To understand how cold pasta “can make you slim” we have to understand what the glycemic index is. That is  an index to measure how our body absorbs carbohydrates from each food.

Carbohydrates (also called carbohydrates or carbohydrates) are the first source of energy for your body. When you eat, your body transforms them into minimal units and absorbs them (they pass into the blood for the body to use).

Practically all foods have carbohydrates, to a greater or lesser extent, although the main carbohydrate contributors to our diet are sure to be quickly identified: bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, sweets and sugars, legumes, fruit and vegetables.

But not all of them behave the same when we consume them. Some release a lot of glucose into the blood quickly (high glycemic index), forcing you to generate a considerable amount of insulin. Others release glucose into the blood more slowly and progressively (low glycemic index).

Therefore, the glycemic index is not responsible for measuring the “amount” or proportion of hydrates contained in the food itself, but the time it takes the body to digest and absorb them. The higher the glycemic index of a food, the more immediate energy it will provide.

Almost certainly by now, you can imagine that legumes and vegetables are, in general, the groups with the lowest glycemic index. While bread or sugar are the ones that have it higher.

Why should you care about the glycemic index?

First of all, it is very useful for the control of diseases such as diabetes. You cannot suppress the contribution of carbohydrates, but you can choose foods and cooking that do not trigger the amount of glucose in the blood.

It is also a very valuable piece of information in the athlete’s diet. Taking low-glycemic carbohydrates a few hours before practicing sports will help you to have constant energy for longer. And once the practice is finished, you can opt for hydrates with a high glycemic index to restore energy reserves.

And finally, this data also interests us to a certain extent: it is advisable not to abuse foods that produce high blood sugar peaks, to prevent insulin resistance (diabetes), so as not to be hungry shortly after having eaten and for the body to have to work “burning” calories, since we do not make it “so” easy.

So why is cold pasta less “fattening”?

The GI is not determined only by the food itself, but the way some foods are cooked also affects the calculation, the energy intake.

In general, cooking increases the glycemic index of foods. The longer it is cooked, the higher its GI. For example, pasta al dente has a lower GI than pasta that is more cooked. Or also the rice, if it is cooked for only 6 minutes, it has a lower Glycemic Index than if it is cooked for 16 minutes.

But… why do we say that hot pasta “makes you fatter”, if it doesn’t actually add more calories?

As we are explaining, this is because the body absorbs this high glycemic index food in a similar way to sugar: releasing a large amount of glucose, which in turn generates a considerable amount of insulin.

This process makes you feel very hungry shortly after eating. This happens for example with very cooked and hot spaghetti or macaroni, but also with pastries, potatoes and white bread.

So it is not that pasta is more fattening when eaten hot, but it does lead us to eat again sooner.

So do we have to eliminate pasta from the diet?

Let’s be clear, we don’t have to eliminate any food from the diet.

In addition, the good news is that experts have determined that it is possible to turn pasta into a food that is absorbed just like fiber – which tends to balance glucose and, therefore, insulin – by letting it cool.

To carry out their study, the researchers were based on a thesis carried out by the University of Surrey (in the United Kingdom) that determined that, if this food is allowed to cool after being cooked, its structure changes and the “starch” is created in it. 

Starch is a substance that causes our digestive system to become resistant to this food and progressively absorb it (low glycemic index), without the need to generate a large amount of insulin.

The University of Oxford, for its part, wanted to go a step further. So she studied whether the pasta might not return to its original state when reheated. And yes, they concluded that this food can be reheated without problems since, even so, it is still absorbed as if it were fiber by the body.

Conclusions

A balanced diet must provide all kinds of nutrients, and from varied sources. It is not appropriate to prohibit any group of foods, although it is better to bet on some than on others more frequently. Also, as we have seen today, sometimes we can play with the way we cook them to promote our health.

In the case of pasta, by reducing the cooking time and letting it cool, its properties are modified so that our body absorbs it more slowly, helping to prevent diabetes and preventing us from being hungry so soon. So, yes, you can eat cold pasta.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

References

Sciencealert.com

FDA.gov

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Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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