Voices
in
Japan

have your say

Some diet gurus say pasta is good because it is low-fat; others say it's not so good because it's high carb. What do you say? Is it a healthy dish?

28 Comments

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

28 Comments
Login to comment

This is a ridiculous question because pasta is both. Why does it have to be one or the other, good or bad? Fat-wise, yes, it is healthier than french fries; carb-wise it is not as healthy as whole grains. So what? Comparing apples and oranges here using very faulty logic.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I generally find that pasta and other refined white carbs make my blood sugar go crazy. But other people might have no problem. So I think it depends on you and your body.

And what you put on it. Tomato sauce? Fairly healthy. Meat sauce? Yeah, maybe. Creamy, cheesy, buttery sauces? Hmmm ...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As a once-in-a-while treat, I think it's just fine. I love pasta, and can't imagine life without it. Everything in moderation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Diet gurus need to take a hike. Spaghetti, linguine, ziti, rotelle, shells, manicotti, angel hair, lasagna... Covered with the most excellent gravy... Is it healthy...? You gotta ask?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree with everyone's thoughts - pasta can be good and bad. It also depends on what sauce you put on it. Lashings of creamy sauce can make a big difference. What I find shocking is the Japanese's (or East Asians', for that matter) dislike for anything brown, be it bread, rice or pasta. It is so difficult finding them, and at reasonable prices, at supermarkets. I've given up on genmai as I still find it way too filling and heavy. I just use basmati mixed with a variety of other grains and wild rice, although brown basmati would be great. Brown bread is virtually impossible unless I pay a lot, and then I'll have to find a specialist bakery. Brown pasta can only be found at upscale places. One godsend - found CHEAP brown pasta for 150 yen at Tesco's. Thank god for British supermarkets - it's even cheaper than ordinary pasta.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As part of a well-balanced diet, and in moderation, of course it's healthy. Mountains of the stuff covered in fatty sauces is another matter. The reason there isn't much wholewheat pasta in Japan is because when she finds it, cleo buys up as much as she can afford. :-)

People can go crazy with this 'it's good for you' thing, though. I watched an episode of Panorama last night, about preventable illnesses in young children. One was a grossly obese 5-year-old (over 65 kilos!) whose Mum was convinced his problem was genetic, nothing to do with the healthy food she gave him. And the food she gave him was very healthy - all the stuff that's 'good for you' - but in ginormous portions. The poor tot munched his way through 2 Weetabix topped with a Mt Everest of fruit ('The fibre is good for you') then half an hour later was being called to the table for his dinner - enough fish, mash and peas to sink the Titanic.

So yes, everything in moderation

0 ( +0 / -0 )

JT forum questions amaze me and my screen is filled with lose weight ads.... anyway, pasta is high carb for people who are active, nuff said.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well white pasta is a "cheat meal", so you can it eat once a week or so, but not frequently. It is better to replace it with whole grain (high fiber) pasta. Refined white flour is as dangerous as white rice or white sugar.

I suggest you stick to whole grains, brown rice, oatmeal, bran, rye flour etc.

Also ready-made pasta sauce contains high levels of salt and various chemicals. You would better stay away from those.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Regular pasta, like white bread or rice, is empty carbs. But it sure tastes good with Prego or Ragu or Hunts spaghetti sauce!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sarge, you heard what LHomme said! Stay away from the ready-mades, and make your own! It's healthier and tastes better.

Very occasionally I make my own pasta. It's very time-consuming and fiddly so I don't do it often, but you can put all kinds of healthy stuff in it and it tastes superb.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Wholegrain pasta with tomato and basil sauce is very healthy. Ordinary pasta with tomato sauce is still healthy enough. Pasta is a happy dish, it puts people into a good mood and that is also healty and maybe the most important factor about it. Eat it in moderation without the high calory cream sauce and it won't do you any bad. By the way, I find Barilla to make the best pasta but all the supermarkets I went to have stopped selling it. Anyone knows why? Japanese pasta makers just don't do it for me.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Everything in moderation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As long as it's not "processed" pasta is fine. You mill the grain and make the pasta, then no problem --well, depends on the sauce, then. Again, no processed sauces and you're good to go. If the ingredients are in a semi-natural state --ie, not chemically altered and processed industrially, you're fine.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

'Nothing is good or bad. Only thinking makes it so.'

Pukey: Where do you find jasmine rice?!

Foxie: I really like Barilla too. I can still find it at my local supermarket so it's out there! Keep looking!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pasta is fine. It is what you eat with it that makes it unhealthy. Take lasagne for example. Awesome dish, but if you eat it every day you might as well be eating MacDonalds.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

it is good to know the difference between simple and complex carbs. pasta is simple, not so good. but a moderate portion with good sauce is fine, so go for it. most people don't like whole wheat or whole grain pasta, but that be healthy dish.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How does sauce come into the question? No wonder diet is such a problem for the simple.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

some people eat pasta with butter, or those thick cream sauces. i have never seen anyone eat plain pasta. the sauce is what makes pasta a dish. ?? anyways...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

foxie:

I find Barilla to make the best pasta but all the supermarkets I went to have stopped selling it. Anyone knows why? Japanese pasta makers just don't do it for me

I understand very well. It seems that every single Japanese product is laden with MSG, whereas many of the European pasta sauces rely on natural flavours. I just don't believe in this umami sh*t. Sometimes I just make my own sauces starting from tomatoes. Great with fresh basil.

I don't know where you live, but for Barilla, have you tried some of the import shops or one of the more upscale places like Seijo-Ishii? In my local supermarkets, they have about two different European brands, but always more expensive than the local products.

dolphingirl:

Pukey: Where do you find jasmine rice?!

You can get them in places like imports shops and Seijo-Ishii, but they're a rip-off. I go to the Indian shops. You get 5kg bags for about 3000yen (or less. Can't remember), which is no more expensive than Japanese rice. You can also get Indian and Pakistani basmati for about 3000-3500 yen. There are several places that do business in Tokyo - a large Indian community in Koto-ku. Also google 'Indo Bazaar' for a shop in Kamata, Ota-ku, near Kawasaki.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pukey and Dolphingirl: Thanks for the advice, I will take an empty suitcase to Seijo-Ishi. Life isn't that easy in inaka Hokkaido. I grow Basil in my livingroom, really cheap, and the ones I planted last year in spring are still doing really fine. They just need to be in a sunny spot. Using real fresh tomatoes makes a big difference in the pasta. I think that using fresh vegetables and slow cooking the sauce just makes any pasta healthy.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Before I used to cook spaghetti in "Italian" way with tomato sauce and all that, but now a day I just use them like rice or noodle and they are just fine. Same for other pasta.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Thanks for the tip Pukey!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Healthy, satisfying, curing hankering for sweets pasta recipe: Heat olive oil, stir fry garlic, meat, seafood, vegetables, salt&pepper, boiled pasta then top with tiny pat of butter, fresh/dried basil.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pasta and rice are like eating pure sugar!!!! plain and simple. Whole grain rice and pasta is different. All you have to do is look up the glycemic index. It is science you can see how bad white starches are for you. Low fat is a joke. Fat is good you!!!! I take pills everyone morning filled with FAT!!!! its called Omega fatty acids. Even saturated fat in low amounts is good. so is cholesterol in low amounts. They are precursors to testosterone. Fat has a very high glycemic index and when eaten with carbs it slows the digestion of carbs. Its better to eat a bake potato with butter than plain becuase the fat from the butter helps the digestion of the carbs. This isnt even a question. this SCIENCE is 25 years old at least. Its not a matter of opinion its a matter of learning the truth. (but there are times when sugar, and plain carbs are good for you too) After exercise the simpler the carb the better or for your first meal after basically fasting while you sleep. I eat straight pure sugar after a work out with my protein.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pasta is OK, but not as good as lean meat, like fish or chicken. If you eat a mountain of pasta everyday, despite how good you think it is, you're gonna get fat. If you eat at load of lean chicken breast every day, it's much harder to get fat, as it's harder for your body to convert protein into fat than it is to convert carbs into fat. Carbs into fat is almost automatic.

If you eat 2000-3000 calories everyday, and get exercise, it's impossible to not be healthy. (unless ALL you eat is McDonalds French Fries.)

People think that by wasting time trying to decide what is healthy and what isn't they can avoid the real issue: Don't eat so Go****mn much.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think we'd all be healthier if we stopped listening to the "diet gurus" and listened to our grandparents more. My grandfather is a firm proponent of "everything in moderation" and he's 96 this year and still works his farm daily.

Carbs are a vital source of tryptophan, which is a component in the production of seratonin, which regulates mood. No carbs, bad mood. Simple. Yes, you can get tryptophan from some meats, like chicken and turkey, but that ups your protein levels and creates problems in your kidneys. Basically all these "diet gurus" need a swift kick in the pants and to be told to stop trying to demonise any particular food group. I can remember the huge "butter is bad" fuss in the 1980's... then they discovered that margarine was twice as bad for you.

The only advice I'd say is safe is: 1 Eat a wide variety of foods. 2 Listen to your body, if you're craving something then that means there's a problem with your diet (or if you're craving pickles and ice cream then you're pregnant ;) ) 3 Grow or buy fresh and local. It's good for you and the environment.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pasta is fine. But don`t eat it too late in the day.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Pasta are good but not as much as French fries. They don't contain potassium. LOL

Cooked al dente, white pasta has a glycemic index lower than that of brown rice (which I like too), and lower than the GI of whole wheat pesudo-pasta. Not that I am impressed buy the GI fad diets. Aren't they already out of fashion ?

*** i have never seen anyone eat plain pasta.

Why not ? I often do. I have seen people that never eat anything "plain", that don't even drink their water "plain".

it is science you can see how bad white starches are for you.

Yeah, after all, in the last 500 years, all the healthiest and longest living communities on the planet have lived on traditional diets with a 50% of their food being white starches (rice in Asia, white surdough bread, couscous and pasta in Mediterranean areas, potatoes in North of Europe...). That must be so bad.

Let's all listen to 25 yr old science made by researchers that graduated in weightlifting and bikini modeling... and followed by a crowd of super-sized bums that would make Ozekis look skinny compared to them.

Barilla is industrial lower-end pasta, totally similar to supermarket brands if you take the same size. Except they are more expensive in Japan (they are actually the bottom of the supermarket shelf in Europe). In Osaka, you can find De Cecco and a few hand-made brands. You can see the difference : the surface of the old style pasta is not so smooth. That means it was not made with the big machines, not quickly dried. It's quick and easy to make your lasagna, tagliatelle, spaghetti from durum semolina (that can be ordered online). Other shapes, it's complicated...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites