recipes

Dreamfields Pasta for Diabetics

David Mendosa Health Guide August 16, 2007
  • When I returned from a hike in the mountains yesterday, I was tired, cold, and wet and had food on my mind. I wanted pasta as a variation to my recent diet of salad for lunch and beans (as in chili) for dinner.

    But the Italian restaurant near where I live was closed for remodeling. No problem. I remembered that I had a couple of packages of Dreamfields Pasta as well as olive oil and garlic at home. Those simply ingredients have everything going for them – they make a dish that is easy to prepare, tasty, and low glycemic healthy.

    Unlike practically everything else made from wheat, pasta is naturally low glycemic. Linguine, for example, typically has a glycemic index of about 50. That’s on the scale where white bread has a glycemic index of about 70.

    But Dreamfields Pasta typically spikes our blood glucose much less than that. That is typical, but it does spike the levels of some people, apparently those who are quite insulin resistant.

    Dreamfields Pasta President Mike Crowley tells me, in fact, that they have tested their products in-house and that they have a glycemic index of 13. That’s incredibly low, but hasn’t yet been verified by an independent testing laboratory.

    Still, it conforms to the experience of many people with diabetes, myself included, that we can eat a normal size portion of their pasta without spiking our levels. How is that possible?

    Like all regular pasta, “Dreamfields pasta is made primarily with durum wheat semolina,” Mike tells me. “That’s why it tastes great and has al dente texture. All 42 grams of carbohydrates are in a serving of pasta. However, we protect most of carbohydrates from being digested by using a unique formula and patent pending process; this protects all but 5 grams of carbohydrates from being absorbed.”

    What patent? I asked him. It’s the patent by the co-inventors of the process, Jon Anfinsen and Bryan Tungland, “Reduced digestible carbohydrate food having reduced blood glucose response.” I found it on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website. Like most patents, it’s detailed, technical, and is quite extensive in its claims. My printout of it is 70 pages long.

    Less technically, Mike says that their special fiber blend of inulin, xanthum gum, and pectin together with proteins, creates a matrix within the semolina flour. That prevents the starch-digesting enzymes from cleaving digestible carbohydrates into absorbable monosaccharides. The carbohydrates that are protected from digestion can pass to the colon where they provide the health benefits of fiber as a result of being fermented.

    “We clinically test each batch of Dreamfields to insure there are only 5 grams of digestible carbs per serving,” Mike continues. He also provided a link to a more technical discussion by Bryan Tungland that includes scanning electron microscope pictures.

    More than three years ago I first wrote about “Dreamfields Pasta: A Totally New Low-Carb Process” on my website. But a couple of months ago I attended the scientific sessions of the American Diabetes Association in Chicago.

  • One of the best things about industry-wide affairs like this is the opportunity to meet with other people in the field. And one of the best ways to do that is to scan the name tags of people as they walk by you.

    That’s what Mike did. We hadn’t met in person before, but he recognized my name from that article on my website. After talking briefly in Chicago, we made arrangements to go back to phone conversations.

    On the phone Mike told me that they have two updates from my earlier article. The first is that the total dietary fiber is now 5 grams versus 4 grams per 42 grams of pasta. Of these, 4 grams are soluble fiber and 1 gram is insoluble.
     
    Secondly, Dreamfields has added two new shapes, lasagna and rotini. Those new shapes and the four original ones -- spaghetti, linguine, elbows, and penne rigate -- all have the same protected carbohydrates and low glycemic level.

    Personally, there’s no pasta that I like better than Dreamfields linguine, so that’s all that I eat. My theory is that when you find something that’s good for you and tastes great, why experiment?