My family, like most other American families, loves pasta. We have tried many low carb pastas, and we have been fooled by some like the Bella Vita brand. Other pastas are more forthright, like the Mueller's Reduced Carb Pasta. It has roughly half the carbs of regular pasta because it has more protein and fiber instead of just white flour. What does this mean? It means it won't stick! Other than that, it tastes pretty much the same as regular pasta to me, although somewhat more stiff or al dente.
So, if I had to use categories, I would use the following:
Category 1 -- The Same Old, Same Old: Regular pastas that have tons of carbs that we can't eat anymore (For example, Barilla.)
Category 2 -- The Crunchy Granola: Whole wheat pasta that still has tons of carbs but it is better than the regular white pastas because it has some fiber (if you didn't have any other alternative.)
Category 3 -- The Imposter: Low carb pastas that don't measure up to the carb count on the label*
Category 4 -- The High Priced Floozy: Low carb pastas that do measure up to the carb count on the label, taste terrible, and are WAY overpriced (For example, Atkins, the new Bella Vita, etc.)
Category 5 -- The Only on Sundays: Reduced carb pastas that are quite acceptable from a taste standpoint, but can be eaten only as a real treat (For example, Mueller's and Anthony's)
Category 6 -- The Best or The Too Good To Be True?: Dreamfield's Pasta, which has a "digestible carb per serving claim" on the label.... A "what" type of claim on the label? A "net carb" claim? Nononono... a "digestible carb" claim, not a "net carb" claim. Most longtime Atkins' followers understand what net carbs mean. You take the total carbohydrates and subtract the fiber, and, if you aren't susceptible to sugar alcohols, you subtract them too. Therefore, a hypothetical label might look like this:
Total Carbohydrates 40
- Fiber 10
- Sugar Alchohol 10
Net Carbs 20
Fiber does not have an impact on blood sugar, so it can be ignored. There is a debate about how to treat sugar alcohols. Some people think they can be ignored, other people think they can't. This may be based on your own manner of processing food. So, the upshot is, if you aren't losing weight or you are gaining weight and you eat a lot of sugar alcohols, cut out the sugar alcohols. (And, as always, try to eat no more than 300 calories of non-natural low carb foods a day.)
Anyhow, all of the above is background for the "digestible carb per serving claim." Does this put Dreamfield's into category number 3, The Imposter -- Low carb pastas that don't measure up to the carb count on the label*, or does it mean that it is in its own category 6, The Best or The Too Good To Be True -- Dreamfield's Pasta, which has a "digestible carb per serving claim" on the label. Now, this is the question. It even has been debated in the comment section in some of my previous posts on Dreamfield's pasta here and here.
Well, there is one source on the Internet that does seem to be a reliable source. He is a diabetic, and he seems to be extremely thorough. His name is Rick Mendosa and he has his own website, Mendosa.com. He has tested his blood sugar levels after eating Dreamfield's pasta and his blood sugar did not rise appreciably. He has also contacted the inventor of the pasta to try to get a cogent explanation of how this works:
One carbohydrate expert speculated that the Dreamfields Pasta must contain a large amount of resistant starch or other kinds of dietary fiber. No, that isn’t they way they did it, says Dr. Jon Anfinsen, the inventor of the process.
The technology behind Dreamfields Pasta results in most of the carbohydrate grams becoming “protected” or non-digestible, Dr. Anfinsen tells me. It “involves molecular interactions that help block the enzyme from attacking the carbohydrate starch granule. It is not encapsulated. We have basically creating the situation where there is a matrix more or less that has a tendency to attract the enzyme to the matrix and not the carbohydrate.”
These non-digestible carbohydrates aren’t counted as fiber, but they “start to act as fiber in the colon,” Dr. Anfinsen says. “They perform just like any other fiber in the colon; whether it be a soluble or an insoluble fiber that is fermented, it acts the same.”
Because the way our goverment makes us count carbohydrates, there is no easy way to put this on the label, just like net carbs. Carbohydrates, by definition, are everything that is not protein and not fat.
According to Mendosa's article, if you are extremely resistant to insulin then it could cause a spike, but then most things would cause a spike. Also, the makers of Dreamfield pasta seem to contact customers who have problems with their product to try and find out what is wrong or if there are other factors that might contribute to the problem. (The makers of Bella Vita pasta, on the other hand, didn't even refund a customer's money when she had the pasta shipped to her and it was noticably different from the previous pasta.)
So, based on the above, I would put Dreamfield's pasta into its own category 6, The Best or The Too Good To Be True, and cautiously shorten the name to The Best rather than lump it in with category 3, The Imposter. (It tastes delicious for one thing! It isn't stiff in the slightest.)
In fact, I agree with Rick Mendosa, category number 6, The Best, could be the biggest category since sliced bread. And if it is, then business could be booming. Read this business article and this business article for more. (And I do wish Dr. Atkins were alive! I would love Dr. Atkins' opinion on Dreamfield's pasta! I know he would be honest about it. We'll have to rely on Rick for this.)
Now, on to more practical matters. If you want to make a lasagna or have rotini, you have to use the Mueller's Reduced Carb pasta. I have made many lasagnas (and not only on Sundays,) and people don't even know that the noodles are low carb! Again, it is a little more stiff than regular lasagna. If you want linguine, you have to eat the Dreamfield's. Both have spaghetti, penne and elbows.
Dreamfield's Nutrition Facts
Serving size 2 oz.
Servings per container: 8
Calories from fat 10
Total Carbohydrates 42g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Total Carbs 42
Controlled Carbs 37
Net Digestible Carbs 5
I have found it at Shaw's and Albertsons for $2.89.
BJ's has the penne and elbows. Also reported sightings at Wal-mart. (Update: 3/8 2005, numerous accounts that Wal-mart no longer carries Dreamfields. More here.) Available also at netrition.com.
Mueller's (or Anthony's) Reduced Carb Rotini & Spaghetti & Lasagna Noodles
Serving Size 1 cup dry or 2 oz. dry
Servings Per Container 6
Total Carbohydrate 31 g
Deitary Fiber 12g
Protein 16 g
Reduced Carb Spaghetti $1.99
Reduced Carb Rotinni $1.99
Reduced Carb Lasagna $2.49
I have found the Mueller's at Market Basket, Shaws and Stop & Shop. (For where to find these around the country, read this on Anthony's, Ravarino and Freschi, and Mueller's low carb lasagna noodles.)
Update: Where to Buy Dreamfields Pasta
I have received emails/posts such as these:
I live in the New Haven Ct. area and I usually shop at Stop and Shop. I have not seen you product there yet. Can you direct me to a retail store in the greater New Haven area ( New Haven,
West Havem, Milford or Orange Ct.) that carries your products? Thank you.
Please advise where I can purchase dreamfield pastas in nyc and long island area. Please advise me on low carb pasta sauces and add me to your list.
This is the page that you should monitor to find out where Dreamfield's pasta is/should be/will be sold. HOWEVER, you should know that some chains do not roll out items all at once. They have teams of people who come in and reset the aisles so, even though the chart says it should be there, it may not be there -- yet. In this case, I would talk to the store manager of the chain and ask them when the new items are expected to be in this particular store.
Now, I know some of you might not want to hear this, but some of the smaller stores may not carry all items, and Dreamfields pasta may or may not be on the list for that particular store. Again, all I can tell you is to talk to the store manager. If the store manager gets requests, the store should carry the item. (This will also tell you if the store manager is any good. If he or she can't get a product into his or her store that has been requested by a lot of people and seems to have some "buzz," then he or she shouldn't be the store manager.)
They also don't seem to update that site very much because BJ's is not listed and I have found it there.
However, you can also buy Dreamfield's pasta from netrition.com (Their price of $2.49 is cheaper than the price at my local market. If you make an order, order the Keto jelly as well! It is far better than anything else you will buy at your local store.)
Now, finally, I don't work for Dreamfields (so it isn't "my product"), but I have this to say about Dreamfield's PR/Marketing machine -- it is very good.
Update: And see how low carb pasta can fit in the perfect low carb holiday/Christmas gift basket!
*(Regarding Bella Vita pasta, I have a box of their old formula that was white in color and, I guess, was pulled from Trader Joe's, and their new formula that should match the carb count on the label. I'd be happy to send it to anyone. Try your own taste test or get it tested in a lab! Just contact me!)
(Regarding Mueller's, in my initial post I said that it used soy, it doesn't. It uses wheat protein and fiber to reduce the carbohydrates.)