I was inspired to write a long-overdue article about wheat because a recipe ended up in my Facebook news feed touting as “healthy,” and I didn’t agree. You can read the article here: Are You Still Eating Wheat?
It was posted by a diabetic friend. Perhaps, if I had seen it posted by a non-diabetic friend, I might have ignored it and moved on. The picture with this so-called “healthy” recipe showed white (not whole-wheat and not that whole wheat would make it healthier), bow-tie pasta, broccoli, and chicken in some sort of white sauce. It looked delicious, but then again, any picture of something made with white pasta would not only look delicious, it would also elicit a dopamine response in my brain!
My exact words were, “This looks delicious, but it’s far from healthy. There is no nutritional value in wheat pasta and wheat is about as unhealthy as you can get!” Okay, I’ll admit I shouldn’t have said, “no nutritional value in wheat pasta.” I should have said, “minute amount of nutritional value on its way to the table, but no nutritional value once it’s eaten!”
This is the first response I got: “Lynn: Where do you get your info from??? Here are the facts about wheat pasta!! And its “nutritional” value: 1) It is unprocessed whole wheat, which means its natural fiber, germ, and bran remain intact. 2) The fiber keeps your digestive system healthy and reduces cholesterol. 3) It contains iron & folic acid. 4) Since it is WHOLE grain, it is complex carbs like selenium (protects cells & immune system), potassium (important in neuron, brain, and nerve function, and in influencing osmotic balance between cells and the interstitial fluid, and in preventing muscle contraction, preventing hypokalemia). Magnesium (builds strong bones and muscle function). 5) The B-Vitamin (speeds up metabolism). The USDA recommends more than 50% of grains that are consumed should be WHOLE grains…which includes wheat pasta!!!!”
So first, I’d like to say the picture was of white pasta, not caramel-colored-made-to-look-like-whole-wheat pasta, but aside from that:
- Whole-wheat pasta is NOT “unprocessed whole wheat…fiber, germ, and bran remain intact.” If the fiber, germ, and bran were intact, it would be wheat berries, not pasta. Wheat berries are the whole, natural form of wheat. Pasta is made from highly processed flour and much of the nutrition has been removed.
- I’ll agree that fiber is necessary to help keep a digestive system healthy, although I don’t agree wheat is necessarily a good place from which to get that fiber.
- You can read at the end of this article what happens to the iron contained in wheat. Folic acid is the synthetic version of folate. If something has “folic acid” listed as an ingredient, it means it was added to “enrich” the product. Folic acid can cause significant problems for some people. Synthetic vitamins can cause health issues and are an entirely different debate.
- Although I agree the vitamins/minerals you mention are necessary for a human body to function properly, I’m not so sure these are all found in pasta. Especially magnesium—which scientists agree is no longer in our food chain since it’s been depleted from our soils.
- Again, sorry. Pasta IS NOT a WHOLE GRAIN. I think the USDA may have missed something about grains—perhaps 100% of grains we eat should simply be WHOLE GRAINS, not processed crap.
Go to the article here: Are You Still Eating Wheat?