Comfort Food, Weight Gain, and Biomechanical Pasta!

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With all the millions of delicious recipes out there and yummy comfort foods, it is so easy to carry around a few extra pounds, especially during the rainy season in the low country. The bad news is that the extra poundage can exacerbate or lead to painful medical conditions. The extra lbs will cause one to walk with what’s called a wide based gait. Those with “more to love” are at a greater risk to develop a damaging medical condition called pronation. This is where one has a tendency to walk on the inner border of the foot. Pronation can exacerbate adult acquired flatfoot by causing the stretching of tendons and ligaments of the foot, which help support the arch. This can lead to heel spurs and plantar fasciitis (pain at the bottom of the heel that may radiate into the arch). Excessive pronation is counteracted by abnormal knee rotation. This increases the load placed on each knee when we walk. In turn, this can lead to faster wear and tear on the joints causing the painful condition known as osteoarthritis (a damaged and/or inflamed joint).

There are so many comfort food recipes that call for pasta; ie macaroni and various noodles. These carbohydrate rich foodstuffs play a role in our hatred for bathing suits by raising our glycemic index. We all have a basic knowledge of nutrition that tells us that we really only should consume about a ½ cup of pasta when eating a meal. Really? Does this always happen? I’m going to be honest here; I’m guilty of breaking this nutrition rule!

I’m going to talk about some lower carb pasta options here…. Shirataki noodles are made from a Japanese yam instead of wheat or rice and they have zero (or close to zero) calories. They work very well in Asian noodle dishes. For those who wish to stay close to the traditional fare, Dreamfields is a brand that carries a variety of pastas such as elbow macaroni, rotini, spaghetti, linguini, etc…. Dreamfields has a 65% lower glycemic index and contains over twice the fiber of regular pasta. And hungry people make bad dieters! Combined with a healthy diet and exercise plan, both these pasta options can be an effective way to help manage weight. In a recent article written by the Snow Biomechanics Laboratory at Wake Forest University, it was concluded that for every 1 pound of weight loss, there is a 4-pound reduction in knee-joint load per step. Therefore, these types of pasta may play a role in reducing the risk for osteoarthritis. Hence biomechanical pasta!

Pho is a great Asian comfort soup. Here is a recipe for us to put these noodles and our muffin tops into motion! This is vegetarian friendly but meat lovers can make some modifications.

2 7oz packages of Shirataki Noodles (found at publix in the refridgerated organic section)

2 cups of Vegetable Stock

1 Tbs Hoisin Sauce

1 Tbs Sriracha sauce

Fresh copped cilantro

Sliced Onions (optional)

Drain and rinse the noodles in hot water. Put all the ingredients in a pot and bring just to a boil. Add more fresh cilantro.




Felson DT. The epidemiology of knee osteoarthritis: results from

the Framingham Osteoarthritis Study. Semin Arthritis Rheum


Messier SP, Davies AB, Moore DT, Davis SE, Pack RJ, Kazmar

SC. Severe obesity: effects on foot mechanics during walking. Foot

Ankle Int 1994;15:29–34.

Messier SP, Gtekunst DJ, Davis C, Devita P. Weight Loss Reduces Knee Joint Loads in Overweight and Obese Older Adults With Knee Osteoarthritis. Semin Arthritis Rheum 2005;52:2026-32.


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