As much as I believe in a gluten-free lifestyle, I’ve been wary of all the “gluten-free” products that are taking supermarkets by storm. Most of them seem like they’re just the latest gimmick food manufacturers are using to make a buck (or billion).
But there is one new gluten-free product that I’m intrigued by for a couple of reasons. First of all, it has some actual research behind it. And second, it may be the best option yet for indulging in one of the staples I grew up eating, but gave up years ago.
I’m talking, of course, about pasta.
There are already dozens of gluten-free varieties out there. Made with rice, corn, or quinoa flours. The problem is, when you cook them, these products tend to lose the elasticity of traditional pasta. In other words, they get mushy. And as any Italian will tell you, there’s nothing worse than mushy pasta.
But this new one comes from the last source you might expect–bananas. Specifically, green bananas. And not only is it 100 percent gluten-free, but it also blows away the competition when it comes to flavor and texture.
Researchers from Brazil found most people liked the flavor as much as whole wheat pasta. But they actually preferred the texture of the green banana variety. And the banana pasta had fewer calories and less fat per serving than the whole wheat version.
But what I find even more intriguing about this study is that researchers also pinpointed some bioactive compounds and resistant starch in the green banana pasta. Both of which may make this a much better option. And options are what people need to help encourage them to stick with a gluten-free lifestyle.
Now for the caveat… (You knew there would be one, didn’t you?)
As exciting as this new pasta option is for those of us who steer clear of gluten, it is made from bananas. And I love bananas as much as the next guy. But like most other high-sugar foods I love (like ice cream), I only eat them occasionally. And the same goes for green banana pasta.
It’s a wonderful new option–in moderation.
My advice is to save it for special occasions, or when you really need that pasta “fix.”
But, don’t worry! There are still plenty of delicious, decadent, gluten-free foods to enjoy. For more details and tips on going “gluten-free” without giving up everything you love, check out the April 2012 issue of my Logical Health Alternatives newsletter.
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“Green Banana Pasta: An Alternative for Gluten-Free Diets,” Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2012; 112(7): 1,068-1,072