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Is Spaghetti Good for Diabetes? Consider This Before Eating It
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Is Spaghetti Good for Diabetes? Consider This Before Eating It

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on 2022 August 18
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5 min

We have all heard that those with diabetes must avoid sugar and carbohydrates, including pasta. But perhaps this is not the full story. Could spaghetti actually be good for diabetes? Let’s find out!

is spaghetti good for diabetes

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Ask anyone what their favorite comfort food is; the answer is almost always pasta. Versatile, yummy, and quick to prepare, it is a go-to for many people when they want a quick yet hearty meal to satisfy their hunger. 

But is spaghetti good for those who suffer from diabetes? Though it may shock some of you, the answer is a resounding yes. Diabetes is not a punishment; you can still enjoy traditional pasta and other foods.

 Let’s look at what some health experts have to say about spaghetti and diabetes. 

Is Spaghetti Good for Diabetes?

Carbs are bad for those with diabetes, right? Luckily, that’s a myth. Carbohydrates, as with many other things, are good when consumed as part of a balanced diet.

While certain foods might contain more carbs and calories than others, a portion of pasta can be good for those with diabetes. The trick is choosing the right pasta.

Spaghetti and many other kinds of pasta are known for their filling yet energizing qualities. Loaded with carbohydrates, they are a good source of nutrition and calories for those who need to carbo-load.

Choose whole-grain pasta, which is filled with fiber, and always keep an eye on the portion size as it helps maintain your blood sugar steady.

Did you know that overcooked spaghetti has a higher glycemic index when served al dente? While most pasta packaging recommends that it should be prepared al dente, many prefer to eat it boiled a bit more to make it less chewy when eating. 

Does spaghetti raise blood sugar?

Regular spaghetti and other pasta can cause blood sugars to skyrocket when consumed in large quantities, and there can be dangers of carbohydrates for those with diabetes.

As mentioned before, it’s best to eat whole-wheat spaghetti as it’s loaded with fiber.

Suppose you’re looking for great dietary tips that are diabetes-friendly. In that case, you might like diabetes diet plans that are low in calories recommended by the experts. 

What Kind of Pasta Can People With Diabetes Eat?

Pasta belongs to the grain food group. Nutritionists recommend that at least one-quarter of your meal contains food from this group.

While white pasta in large quantities is generally not good for anyone, it can cause major complications for those with diabetes as it can raise your blood sugar levels too quickly. 

Sticking to recommended portion sizes is key. The portion of spaghetti for a person with diabetes is one-third of a cup. This small amount contains a whopping 15g of carbohydrates.

#1 Whole-wheat pasta

Choosing pasta made from whole grains with a higher iron and fiber content can help make your pasta dish healthier, slowing down the digestive system and reducing the risk of your blood sugar levels skyrocketing, which is the key to a diabetes-friendly meal.

Healthy options include whole-grain pasta that contains at least 2–3 more grams of fiber than regular pasta and is more diabetes-friendly. 

#2 Veggie noodles

Veggie noodles are an excellent option for people with diabetes, provided they aren’t made from sweet potatoes or squash, as these are starchy and high in carbs and sugar.

These spiral veggie noodles are very low in carbs and calories while high in minerals, fiber, and vitamins. The best veggies for noodles are carrots, peppers, zucchini, and eggplant.

Add lean meat or other protein to make your veggie noodles a satiating dish.

#3 Shirataki noodles

These noodles are ideal for people with prediabetes or diabetes, as well as those who follow a keto diet or want to limit their carb intake. This is because they are 100% carb-free. Shirataki noodles are made from glucomannan in the konjac root.

Shirataki noodles do take some getting used to, though, as their flavor is quite distinctive. We recommend starting with shirataki rice.

Healthy Diet for Diabetes

One of the most popular diet options for people with diabetes is the keto diet. With lower carbohydrate servings, high proteins, and a wide assortment of healthy meal options, including those with saturated fat, this diet is perfect for people with diabetes who still want to enjoy eating tasty food and pasta dishes while staying healthy. 

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While some opt for the intermittent fasting diets that have taken the weight-loss world by storm, many are asking which option is better for people with diabetes and their blood glucose. Actually, they are both effective in controlling blood sugar and improving insulin resistance, so you can choose the one that suits your lifestyle better.

Is Gluten-Free Pasta Good for Diabetes?

Pasta has a glycemic index of 50 to 55. Compare this to other items on the GI scale, and you will see that pasta can cause significant increases in blood glucose if consumed in large quantities by people with diabetes.

Gluten-free pasta has a glycemic index of around 46 to 66, which is almost the same or even higher than regular pasta. This type of pasta will not reduce the rise of blood sugars and should be consumed with care.

Exercise portion control and try keeping your portion sizes as small as possible. Eat pasta with other healthy proteins like fish, lean meats like cooked chicken or turkey, and an assortment of green vegetables.

Rather, skip mac and cheese and other traditional noodles to keep your blood glucose levels regular. You can also consult a registered dietitian for a good eating plan.

Benefits of Eating Pasta for Diabetes

A cup of cooked pasta is not all bad, and it has some good qualities that make it a great food to eat and include in a healthy, balanced diet while avoiding unnecessary weight gain. 

Here are a few of the benefits of eating pasta as a part of your diabetes eating plan:

  • It is rich in carbohydrates, which are a great source of fuel for the body.
  • It has a lower glycemic index than other starches like white bread and potatoes and is a better option for people with diabetes.
  • It is low in sodium, which is a better option for people with diabetes.
  • It is rich in B vitamins and iron, which are great for overall health and moving oxygen in the blood.
  • It is low in saturated fats and considered a healthy fat for people living with diabetes.
  • It is rich in fiber, which is great for slowing down the digestion of carbs and regulating blood sugar. 

FAQ

Can people with diabetes eat spaghetti sauce?

Plain pasta can be rather boring to eat. Adding a tomato-based or veggie sauce to your pasta is perfectly fine, as long as the veggies do not have a high glycemic index that can affect your health.

How much spaghetti can a person with diabetes eat?

The recommended portion size for a person with diabetes is one-third of a cup of cooked pasta, including spaghetti.

Can people with diabetes eat macaroni salad?

Yes! Macaroni salad is a favorite side for barbecues, and people with diabetes can safely tuck into this delicious salad without significantly increasing their blood sugar levels. Use light mayonnaise and keep toppings to a minimum to keep it as low-carb as possible.

A Word From Our Nutritionist

Diabetes should not be why you give up all your favorite foods like pasta. 

If you have this health condition, you can still enjoy your favorite foods, such as spaghetti, as pasta is the ultimate comfort food. By exercising portion control, keeping an eye on the glycemic index of the foods you include in your diet, and following a healthy eating plan, you can safely eat many foods.

To consume more fiber, try eating pasta with veggies, such as spaghetti squash or bell peppers (or other non-starchy vegetables). Opt for tomato-based sauce and do not add processed meats as it can quickly raise your blood sugars.

Opt for whole-wheat pasta or even veggie noodles – with the right spices, it can definitely become one of your favorite dishes. Get to know the carbohydrate content of the foods you eat, and refer to the product packaging for that information.

Conclusion

People with diabetes don’t have to sit out at mealtimes when the rest of the family tucks into a delicious bowl of pasta. Consumed in small, controlled portions, pasta can be enjoyed by those with diabetes as a part of a healthy and balanced diet.

Pair pasta with foods that are lower on the glycemic index and ensure that the portion size does not exceed one-third of a cup. Ideally, pasta should be served as a side for those with diabetes and paired with healthy options, including vegetables and lean protein.

Many pasta options are tasty and healthy for anyone with diabetes. The trick is choosing the right one.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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