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  • David Howell

Gotta Love Ya Spuds - Potatoes & Pasta back on the menu!

For so long, pasta and potato have been seen as the ‘bad guys’ by those trying to keep control of weight and blood sugar/diabetes risk. While it’s true that these foods usually have a high Glycaemic Load (G/L), new research is showing they might have a positive role to play; and it’s all to do with how they’re cooked. Various ways of cooking carbohydrates can change the chemical structure of the compounds found within, altering the way they absorb and therefore, changing the body’s response. If cooked correctly, starch compounds within carbohydrates change into ‘resistant starches’ that avoid being absorbed across the gut into the bloodstream. This helps to;

  • reduce the normal rapid rise in blood sugar

  • reduce the effect of blood sugars downloading into fat tissue and increasing obesity

  • reduce the risk of Diabetes Type 2)

  • reduce the risk of raised blood cholesterol levels

  • reduce the risk of gallstone formation

  • increase the absorption of calcium & iron

Another positive effect is that resistant starches provide a better nutrient supply to the good bacteria (probiotics) that live in the bowel, helping them to thrive and promote;

  • digestion

  • immunity

  • allergy reduction

  • prevention of thrush

  • lower risks of colon and rectal cancer (this is strongly clinically proven)

So, what are these ‘resistant starches’ and how do you cook foods to make sure they’re produced?

  • Potato!!! For a long time potato has been the ‘bad guy’, but the way it’s cooked can turn it into a friend. If potato is cooked, then cooled, more resistant starch develops, so a cold potato salad is a great way to go, (provided you go easy on the cream)!

  • Pasta!!! Cooking, then cooling, then reheating pasta before eating it helps develop resistant starch (looks like leftovers are the way to go)!

Here’s a list courtesy of the CSIRO website that lists a few other examples;

Food Type & Resistant Starch/100 g

  • Potato sliced, boiled and cooled / 0.8 g

  • Potato, steamed, cooled / 6 g

  • Potato, roasted, cooled / 19 g

  • Cashew nuts / 13 g

  • Bananas, green / 38 g

  • Bananas, ripe / 5 g

  • Oats, cooked / 0.2 g

  • Oats, rolled, uncooked / 11 g

  • White beans, cooked/canned / 4 g

  • Lentils, cooked / 3 g

So, provided they’re cooked correctly and eaten as part of a balanced diet, I recommend that good old spuds and pasta be included as part of the art of enjoyable and healthy eating.

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