An experiment on the TV programme Trust Me, I’m a Doctor has shown that eating reheated pasta is significantly healthier than consuming it freshly cooked.
The BBC show demonstrated that cooking, cooling and then reheating pasta, turning it into ‘resistant starch’, reduced the rise in volunteers’ blood glucose by 50 per cent.
Pasta is a form of carbohydrate, which is broken down in the body’s guts before being absorbed as simple sugars, which makes blood glucose soar. In response, the body releases a rush of the hormone insulin in order to get the blood glucose levels back down – as high levels are extremely unhealthy.
It is this chain reaction which can make pasta unhealthy, as the quick rise of blood glucose and its subsequent sharp fall following the insulin, can make you hungry soon after your meal.
Cooling and then reheating the pasta means it becomes resistant to the normal enzymes in the gut that break down carbohydrates and releases blood sugar inducing glucose.
The results were discovered after the BBC programme, under Dr Chris Van Tulleken, tested nine volunteers over several weeks. They were required to undergo three days of testing, eating differently cooked pasta.
On each day they gave blood samples every 15 minutes in order to see what happened to their blood glucose as the pasta was slowly digested.
Dr Van Tullekan said: “We can convert a carb-loaded meal into a more healthy fibre-loaded one instead without changing a single ingredient, just the temperature. In other words our leftovers could be healthier for us than the original meal."
The research was conducted under the guidance of Dr Denise Robertson, a senior nutrition scientists from the University of Surrey, who is confident it is robust science – despite the small sample size.
Dr Robertson will continue the research with funding from Diabetes UK.
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