Professor Tim Spector issues stark warning over ‘problems’ with viral pasta trend

By Staff 6 Min Read

Professor Tim Spector has warned people to be careful when buying pasta as he explained that there are ‘big differences’ between the different types and people ‘shouldn’t be fooled’

Nutrition expert Tim Spector has spoken out about a major new pasta-related ‘big craze’ giving a warning over ‘problems’ that people ‘shouldn’t be fooled’ by.

The professor of genetic epidemiology at King’s College London and founder of the Zoe health app posted a new video on Instagram talking about the trend for people switching to gluten-free pasta – when they’re not a coeliac. He said people were switching because they believed it was healthier – but explained that as long as they’re not suffering from a health intolerance, people would be better advised to stick to the original types.

He said: “What’s the healthy option when buying pasta? There’s a big craze at the moment for buying gluten-free pastas, thinking these are going to be good for you. But there are some problems. Most of the gluten-free ones are like this, made of rice and corn and emulsifiers, and actually have very little in the way of fibre or protein at 1.7% of fibre and around 3% of protein compared to regular wheat spaghetti, which actually contains nearly 6% protein and about 2% of find that if you want extra fibre.”

Gloucestershire Live reports that he said that it would be better to choose something other than gluten-free spaghetti: “If you do want a gluten-free alternative, or you’re looking for something that is really packed with protein go for some red lentils and I’ve started using these in my cooking.

“They’re getting better and better all the time, particularly if you really pay attention to that cooking time. And these guys have about the same amount of fibre as whole wheat spaghetti. But they have around 12% of protein. They’re absolutely packed with protein, so there are big differences between these pastas, they do make a difference. Start to think about it, look at those labels and make the healthy choice.”

In addition to his remarks, he warned: “Don’t be fooled into thinking that if a product is gluten-free that means it’s healthier. For the majority of us who aren’t coeliac or don’t have an intolerance, wholegrain alternatives are often less processed, cheaper and healthier. It’s worth checking the labels for fibre and protein content to improve the impact of staples such as breads or pasta on your blood sugar and to ensure your microbes get a good meal too.

“This corn and rice-based gluten-free pasta, contains around 3g protein and less than 2g of fibre per 100g, choosing a standard white pasta provides around 2g fibre and 6g protein, swapping to wholegrain pasta increases this to around 4g fibre and 6g protein and choosing a gluten-free alternative like this red lentil pasta contains 3.2g fibre and over 12g of protein.

“Over 90% of us aren’t getting enough fibre and paying attention to our food labels and switching up our staples could make a difference to our health.”

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