Authentic Italian Food – Debunking The Myth That It Is Fattening
Italian food has got a bad reputation among the health conscious because it is thought to be fattening. In reality Italian food can be the basis of a healthy diet. Italian food is the part of what is often referred to as the Mediterranean diet that has been shown to be good for weight control and heart health.
The food pyramid that is now recommended by doctors is based on carbohydrate food. It contains plenty of fruit and vegetables, oily fish and only small amounts of dairy foods and red meat. That could be a description of the Italian diet.
We often think of pizzas dripping in cheese and loaded with meat, or pasta served in rich cheese sauces when we think of Italian food. But real Italian food is not like that. If we move away from this commercial variations on Italian food and get back to real thing then we have a healthy diet.
Italian food is not just about pasta and it is certainly not just about pizza. It is rich in all those things that are lacking in the diet that most of us eat.
The modern Western diet is typically low in the healthy omega oils that are contained in oily fish such as sardines and anchovies that make up an important part of Italian cooking. Doctors recommend that we eat oily fish at least once a week. There are any number of appetizing Italian dishes that call for oily fish.
Fresh vegetables are an essential part of any Italian meal. They are eaten raw in salads and cooked in a variety of flavor filled ways. The common complaint that vegetables are boring does not apply to Italian food.
Fruit is almost always served at Italian meals. It is an essential part of the sweet course.
Research has shown that eating soup is a good way of controlling weight. There are a wide range of Italian soups that will all make a good first course of simple meal in themselves.
Olive oil and garlic which are essential to Italian food have been shown to have a good effect on the heart. The same is true of red wine.
The carbohydrates in Italian food such as pasta, rice, polenta and bread, have become unpopular as people have turned to the Atkins Diet which avoids all carbohydrates. But the Atkins Diet is far from healthy in the long term. A healthy diet must include some carbohydrates.
Italian food is not just about pasta. italians love bread, polenta and rice too. Polenta is especially good in weight control because it has a low glycemic index. That is to say it releases sugar into the blood slowly. It leaves us feeling fuller for longer. A first course of polenta and tomato sauce is a good way to start a meal.
Rice has a slightly higher glycemic index but eaten in small portions is a healthy food.
Pasta need not be fattening.
Italian bread is typically lower in salt than other bread. The texture of breads such as foccaccia and ciabatta is much denser than most commercial bread so that a small amount will satisfy the appetite. Nor do Italians normally eat butter with their bread.
If you avoid smothering your pasta, rice or polenta in rich sauces and avoid butter on your bread then they are healthy foods that are healthy foods that are low in fat.