There are few things tastier than a ‘creamy tomato and herb’ pasta bake from HomePride, but one thing that is tastier? That same pasta, the next day. How tempting does it look when it’s been on the side overnight and has gone all crispy? That might just be me…
Anyway, the good news is that reheating that pasta actually isn’t the worst thing in the world that you can do for your health. In fact reheating pasta the next day could even make it healthier and more diet-friendly. Here’s how…
Why Pasta Is Bad for You
First, we should look at why pasta is ‘bad’ for us in the first place. Obviously no food is ‘bad’ per say, but in high quantities, pasta can cause weight gain because it is a relatively ‘simple’ carb. This means that our body breaks it down very quickly in order to release the glucose into our blood stream in a sudden rush, spiking our blood sugar and triggering an insulin response that ultimately leads to ‘lipogenesis’ or the creation of fat cells.
Again, this doesn’t make pasta ‘bad’ per say: we do need carbs in our diet to get useable energy and pasta – especially brown pasta – does have nutritional value. It would just be better if you were eating rye bread, new potatoes or something else that would release energy slower.
How Reheating Pasta Makes it Healthier
Fortunately though, it appears that when you cook pasta and cool it back down, it actually alters the composition of the carbs. This turns them into what is known as ‘resistant starch’ – which is more resistant to the enzymes in the stomach that would otherwise break it down. This means that the pasta will now have a lower ‘GI’ – meaning a lower score on the Glycemic Index. In other words, it now acts more like a more complex carb or even a fiber.
Reheating pasta works then but so does just eating it cold. Personally, I’m most excited about the cold pasta – but the reheated version apparently causes even less of an insulin spike than the cold. In fact, eating reheated pasta appears to reduce the insulin spike by a whopping 50%.
Note: These results don’t come from a peer-reviewed study but rather from an experiment conducted for a television program. You can read more about the study and the science behind it here.