THE 8 BIGGEST pasta MYTHS
Everyone knows and loves pasta. No other food in history has swept the globe and captured hearts quite like it: It was even named the world's most popular dish in a recent global survey of over 17 countries!
But despite how many of us consider ourselves pasta experts, there's a lot of misinformation out there about it...
Separating fact from fiction can be tough when it comes to pasta - from all the downright dodgy cooking "hacks" people suggest, to the flat-out fairytales we've been told about its nutritional value. So, we're here to set the record straight on some of the biggest pasta myths you've probably been told.
To help you discover the truth about this misunderstood pantry staple, here's 8 of the most widely-believed pasta myths you can officially consider debunked.
FORGET EVERYTHING YOU THOUGHT YOU NOODLE.
According to popular belief, it's a bad idea to eat pasta for dinner. Many people think it's too heavy to digest overnight, or that eating pasta before bed can lead to weight gain and sleep disturbances.
THE ACTUAL TRUTH:
Luckily for those of us who love a comforting pasta dish at the end of the day, there's plenty of science to back up its health benefits! Nighttime pasta can actually work wonders for your overall health, by curbing after-dinner snack cravings, relieving insomnia, and promoting better quality sleep.
Thanks to its high-fiber complex carbohydrates, pasta helps reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol in your system, which is often the culprit behind late-night stress eating and unhealthy after-dinner grazing.
Furthermore, this type of quality carbohydrate helps boost tryptophan, a powerful serotonin precursor. These increased levels of serotonin help usher in feelings of satisfaction and relaxation, an integral part of winding down at night.
Here's your cue to dig into a healthy Three Farm Daughters pasta dinner and enjoy a deep, restorative sleep where your body can get the rest and repair it needs to fuel your busy days!
Somewhere along the line, pasta picked up a reputation for being nothing more than an "empty carb" - possibly due to all those mega-refined, mass-produced pastas on grocery store shelves that really only contain carbohydrates, but no real goodness.
In response, many pasta manufacturers started fortifying their products with nasties like chemical additives that boost vitamin and mineral content, so their highly-processed pasta isn't completely devoid of nutrients! Luckily, not all pasta brands are created equal...
THE ACTUAL TRUTH:
Natural, nutrient-dense pasta does exist. Just flip over any Three Farm Daughters pasta box and you'll see it's totally possible to capture all the naturally-occurring goodness in wheat, resulting in high-quality pasta that packs a punch in the nutrition stakes and requires no artificial additives.
Along with slow-release healthy carbs that fuel your body's energy production, quality pasta is also naturally rich in protein, iron, and fiber, plus several essential vitamins and minerals.
This is made possible thanks to nutritionally-superior complex carbohydrates, which set our pasta apart from highly-processed simple carbs like white bread, refined pastas and white rice. Aside from lacking in fiber and being higher in calories, simple carbs lose most of their nutritional value during processing, when their outer germ and bran layers are stripped away to reveal the refined grain within.
Three Farm Daughters pasta, on the other hand, still contains all the naturally-occurring nutrients retained inside the wheat kernel before it's ground into semolina and wheat flour. Each serving of our better-for-you pasta packs 78% more fiber than other brands & 13% more protein - making it the perfect ally to support your healthy, balanced lifestyle and keep you feeling fabulous.
Pasta is often one of the first foods people will eliminate if they're watching their waistline. It's a widely-believed misconception that pasta is loaded with calories, and that eating it regularly will ruin your chances of maintaining a healthy weight range. We're not sure who first started this ridiculous rumor, but it couldn't be further from the truth!
THE ACTUAL TRUTH:
Pasta does not make you fat. In case you hadn't heard, pasta is not one of the harmful carbs that need to be sacrificed if you're conscious of weight management. With the right portions and toppings, pasta can be a healthy basis for balanced meals that not only keep you feeling fuller for longer, but assist with appetite control - all while making your health journey delicious and satisfying!
One serving of pasta only contains about 190 calories, making it the ideal star of the show for wholesome, health-conscious meals. Pasta is even highly recommended by nutritionists, who recognize Mediterranean-style diets as some of the healthiest lifestyle choices around. For the lowest-calorie meal, top off your penne with fiber-rich vegetables and nourishing additions like olive oil, lean protein and legumes.
Of course, what you serve on top of your pasta and how large your portion sizes are will impact the calories in your bowl - so if you're concerned about your jeans fitting right, keep pasta meals lighter with sensible portions, plenty of healthy veggie toppings, and go easy on the creamy sauces.
The best part? Three Farm Daughters pasta is also high in protein and has a low Glycemic Index (GI), resulting in a slower rate of digestion that won't spike your blood sugar or contribute to weight gain, and keeps you feeling satisfied for hours.
There's a lot of different myths out there about what salt actually does to your pasta as you cook it - Some cooks claim that it speeds up the cooking time, stops the pot from boiling over, and even prevents the pasta from sticking together.
With all these different theories, it's easy to see why you might not think salting your pasta pot is essential. But let us assure you, you're definitely going to want to add salt from now on...
THE ACTUAL TRUTH:
Whatever you do, don't skip this step! Generously salting your pasta water is crucial for building a flavorful, perfectly-seasoned finished dish. Think of it this way - pasta is a vehicle for flavor, and part of its versatile beauty lies is the fact that it absorbs the taste of whatever it's paired with. If you don't salt your cooking water, you'll miss your only chance to season each piece of pasta from the inside out as it boils. Unfortunately, this can result in your entire dish tasting under-seasoned even after you add the sauce, no matter how bold your bolognese is!
If you're watching your sodium intake, you may be alarmed at the amount of salt that's recommended (just a pinch won't cut it, you'll need 1 tbsp sea salt for every 4 quarts of water). But there's no need to panic - most of the salt you add will be drained away when you strain the pot. Unlike potatoes that soak up salt like a sponge, pasta only absorbs around 3% of the salt you add to the water... So be sure to make your pasta cooking water as briny as the Adriatic Sea!
While we're on the topic of draining the cooked pasta, don't forget to save a cup of the cooking water to stir through later! This starchy water is the #1 secret to silky, velvety sauces that bind beautifully to your pasta and coat every bite with maximum flavor. Learn more about cooking the best pasta you've ever tasted in our handy guide, How to Cook Perfect Pasta, Every Time.
Many cooks have been falsely led to believe that adding a splash of olive oil to your boiling pot or tossing it through your cooked drained pasta will prevent it from sticking together. But contrary to popular belief, adding oil not only does absolutely nothing to stave off clumpy pasta - it can actually ruin your finished dish.
THE ACTUAL TRUTH:
Oil will not stop your pasta from sticking together, but what it will do is make it more difficult for your sauce to adhere to the pasta! To avoid sauces sliding right off your pasta and sinking to the bottom of your bowl, leave oils out of the equation.
The perfect pasta dish consists of al dente noodles with a good pasta-to-sauce ratio in each bite. Unfortunately, oil prevents this from happening, so you're left with a plate of bare, slippery noodles lacking in flavor. Unless you're planning on serving your pasta simply buttered or dressed in olive oil, steer clear of adding oil during boiling and draining.
Worried about your pasta sticking to itself while it cooks? All you need to do is stir!
It's normal for pasta to release quite a bit of starch during the first 2 mins of cooking - so be sure to stir the pot several times immediately as your dry pasta hits the water. This helps distribute excess starch and prevents the pieces from adhering together. Next, just stir the pot midway through the cooking time, and again toward the end. Finally, be sure to sauce and serve your pasta immediately after draining - letting it sit in the colander for too long gives the starches time to get sticky and grab together.
If your food choices are underscored with a strong focus on nutrition, you'll want to pay attention to this cooking tip - Because cooking your pasta to al dente perfection isn't exclusively for the purpose of taste and texture. Turns out, you can indeed affect how healthy your bowl of pasta is by boiling it to oblivion...
THE ACTUAL TRUTH:
Draining your pasta at the right moment matters! According to nutritionists, overcooking your pasta has a big impact on its nutritional value. Pasta that is cooked to al dente is a lot healthier overall, thanks to its lower glycemic impact and stimulation of insulin production, as well as a higher density of nutrients our bodies can assimilate. All these factors combine to help control blood glucose levels, which is especially important if diabetes or excess weight are a concern.
When you cook pasta for the correct time, its starch granules become optimally hydrated by the cooking water, which allows them to be absorbed by the glutens. This way, your body is able to digest the pasta more gradually. And when our digestion rate slows down, so does our body's absorption of the glucose in the starches - fending off blood sugar spikes that can lead to diabetes and obesity over time if left unchecked.
This shorter cooking time also prevents beneficial starches from becoming so swollen that the gluten can't hold onto them any longer, therefore releasing them back into the cooking water where you'll be tossing all the nutrients down the drain. For the healthiest and most delicious pasta, drain when it's al dente!
There's a lot of hype surrounding the gluten-free trend, and many wheat-based foods containing this misunderstood protein are getting the cold shoulder for no good reason.
While there's a large number of people who can't eat gluten for a variety of health reasons, there's also a growing number who are voluntarily giving it up, or have been fooled into thinking gluten is a dirty word. But, avoiding it completely could actually be doing you more harm than good...
THE ACTUAL TRUTH:
Unless you are celiac or suffer from a gluten sensitivity or allergy, there's no conclusive scientific evidence to suggest that gluten is bad for the average person's health. Nor is there proof that avoiding gluten can aid in weight loss efforts, improve overall wellbeing, or prevent disease.
When it comes to nutrition, many gluten-free substitutes are not better for you at all - in fact, they're often highly processed and contain less fiber and more calories than their wheat versions, due to manufacturers adding more fat and sugar in an effort to make up for the taste and textural changes that occur when gluten is removed!
While wheat pasta is often accused of causing digestive issues, the flipside can actually be more true for some: Since a lot of gluten-free food products use highly-refined starches and grains, this can cause an imbalance in intestinal microflora which, ironically, results in bloating and gas.
According to a 2017 study, participants following a gluten-free diet showed a lower intake of fiber, B vitamins, protein, iron, folate, and calcium, whilst consuming more simple carbs and fats. Several other studies have linked a trend toward weight gain and obesity among those on gluten-free diets, plus an increased risk of coronary heart disease.
The bottom line is, in a time of increased gluten awareness where more foods are becoming available for those who truly need to avoid gluten, there's no need to restrict our diets unless there's a medical reason to do so. To experience the healthiest wheat pasta out there, give Three Farm Daughters a go!
Nutrition is a significant part of your fitness journey - so it's easy to get carried away with food fads, trending meal plans and extreme diets when you're working on your physique. But if you believe everything you see online, your workout nutrition will consist of nothing more than boiled chicken, broccoli, and protein shakes. Ugh. For a new healthy eating habit to be sustainable and to get the most out of your workouts, however, your focus should be on more than just protein alone.
THE ACTUAL TRUTH:
Contrary to popular belief, carbs should not be off-limits when you're hitting the gym, trying to lose weight, or working on building muscle. In fact, low-GI complex carbohydrates like pasta are an integral part of a healthy workout diet, providing a sustained release of energy to fuel your muscles and get you through your session. Cutting out good carbs can not only result in insufficient energy levels, but it can also stifle your body's ability to lay down lean muscle tissue.
After your workout, eating pasta is a great way to replenish your glycogen levels (the body's carbohydrate storage molecule) that were burned up as fuel for your sweat session. Consuming high quality complex carbs also speeds up recovery and reduces muscle soreness post-workout, so you can get back in the gym faster, boost your performance and maximize your results.
Consider this your sign to pop a container of sauced-up Three Farm Daughters Rotini in your gym bag!
So, now you know! If you believed most of these popular pasta myths were true for as long as you can remember, don't worry - you're not the only one. We hope that by debunking these 8 inaccurate ideas many of us have about pasta, we'll help you make the most of this healthy, versatile and delicious ingredient.
Did we miss any big pasta myths? Drop us a comment below if you think we should blow the lid off some more tall tales about recommended pasta cooking methods and nutrition information!
Before you go, don't forget to try our new range of Three Farm Daughters signature pasta, and say hello to hassle-free healthy.shop new shapes