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Diabetics and Pasta

By Natalie Stein

Diabetes is a disorder in which your body does not properly metabolize carbohydrates, leading to high blood sugar levels. A healthy diet can help you manage your diabetes and prevent or delay complications of uncontrolled diabetes, such as kidney failure, stroke, blindness and nerve damage. Too much pasta can lead to higher blood sugar levels, but in moderation, pasta can be part of a healthy diet.

Carbohydrates and Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, each meal should contain a moderate amount of carbohydrates, about 45 to 60 grams. A cup of cooked spaghetti can fit into this meal plan because it contains 43 grams of total carbohydrates. Toss your spaghetti with tomato sauce, spinach and low-fat parmesan cheese for a nutritious meal for diabetics. To prevent yourself from consuming more carbohydrates than you need at a single meal, avoid high-carbohydrate accompaniments, such as breadsticks and garlic bread.

Limit Your Calorie Consumption

Monitor the portion of spaghetti that you eat not only to regulate your carbohydrate consumption, but also to limit your calories and aid in weight control. If you are overweight or obese and have Type 2 diabetes, losing weight can help prevent complications, according to the American Diabetes Association. A cup of cooked pasta contains 221 calories. Keep your pasta dish low in calories by eating only a small portion and avoiding high-calorie additions, such as full-fat cheese, regular ground beef and Alfredo sauce.

Choose Whole-Wheat Over Refined Pasta

Whole grains, such as whole-wheat pasta, are higher in nutrients -- including dietary fiber -- than refined options. A cup of cooked whole-wheat spaghetti contains 6.3 grams of dietary fiber, while a cup of cooked refined spaghetti has 2.5 grams. Dietary fiber can help control blood sugar levels. Individuals with diabetes are at risk for heart disease, and dietary fiber helps lower that risk because it lowers your cholesterol levels.

Include Protein and Vegetables With Your Meal

The glycemic index is a ranking of how fast and high your blood sugar levels can rise after eating a serving of a particular food. You can lower the glycemic effect of a meal with pasta by choosing whole-grain pasta and limiting your portion sizes. To prevent spikes in your blood sugar after eating, include a source of protein, such as cooked chicken breast, lean ground turkey, cooked shrimp or fat-free ricotta cheese. Add some high-fiber vegetables, such as broccoli or red peppers, to your meal.

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