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What are "Protected Carbs"?

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  • What are "Protected Carbs"?

    Recently I went to our local Low Carb store to buy more LC Pasta. The brand that I typically buy was no longer available so I went with a box of Dreamfields Pasta that the clerk claimed was the best tasting LC pasta they sell. At first I believed the packaging that there are only 8 g of digestable carbs per serving but in looking at the nutritional facts on the back (should have read that first) discovered the following:
    Carbohydrates 62g
    Fiber 7g
    Sugar Alcohols 2g

    Then on the side panel it breaks it down like this:
    Carbohydrates 62g
    Dietary Fiber -7g
    Protected Carbs -47g
    =Digestable Carbs 8g

    They say that Dreafields unique fiber and protein blend protects carbs from digestion as demonstrated in clinical testing.

    What is the real story here?

  • #2
    Re: What are "Protected Carbs"?

    Diggins, the 'real story' is that Dreamfields, because of their 'proprietary blend' is very close-mouthed about what exactly is in their pasta. Eating it raises some people's blood glucose, just as eating regular pasta would. Others aren't affected.

    For my money, when I get a pasta itch, I eat much smaller servings of either whole wheat or lentil based pastas, which are about 10g ECC per half-cup serving, or I make my own ricotta spinach gnocchi (only enough flour to hold them together) or 'fettucini' made from thinly sliced egg crepes, or I eat spaghetti squash. I know pasta is a big deal for a lot of people, but IMO Dreamfields is preying on the 'big deal' that Americans have made of pasta. Italians actually eat MUCH smaller portions of the real thing than we do.

    Where Dreamfields is concerned, YMMV.


    • #3
      Re: What are "Protected Carbs"?

      Diggins, I don't use Lc products but I am really curious to know the answer as well. I would guess something about the digestibility or something similar, what are the ingredients in the pasta?


      • #4
        Re: What are "Protected Carbs"?

        we've used Dreamfields recently as a side dish - for instance, I make grilled chicken and then bake with marinara & cheese - and as a side dish I make 2 oz (total) of Dreamfields which I sauce with 1/2C marinara - and then split that portion for two of us.

        Billie - when you read the Dreamfields ingredients, it reads like regular pasta - no hints in the ingredient list or nutrient breakdown that it is anything other than regular pasta.

        When you read articles at the Dreamfields website and other low-carb sites around the web - they say that they make the pasta in such a ways as the carbs are protected from digestion - and so you don't get BS rise (or calories I would think) - so they tout their digestible carb counts.


        • #5
          Re: What are "Protected Carbs"?

          So all hooey then Lisa on the Dreamfield!


          • #6
            Re: What are "Protected Carbs"?

            Originally posted by LisaS
            When you read articles at the Dreamfields website and other low-carb sites around the web - they say that they make the pasta in such a ways as the carbs are protected from digestion - and so you don't get BS rise (or calories I would think) - so they tout their digestible carb counts.
            Unfortunately, although Dreamfields says the carbs are 'protected' from digestion, so eating them doesn't result in a blood sugar rise, low carb support boards are also full of stories of people who eat it, test their blood sugar, and find it elevated.

            Protecting carbs from digestion...why would anyone want to do that? IMO, that's right up there with carb blocker pills. I know people don't like to 'give up' items they are used to eating, but IMO the whole point of low carb eating is to learn better eating habits...not create things that are indigestible, so that we can still 'enjoy' the food items that created the unhealthy eating habits and health issues in the first place. Why not enjoy more appropriate servings sizes of something as an occasional treat, rather than continue the bad eating habit with a substitution that might have suspect ingredients or a hazy manufacturing process cloaked under 'proprietary information?'

            This is what the manufacturer says about their 'protected carb' process (from the FAQs on their website at

            "Protected carbohydrates or "resistant starch": These are carbohydrates that resist being digested particularly in the small intestine. When they cannot be digested in the small intestine, they pass to the colon where they perform as dietary fiber. They may occur naturally, be created by chemically modifying carbohydrates prior to ingestion or achieve resistance through properly formulated foods being processed by the body. Resistant starches occur naturally at various levels in many foods, like cooked and cooled potatoes, unmilled grains, seeds, legumes, bananas, and high amylase starches. Most resistant starches are produced by concentrating naturally resistant starches and/or by chemically modifying carbohydrates in order to produce a starch with low digestibility. Dreamfields creates protected carbohydrates without chemical modification by utilizing combinations of standard food ingredients to "protect" digestible carbohydrates from being broken down by digestive enzymes. Carbohydrates resistant to digestion have been shown in scientific study to help control blood sugar, blood cholesterol and blood triglyceride levels, normalize insulin levels, and help improve the health of the colon lining, thus reducing the potential for ulcers and inflammatory diseases of the large intestine."

            Here are some other takes on Dreamfields pasta. The first link is an interview with the inventor of the 'protected carb' process, and an update from a user of the pasta who notes that cooking the pasta in any type of acid-containing sauce like a marinara appears to cause the carbs in the pasta to become more digestible and worsen blood glucose spikes. In the end, everyone needs to judge for themselves, but it's important to have as much information as possible...and you won't always find that on either the box or the label.

            Interview with one of the inventors of Dreamfields Pasta:

            Here is the nutritional information from a box of Dreamfields Rotini, provided by the manufacturer on their website.

            Scroll down for the ingredient list on the right. It contains: Enriched Semolina [Semolina, Iron (Ferrous Sulfate), and B Vitamins (Niacin, Thiamine, Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid)], Fiber Blend (Inulin, Xanthan Gum, Pectin), Sorbitol, Wheat Gluten, Potassium Chloride.

            I've made pasta from scratch, and I've got a few boxes of white, whole wheat and lentil flour pastas in my pantry. None of them contain artificial sweeteners (sorbitol), fiber not provided by the ingredients (inulin), or thickeners/gelling agents (pectin, xanthan gum). While this may be advanced food technology, it's taken several steps away from the basic ingredients with which pasta is traditionally made--semolina flour, eggs, salt, water and sometimes cheese or vegetables.

            Again, everyone needs to make his/her own choices...YMMV.
            Last edited by Gaelen; 04-02-2006, 08:03 AM.


            • #7
              Re: What are "Protected Carbs"?

              Wow, you guys really do your homework. I think I will dispense with my Dreamfields by mixing it into my family's pasta (they won't likely figure it out). I don't want to chance what the outcome of using it on a regular basis may do.

              Gaelen, you mentioned some other pastas that you have, what are the brand names of some of them? Are they suitable for Phase 1? Low Carb products are harder to come by in Canada than it seems they are in the USA but it is a lot better than it was a few years ago the first time I did PP. Spaghetti is a staple around here and is usually cooked weekly. Until now I have had a very low carb brand of pasta (that tasted not great but was better than spaghetti squash), it is no longer availabe in the town I live in.

              Thanks for all of your help!

              Last edited by diggins; 04-02-2006, 11:17 AM.


              • #8
                Re: What are "Protected Carbs"?

                Diggins, since Dreamfields has been tapdancing around your questions for awhile, we've all had a little while to do the 'homework.'

                Regular pasta (white pasta) is around 42-43g ECC. Most wholewheat pastas (Hodgson Mill, DeCecco, etc.) are 32-33g ECC, and they have more protein than white pasta. Barilla Plus, a modified whole wheat pasta that mixes in a little white semolina to 'look' more like white pasta, is also a little more carby at 38g ECC. Lentil pasta, like whole wheat pasta, is around 33g ECC, but it's higher protein at 13-14g per serving.

                The thing is, it's the serving size that will kill you. If you can cut your serving size down to around 1/2 ounce, or a bit more than 1/2 to just under 2/3rd cup cooked, and fill the rest of your plate with veggies and protein, you can get a reasonable pasta fix without going overboard. On your 'spaghetti nights,' you just need to fill more of your plate with the green salad and the meatballs.

                With whole wheat and lentil pastas, I like to buy small shapes like shells, orzo or small elbows, or angel hair (NOT spaghetti). Then I weigh out one-half ounce, which is one-quarter the serving size on the box. That takes the ECC per serving to 8g, and if I mix in vegetables and lots of protein, I'm satisfying my pasta craving with just a taste without risk of going overboard (just cook the 1/2 oz. serving if pasta is a big temptation.) People don't always have a lot of experience with whole wheat or lentil pastas, but I've been eating them since my granola-vegetarian days (if you can find spinach whole wheat linguine or rotini, try it!) Hodgson Mill and DeCecco whole wheat pastas should be available in most grocery stores.
                Here's information about Hodgson Mill:
                Here's information about De Cecco (you have to get pretty far into the website to see the nutrient info for their whole wheat offerings):

                Papadini lentil pasta might be available in your local health food stores, or in the gluten-free, wheat-free areas of your regular supermarket. As near as I can tell, they don't have their own website, but you can see what it looks like here and if you can't find it locally, you can also order from this site:

                Also, with Passover approaching fast, be on the lookout for Manischewitz Reduced Carb egg noodles. I got some last year around this time, and wish I'd stocked up with a few more bags...they were around 20g ECC for the typical 2 oz. serving, so they allowed a somewhat larger portion size (1 oz.) in the 10g ECC range. And they taste terrific, with no artifical ingredients or anything that you wouldn't typically find in an egg noodle.

                You may also want to try making your own. Here is the link to my recipe for ricotta-spinach gnocchi. You can make the whole recipe up in advance. 'Set' the gnocchi in the oven, and freeze in a single layer on a cookie sheet; then transfer the gnocchi to a freezer storage bag or container. On spaghetti night, you can pull out your own pasta.
                my recipe:
                the recipe that inspired it (note the nutritional info at the bottom of the page!):



                • #9
                  Re: What are "Protected Carbs"?

                  Miniscule (1/2 oz) servings of Dreamfields raise my BG just like regular pasta & cause huge cravings for more starch, so my first package was my last. I now use raw green cabbage in pasta recipes; you can cut long wide strips like lasagna, fine spagetti strips or anything in between. Best of all, you do not need to precook it in a separate pot, you just throw it in at the beginning for lasagna or near the end for thinner strips.


                  • #10
                    Re: What are "Protected Carbs"?

                    Thanks all. I had some leftover spaghetti sauce tonight and decided to have it on some zucchini. It was actually quite good so I think I will avoid the substitute pasta for a while.



                    • #11
                      Re: What are "Protected Carbs"?

                      The Eades have a recipe for pasta in their Comfort Foods cookbook. I haven't tried them yet as I still have several boxes of Atkins low carb pasta on hand, but when I run out I'll probably go to the trouble of making my own.

                      Here's a copy from their Cookworx site:

                      Supreme Pasta*

                      • 1 tablespoon oil
                      • 1 teaspoon salt
                      • 1/3 cup vital wheat gluten
                      • ˝ cup whey protein powder
                      • ˝ cup whole wheat flour
                      • 4 egg yolks
                      • 5 tablespoons cold water (divided use)

                      1. In a small mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the vital wheat gluten, whey protein powder, and wheat flour.
                      2. In a separate small bowl, beat the egg yolks with 4 tablespoons of the water until smooth.
                      3. Pour the egg mixture over the flour mixture and stir with a fork. If necessary, gingerly add as much as another tablespoon of water bit by bit until you can gather up all the loose crumbs. (If, by chance, the dough is too soft and wet, add whey protein powder a teaspoon at a time to dry it out.) Take over by hand and knead the dough until it is firm; it should still be rather dry, but not crumbly.
                      4. Divide the dough ball roughly into quarters and then cut each quarter in half to make 8 pieces of dough.
                      5. Process the dough in a pasta machine, following manufacturer's directions, to make the desired shape—lasagna, fettuccine, or spaghetti noodles—to use with your favorite sauces or pasta recipes.

                      You may cook the pasta fresh or air-dry it on pasta racks to save. Fully dried pasta should be enclosed in a zip-freezer bag or airtight container and stored in the freezer until ready to use. Allow it to come to room temperature before cooking.

                      *Adapted from The Low Carb Comfort Foods Cookbook, Eades/Solom, Wiley, 2003.

                      Nutritional Facts: 10.2 total carbs 4.5 fiber 5.7 net carbs 288 calories 13.8 protein

                      BC here again -- If you don't have a pasta machine (I don't), roll the dough out between two sheets of plastic wrap and cut in thin strips with a knife. When I used to make pasta, I air dried mine by hanging on a dowel. It's a lot of work, but only has to be done once a month to get one or two servings a week.
                      Last edited by Gabriel Guzman; 04-03-2006, 09:07 AM. Reason: ubb code correction


                      • #12
                        Re: What are "Protected Carbs"?

                        Hi listmates. Reading up on everything here :-) It appears I have a wheat intolerance.. so do folks know if cooking with rice flour and soy flour is acceptable on PP plan? Can't seem to find info. Pls let me know if there's a forum on this topic! Thanks!


                        • #13
                          Re: What are "Protected Carbs"?

                          You can ask questions anywhere and there is no special forum but you might want to try the medical forum, other questions, for intolerances and allergies.

                          On PP you can eat anything you want, as long as you count the carbs, there is no problem. Some things work better for some people and others can't tolerate.

                          We have ricotta pancakes almost every weekend and we make them from oat flour, this weekend Gabe made scones out of oat flour--it just depends what you can tolerate and works for you!

                          Welcome by the way to this marvelous group of friends and here's to getting health!


                          • #14
                            Re: What are "Protected Carbs"?

                            Hello, Chewie. Welcome. There's no reason why you can't eat rice or soy flour on PP as long as you count the carbs. If you're following a more paleolithic, or "purist" approach, then you wouldn't eat grains or legumes, which would rule out rice, soy, and wheat, but it's entirely your choice.


                            • #15
                              Re: What are "Protected Carbs"?

                              Wow! Thanks for all the great information, Gaelen! I'm the type of person who weighs myself constantly (until my scale broke a couple of weeks ago) and I've noticed that everytime I eat Dreamfields I bloat five pounds. It goes away in a day or so and I'm not sure what the process is that causes me to retain the water, but I'm sure it has something to do with too much insulin and so can't be good. I mostly use Dreamfields for my non-low-carbing family and just have a tiny portion myself -- although even a tiny portion causes the water retention.