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Managing Blood Sugar Levels When Indulging in Italian Pasta: Insights from a Registered Dietitian

Aug 04, 2023

Let’s dispel the notion that individuals with diabetes can't enjoy certain foods, such as Italian pasta.

Often, people assume that these carb-heavy dishes are off-limits due to blood sugar concerns. Many people fell in love with Italian cuisine, including the delectable chicken carbonara pasta. We will guide you through the process of estimating carb content and managing blood sugar levels when indulging in this Italian delight.

Let's break down the components of chicken carbonara pasta from a carb perspective. We'll disregard the chicken and bacon as they have minimal impact. The creamy sauce and other ingredients won't significantly contribute to carb count either. The crucial element is pasta. 

To estimate the carb content, a handy rule of thumb is to assume approximately two and a half to three cups of pasta in a dish of this size. Since it's best shared with a friend, let's settle on two and a half cups, which translates to around 112 grams of carbs.

Remember, if the pasta is homemade, the carb count may vary. Precision is key to effective blood sugar management.

So what’s gonna happen next?.. After three..four..five..six…seven hours, now you’re probably gonna see your blood sugar start to go up and up and suddenly it stops at around 270-300ish. That's something that we don’t want to happen, you’re going to feel like you were hit by a dump truck. 

To mitigate this, we have to factor in the protein and fat content. For the chicken, if we use the standard rule it would be about five to six ounces of chicken. The bacon and the egg have a little bit of protein.  So protein-wise, it should be not more than 50 grams of carbs. 

We also have to look at the fat content of cream sauce. Ultimately, you have to consider if you’re on a pump and extended bolus, you’re not gonna pump another dose later on to counteract that fat, otherwise, you will see that spike of blood sugar far out in the future. 

To sum it up, Italian pasta, like chicken carbonara, is a beloved dish that individuals with diabetes can still enjoy with proper planning. By estimating the carbohydrate content and considering the protein and fat components, it's possible to indulge without facing prolonged high blood sugar levels. 

Remember, seeking guidance from healthcare professionals and registered dietitians who specialize in diabetes management is crucial for personalized advice. Don't let diabetes restrict your culinary experiences. With proper strategies and support, you can savor your favorite dishes while maintaining stable blood sugar levels.

If you're looking to eat more freely and achieve optimal blood sugar levels, reach out to our team of registered dietitians who understand the challenges of diabetes firsthand and can provide the support you need.


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