Our Educational Content is Not Meant or Intended for Medical Advice or Treatment
We love our pasta.
Spaghetti, ravioli, fettucini - no matter the noodle, we love to coat it with sauce and smother it with other goodies like cheese, garlic, and meat.
Pasta dishes are such staples that you can find at least one on the menu in nearly every kind of restaurant. With good reason. They’re scrumptious, and we love carbs.
So do you really have to give up pasta on a low carb keto diet?
Let’s take a look at the answer.
In this article:
- The Lowdown On Pasta
- The Best Way To Test Blood Sugar (And Ketones Too)
- Are There Pasta Alternatives?
- Now You Know The Answer To Pasta On Keto
The Lowdown On Pasta
Someone asked me if they could eat pasta on keto because they checked their blood sugars right after eating pasta and the pasta didn’t spike their glucose.
I know what you’re thinking…”Their blood sugars didn’t spike? Is this too good to be true?”
It’s true that your blood sugar won’t initially spike after certain foods such as pasta. This is because the noodles are made from a type of wheat that’s different from the kind that bread, cookies, and the like are made from. Pasta is made from durum wheat. It has higher protein content than other wheat and digests more slowly than bread because it’s dense and your body has to break it down.
On what’s called the glycemic index - a measure of how quickly a food causes blood sugar to rise - pasta comes in at 45-50 out of 100. The higher the score, the more quickly the food converts to sugar in your body. Thus, you can see how you want to aim for foods that are low on the index and that have much lower net carbs than pasta.
Pasta’s score is much lower than bread, which ranks at 70.
But there’s a catch.
While its glycemic index ranking isn’t too terribly high, and though it is higher protein than bread, cake, or cookies, pasta is still a carbohydrate. It will still raise your blood sugar, with its accompanying rise in insulin. It will knock you out of ketosis - just not immediately after you eat it because of its density and relatively high protein content.
So what can you do to accurately assess the impact a particular food truly has on your blood sugar and ketone levels?
The Best Way To Test Blood Sugar (And Ketones Too)
For blood sugar testing, this is the most important way to do it:
First, I recommend getting the Keto Mojo tester. It’s very reliable and you can check both your blood sugar and ketone levels.
Then, check your glucose anywhere from 1 to 4 hours after eating instead of immediately afterwards.
You’ll find some interesting data. For example, even if your blood sugar doesn’t spike at 1 to 2 hours, check it again at 3 to 4 hours and compare the results. Often after just 1 or 2 hours, it will be below 100 mg/dL, which is a healthy level. Or it might even be a normal reading for you. Then, 3 to 4 hours later you’ll see the spike once the full digestive process has broken down the noodles to allow them to be converted into sugar.
If you want to be very precise, run a test every hour for four hours after you eat, and see what its effect is. Map the data you collect over a set period of time, and see what you discover.
Or if there’s a food you initially believe may be acceptable on keto, test it on the hour at 1-2-3-4 hours after eating it. You’ll be able to determine whether it helps or hinders you on the keto diet.
I know you’ll want to dive into the next part. Read on!
Are There Pasta Alternatives?
I’ve got good news for you.
There are delicious, low carb, keto diet-friendly alternatives to pasta that you’ll enjoy.
In fact, you may have heard of zoodles, a term for zucchini noodles. Zoodles are incredibly simple to make: you can use something called a spiralizer to create long, thin, curly vegetable noodles that are a low-carb alternative to pasta yet will hold tasty sauces just as well.
Although zucchini is the most popular zoodle vegetable, you can also use bell peppers, broccoli stems, and cabbage to ensure you stay on keto. You don’t want to risk spiking your blood sugar and getting pushed out of ketosis with high carb vegetables such as sweet potatoes or carrots, although they’re also popular to use as pasta noodle alternatives.
Many traditional pasta sauces can be tweaked to be keto diet compliant: marinara, alfredo, carbonara, Bolognese, and pesto. Serve them over zoodles just like you would over pasta. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over them, toss, and enjoy.
To get you started, try this delicious recipe I created for you using zucchini noodles. You don’t even need to cook them - keep them raw, and put the heated sauce on top. As a bonus, I show you another tool besides the spiralizer that you can use to create them.
And don’t forget that you can also use spaghetti squash instead of traditional noodles. You’ll need to cook it rather than serve it raw, but it’s simple:
- Heat oven to 400°F
- Slice squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds
- Drizzle halves with a little bit of olive oil, and season with salt
- Place the squash, cut side down, on a baking sheet and roast until tender, 45-50 minutes
- When it’s cool enough to safely handle, use a fork to scrape out the insides
- Top with your favorite keto sauce
See how simple it is to replace noodles with low carb keto alternatives?
Now You Know The Answer To Pasta On Keto
Many of the people who read this post will smile, nod their head in agreement, and implement precisely zero of these pasta alternatives. Because even if they’re trying to stay low carb, their willpower will knock them off the keto diet as soon as their favorite pasta dish beckons.
But not you.
You know if you don’t stay low carb, you’ll be missing out.
Missing out on the significant weight loss that the keto diet can bring.
Or the big uplevel in your energy and mental clarity.
So each time you’re tempted to eat a traditional pasta dish, substitute zoodles or spaghetti squash instead.
Because if you’re ready to stick to keto...if you’re ready to lose 10, 20, 40 or even more pounds...you won’t get there by giving into pasta temptation.
It’s time to keep your commitment to yourself. But you don’t have to do the keto diet alone; sign up here for my free keto mini-course.
Let’s do this!