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Scientists have investigated the changing properties of food items, and have noted that cooking, cooling, and then reheating pasta makes it less fattening.

Dr Denise Robertson, from the University of Surrey, explains that cooking and cooling pasta causes your body to treat the food like fibre – meaning that there is a smaller glucose peak and so you absorb fewer calories.

Of interest to biochemistry applicants is the process by which heating and cooling changes the composition of food when it is ingested and eaten by us. Cooking pasta, or starches more generally, followed by cooling causes the structure of starches to change into ‘resistance starch’, aptly named because it becomes resistant to the normal enzymes in our stomach that break down the carbohydrates to produce glucose.

What scientists discovered that was surprising, however, was that reheating following this cooling effect had an even more dramatic change – reducing the rise in blood glucose by 50%. Dr Chris van Tulleken, who created the experiment, noted that “in other words our leftovers could be healthier for us than the original meal.”

Medicine applicants will note the relevance of such a study to diabetes management and care, given that a carbohydrate heavy meal can be converted into a healthier, fibre-loaded meal simply through adjusting the temperature.

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