LCHF and the option for pasta

Pernille Bjerring

LCHF spaghetti

Numerous are the recipes for LCHF pasta – using cheese, cream cheese, psyllium husks or even Miracle noodles to make that dish appear as the ever popular pasta dish. I have tried several – and I have also made lasagne with zucchini or eggplant. And as much as I liked it, it was NEVER the same as the REAL DEAL.

You might be wondering where I am going with this. And it is not turning into an advertisement for some new brand of gluten free pasta or similar “invention”.

On the contrary, I am going to touch on the concept of RESISTANT STARCH.

I have come across this concept before. In Scandinavia, where I am from originally, one of the yearly delicacies is the newly dug up potato. In early June, depending on the weather, you start seeing these small, firm, and utterly delicious potatoes and nothing (!) tastes better than a cooked potato with salt and cold butter on top. However, this has of course been a no-go on LCHF. That is, until I heard of the concept of resistant starch in new potatoes. It seems that once they are cooked and cooled down, the structure of the potato’s starch changes and it starts acting much more like a fibre. This means that the starch resists digestion and instead goes through the stomach and small intestine undigested, eventually reaching the colon where it feeds the friendly bacteria in the gut. There are supposedly a number of beneficial effects of resistant starch:

  • it feeds the friendly bacteria in the intestine
  • it reduces the pH level, which in turn potently reduces inflammation and could lead to several beneficial changes such as a lowered risk of colorectal cancer
  • the therapeutic effect on the colon could have a positive effect on a number of digestive disorders such as Crohn’s, constipation, or diarrhea
  • it increases the absorption of minerals
  • it improves insulin sensitivity
  • it helps lower the blood sugar after meals, with an additional “second-meal” effect, meaning that it will help lower the blood sugar levels on your next meal as well

The research into resistant starch and its benefits is hot right now. However, to get back to the pasta, Michael Mosley conducted an experiment for BBC’s “Trust me, I am a Doctor” – and got some pretty exciting results!

They had a group of people eat pasta over a three day period of time. The first day, everyone had the freshly cooked, delicious pasta. On the second day, they all had some of the cooled, leftover pasta. And on the third day, the cooled, leftover pasta was re-heated and served hot. Every day, blood samples were drawn on all participants at 15 minute intervals during a two hour interval after eating, to test their blood glucose levels.

So what did the samples show? Not surprisingly, the cold pasta led to lower spikes in blood sugar levels than the freshly cooked, warm pasta. BUT, what was a surprise, the re-heated pasta had an even lower effect on blood glucose – suggesting that maybe cooling and re-heating pasta turns it into resistant starch.

More research has already begun on this interesting subject so maybe, just maybe, we CAN BE ON LCHF AND HAVE OUR PASTA TOO!

Click here to see the BBC article


  1. Carol
    October 19, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Thank you for this VERY interesting news! I also avoid any substitutes for pasta or bread as (at least for me) they aren’t worth it but oh, I do miss pasta. Please keep us posted on future studies of resistant starch.

  2. Edy
    October 19, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Would the potatoes you mentioned be the freshly dug “new” potatoes – at least that is what we have always called them in my family? They are rather waxy. They don’t mash worth a flip. Nor are they suitable for frying. They are wonderful boiled with butter and parsley or in a cream sauce. My family often would throw six or eight small ones into a pot of fresh green beans as well.

    I can pass on the pasta, not something I gave ever felt the need to eat on a regular basis. But if I knew I could occasionally eat new potatoes without undoing all of my low carb efforts, I would be a happy camper.

    • Pernille
      October 19, 2014 at 6:27 pm

      Hi Edy. Yes, I was referring to “new” potatoes – and I fully agree with your views, they are primarily suited for eating boiled as-is. However, the new potatoes were just an example. The idea of resistant starch might actually apply to all potato types – and thereby also to baked and mashed potatoes. Personally, I also think it probably will have something to do with your own sensitivity. I have never had an adverse reaction from eating a cold potato but some people might…..

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