January 20, 2008

Good-For-You Gourmet

The thought of pasta ultra high in fiber conjures up unpleasant memories of trying chalky soy pasta (AKA hay) for the first time during the 2003 Atkins craze.

These days, all my pasta dishes at home are made with whole wheat varieties.

While the high fiber is a plus (a cup provides a butt-kicking seven grams), I genuinely enjoy the more substantial taste and texture they provide.

Upon first hearing about Fiber Gourmet (a lower-calorie, higher-fiber pasta), I was skeptical.

I was fully prepared to see "isolated soy protein" among the ingredient list.

Color me surprised. No wheat alternatives, no sugar alcohols.

The whole wheat noodles are made of whole wheat flour, modified wheat starch, and wheat gluten.

The standard Fiber Gourmet noodles are comprised of durum semolina flour, modified wheat starch, and wheat gluten.

Niacin, iron, thamine, riboflavin, and folic acid are added as they normally are to non-whole grain products.

A look at the nutrition facts reveals that two ounces of uncooked Fiber Gourmet noodles -- which yield one cup when cooked -- provide:

130 calories
1 gram fat

120 milligrams sodium

20 grams fiber

7 grams protein

Not only are we talking very high fiber, we are also talking lower-calorie (a standard cup of egg noodles provides 210 calories).


The back of the bag briefly explains Fiber Gourmet's process:

"Through our patent-pending technology, we are able to add high amounts of dietary fiber, while keeping the same taste and texture of standard pasta."

My hat goes off to the folks at Fiber Gourmet -- their products passed several taste tests.

I figured I should not be the only evaluator, since my interest in, and passion for, nutrition and healthy foods might mentally program me to automatically give high marks to a high-fiber product.

So, I turned to more conventional palates in my social circle. Every single one approved.

Since this is a product very high in fiber, I would not recommend eating two cups in one sitting, particularly if your diet is normally low in fiber.

As great as fiber is, the "too much of a good thing" concept applies.

Apart from gastrointestinal discomfort (particularly, again, if intake suddenly increases), an overload of fiber interferes with the uptake of certain minerals, including calcium and iron.

This is best consumed as a side dish (think no more than one cup when cooked) to accompany a meal. A half cup, for instance, packs in 10 grams of fiber in a mere 60 calorie package.

Alternatively, when making a large batch of conventional pasta, you can throw in some Fiber Gourmet noodles to up the fiber content in a pinch.

Interested? Head over to the company's site to place an order. It's definitely a Small Bites approved purchase.

You can also stop by their blog to catch up on product development and sales updates and read answers to consumers' questions.

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