Here are two of them from Karina and Paula. Thank you both for submitting your concerns to me.
Chef Gui, your suggestion is great, assuming everyone is able to enjoy whole wheat pasta, but those of us that are allergic to wheat and gluten would love an alternative. Is the glycemic index reduced when we rinse our pasta with hot water? Are there benefits to cooking the quoina, corn, rice, or corn rice blend pasta al dente? Eating it cold? I love your tips you offer, unfortunately, there are many people today who are Celiac, or have a wheat intolerance or allergy so alternatives would be appreciated.
I have your cookbook, Eat More, Burn More and if you had a Gluten Free section or alternatives, it would be even more amazing. I realize you can’t address everyone’s allergies, but wheat is one of the top 10 that affects many.”
Thank you for your consideration to what I have passed along to you, if in fact you even receive this email.” – Paula
“Advice on Avoiding gluten free pasta is not helpful to those of us who are wheat intolerant or celiac… What type of pasta would you recommend if this is the case as I do find rice pasta very starchy and also sticks together and need to rinse it in hot water to get rid of the starch…” – Karina
First of all, let’s address Paula’s concern: Yes, I do receive my readers’ email; I am not that famous quite yet!
Both of Paula’s and Karina’s emails address a real problem for my GF readers:
Gluten-free pasta is just not ideal if you’re trying to lose weight.
Why? Simply because manufacturers have replaced wheat flour with really high glycemic flours like potato starch, white rice flour, corn starch, and other nasty ingredients that do nothing for your waistline. And I mean nothing.
In my response to Paula and Karina, I recommended cutting down on gluten-free pasta. If you’re trying to lose weight, then you should probably avoid gluten-free pasta altogether and focus on other foods that would both be gluten-free and fat-burning; there are many others.
If you are not willing to give up gluten-free pasta, then I recommend the following:
1. Still cook pasta al dente
Just follow the manufacturer’s cooking instructions, and even take 1 or 2 minutes off if you’re comfortable with it.
Pasta isn’t meant to be soft. It should be firm and offer some resistance when you are chewing it. Overcooking boosts the glycemic index. Keeping (GF or whole wheat) pasta al dente ensures your body won’t absorb starch too quickly and therefore limits the blood sugar spikes that lead to weight gain.
2. Rinse pasta under hot water
Once pasta is cooked and drained, rinse it well. Karina mentions that her GF “rice pasta” is starchy and sticks together once cooked. Cooking pasta al dente and rinsing will help. Remember, pasta is not meant to be soft. Ask an Italian!
3. Pack it with fiber
Add a ton of high-fiber ingredients to the pasta dish you’re making: leafy green vegetables, lentils and beans, seeds and nuts, vegetables, etc…
That will offset the high-glycemic gluten-free pasta.
4. Chill it, or chill and reheat
I said it before in my article “3 Forbidden Foods You Can Eat.”
If you eat any kind of pasta cold as a salad, for instance, or if you chill it and then reheat as leftovers, the glycemic index of the dish decreases (That’s good!). For wheat flour (non-GF pasta), the process (known as “retrogradation of starch molecules”) takes pasta down to an acceptable level. I am not sure if it does the same thing for gluten-free pasta because to my knowledge, no research has been conducted as of yet.
5. Choose wisely
Some GF pasta are better than others if you’re trying to lose weight. Choose soba (buckwheat) or cellophane noodles, or pasta made from quinoa, or legumes (chickpea flour for instance) or soy. Look for a “gluten-free” and “whole-grain” label to make it even better.
I hope this helps.