By Ryan Dennis
Perhaps no food is more overrated and overhyped, as far as performance is concerned, than pasta. It seems so deeply ingrained in exercise consciousness that you can’t take one step into a dressing room without stumbling over a bowl of the stuff.
Today, we’re going to look deeper into the bowl and figure out why it doesn’t have to be (nor should it be) the first option for your pre-game feast.
On paper, pasta looks pretty good. It boasts a relatively low glycemic index (which measures the rate at how fast a given food spikes your blood sugar), provides a supply of carbohydrates and even some protein into the mix. It also stores for ages, and is quick and easy to prepare. However, as we’ll come to see, what looks good on paper isn’t necessarily good in practice.
Pasta – the plain old white variety that tends to be found in pantries across the country – is almost entirely devoid of the micronutrients, including minerals and antioxidants that make grains a source of nutrition in the first place. This is due to the structural changes that wheat goes through during the “processing” process.
As you know whole foods are the name of the game. We want foods as close to the way they’re found in nature as possible in order to receive the inherent benefits that such foods offer. Why eat incomplete, if you’re just going to have to chase down the missing elements elsewhere?
Wheat pasta is also high in gluten – a compound found in wheat, along with its relatives Spelt and Kamut. This is a food compound of increasing concern. Over 330,000 Canadians – including over 73.000 children -suffer from Celiac disease, a condition caused by gluten-sensitivity and which causes damage to the intestinal tract. As much as 30% of the cases in children are initially misdiagnosed. Furthermore, Wheat is also listed in the top 10 “High Priority Food Allergens”.
To add insult to injury, wheat protein offers very low bioavailability (the rate at which ingested proteins are converted to useful material for functional purposes in the body).
With so many potential drawbacks, I recommend that wheat products in general make up an infrequent part of your daily program. Opt for sweet or traditional potatoes and rice. Each of these are equally easy to took, and have a long and safe history of human consumption with very little allergy potential.
So look beyond the box, and start taking the truly traditional approach – from earth to table, minimally processed foods make the right choice for your daily nutrition programs. Good eating!
← Back to Newsletter