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Spaghetti - glycaemic index

Was reading the report on rice and diabetes II - and noticed a referral to spaghetti having a significantly low GI - was rather anti-intuitive as spaghetti is 100% non-whole grain wheat - just as white bread is - which has a very high GI


Anybody that can explain?

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  1. I can't explain but I do know that spaghetti cooked al dente has a lower GI than overcooked spaghetti. Not just spaghetti, obviously, but presumably all durum-wheat pasta.

    6 Replies
    1. re: mbfant

      This is true for tomato sauces (not sure about pastas).
      Long slowly cooked ragus wreak havoc on the GI, while quick marinaras are more tolerable.
      My advice in short is, don't concentrate those sugars any more than you have to. Also, be very mindful of the fact that different BRANDS of pasta will cause higher or lower readings. Find what brands work best for you and remain loyal to them.

      1. re: Cheese Boy

        I don't know about GI but I do know about pasta, and I would guess that the high-end pastas would have the more favorable GI because the very hot drying process of the huge industrial methods sort of precooks the pasta, while the smaller producers use a slower process at low temperature.

        1. re: Cheese Boy

          The GI index here is almost surely related only to the pure 'pasta' ingredient - 'spaghetti' to mean inclusion of the myriad of sauces etc. wouldn't really make any sense.

          1. re: jounipesonen

            Of course. It would be ridiculous to include the condiment.

            1. re: mbfant

              Cheeseboy did - in a later post- speak of the veg-added dry pasta (spinach, tomato, etc) - and that it does change the GI - I was only thinking of the idea of a 'spaghetti dish' - and was thus blind-sided in some of my earlier comments

        2. re: mbfant

          Take it to extremes and it is logical.: Which takes longer to digest, a handful of uncooked dry pasta, or ( if you could actually hold them in your hand - then keep them in your stomach!) a handful of Spaghetti O's.

        3. You show me a health related study that says something and I'll show you one that says exactly the other.


          1 Reply
          1. This may be the best GI database

            The index depends not just on the raw ingredients, but on the overall digestibility, and can vary with preparation.

            4 Replies
            1. re: paulj

              Yes, and also be mindful (and possibly wary) of any accompanying ingredients listed.

              1. re: Cheese Boy

                There should be no additional ingredients in spaghetti as far as any I've ever heard of.

                1. re: jounipesonen

                  My cupboard is filled with a motley of vegetable pastas. Porcini pasta, zucchini pasta, carrot, spinach, tomato ... just to name a few. Disappointingly, ALL of them result in different readings even when prepared in the exact same manner. One such brand ... http://ronzonigardendelight.newworldp...

                  1. re: Cheese Boy

                    ok - you had been referring earlier to the actual sauces and started to think you were referring to 'spaghetti' as the final dish WITH sauces. I then got thrown off-track by forgetting that there are the combo spaghettis with 'stuff' cooked into them (btw - haven't seen much use own or desire for them except to spend more money - or make St. Patrick's Day dishes eg :-) )


            2. most people now are paying more attention to the glycemic load, which takes into account, for example, that you do indeed eat spaghetti with sauce, oil and meat or veggies. it would be a rare event for anybody to eat unadorned spaghetti.

              personally, my health and weight have improved dramatically by paying attention to the carb counts of foods and eliminating grains and sugars altogether.

              1. If you're dealing with type 2 diabetes, I would throw out the GI index and simply try to eliminate carbs from your diet as much as possible. Get rid of all sugars, grains, root vegetables and fruits and you can pretty much eat anything you want after that. Regardless of how high or low a GI/GL of a food is, at the end of the day sugar is sugar and it's going to cause an insulin reaction for you. The best solution is to do away with carbs. After a while your body will thank you with a heightened insulin sensitivity. And you'll get to say goodbye to diabetes.

                1. I was surprised too, Dr Weil has mentioned this as well, I think the key is that pasta digests/breaks down slowly in the stomach, more slowly than say white bread, spreading out the glycemic load. It is important to follow the al dente guideline and not overcook. I think this is intuitively understood if you recall the "barf" you have seen on the sidewalk

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dijon

                    "If you ask a runner what the best food is to fuel their training, nine times out of ten the
                    answer will be 'pasta'. Pasta is many runners' preferred food and is ideal starchy
                    carbohydrate for fuelling your runs and races, as it will give you unprocessed,
                    slow-release energy, especially the wholegrain variety. This type of energy is
                    especially suitable for when you plan to run in endurance events such as marathons"

                  2. Dry pasta is usually made from durum wheat, which has the highest protein ratio of wheats. I don't know if the few % of protein is enough to make a difference in GI. Bread is more variable in composition. But many types include some sugar for taste, especially the 'whole wheat' style.

                    The soft, spongy texture of bread might also promote its digestion. I recall a grade school science experiment, where we kept a bite of bread in our mouths, and noted the change in taste as saliva started to convert starch to sugar. I didn't try that with a bite of plain spaghetti.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: paulj

                      was nice going around the barn for 16 rounds - but it was the last 2 that actually approached the OP