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> Yet Another Product....hmmm..., Dakota Growers Roll Out Low-Carb Pasta
post May 1 2004, 09:37 AM
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Dakota Growers Roll Out Low-Carb Pasta
Fri Apr 30, 9:00 PM ET
By DALE WETZEL, Associated Press Writer

BISMARCK, N.D. - Trying to buck an anti-carbohydrate trend that has hammered pasta sales, a North Dakota company is unveiling a new brand of pasta it hopes will appeal to dieters who have been shunning noodles and spaghetti.

The Dakota Growers Pasta Co. product, called Dreamfields, is joining an assortment of new, reduced-carbohydrate offerings on the nation's grocery shelves. Dreamfields' developers say its flavor is virtually indistinguishable from regular pasta.

It is made mostly from semolina, a granular flour that is used to make conventional pasta, with a patented fiber blend added to block digestion of most of the product's carbohydrates.

"We think we have an edge, because along with being low-carb, it is authentic pasta. This is the real deal," said Jack Hasper, Dakota Growers' vice president for marketing.

Dakota Growers is part of a group of four businesses, which formed a separate company to develop and market the pasta. It got its formal introduction Thursday at a news conference at Tavern on the Green, a restaurant in New York City's Central Park.

It includes spaghetti, elbows, penne rigate and linguine shapes, and will be sold through grocery stores, discount outlets and Dreamfields' Web site. A one-pound box will sell from $2.39 to $2.69, compared to 79 to 99 cents a pound for regular pasta, Hasper said.

Dreamfields is advertised as having only 5 grams of digestible carbohydrates for each 2-ounce serving. Dakota Growers' regular product has about 42 grams.

Jon Anfinsen, a biochemist and one of the project's business partners, says Dreamfields' fiber blend blocks digestion of most carbohydrates, causing the colon to treat them as dietary fiber.

In human tests, the product did not have a laxative effect, Anfinsen said. Blood sugar testing confirmed the pasta's low levels of digestible carbohydrates, said Dr. John Abernethy, owner of a medical clinic in Gainesville, Fla., where testing has been conducted for six months.

"We've done hundreds of test meals with several dozen subjects," Abernethy said.

The Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites) currently does not regulate claims about foods' carbohydrate content. The agency is considering three requests to define the meaning of some terms, including low- and reduced-carbohydrate, a spokeswoman said. The petitions were brought by ConAgra Foods Inc., Kraft Foods Inc. and the Grocery Manufacturers of America.

Tim Dodd, Dakota Growers' president, said Dreamfields initially should appeal to two large customer groups ? dieters who favor low-carbohydrate meals, and people with diabetes. Starchy foods can cause a diabetic's blood sugar levels to rise quickly.

Rick Mendosa, an Aptos, Calif., writer who maintains a Web site with a comprehensive trove of diabetes information, tried the Dreamfields pasta recently over several days.

It caused minimal increases in his blood-sugar levels, said Mendosa, who posted test results on his site, http://www.mendosa.com.

"Some people have weaned themselves off pasta because it is so high in carbs generally, but I think there will be a big market, a huge market in this for people with diabetes," Mendosa said in an interview.

He has heard from other diabetics who experienced big jumps in their blood-sugar levels after eating Dreamfields, but that may have happened because they were extremely resistant to insulin, Medosa said. Insulin regulates how the body uses blood sugar, which is extracted from carbohydrates.

Laurie Kuntz, chief executive officer of LowCarbiz, a Denver-based newsletter, magazine and Web site that tracks low-carbohydrate products, said the lack of scientific information about Dreamfields so far has bred skepticism about its benefits.

"I know that in the diabetic world, there are a number of people who have been showing insulin spikes, so they're not believing what they are reading on the label," she said.

Anfinsen said he had expected some disbelief. The pasta brand's Web site will feature extensive research information on the product for consumers to examine, he said.

"What we have here is something that is very good. It is good for the health of the population," he said.

The number of low-carbohydrate foods has mushroomed in recent months. Kuntz estimates there are 1,300 products that advertise themselves as low-carb, and the number is rising.

"There are chips, salad dressings, hot cereals, bars, pasta, pancake mix, cereals, ketchup, jellies, ice cream. You name it," she said.


On the Net:

Dreamfields: http://www.dreamfieldsfoods.com

LowCarbiz: http://www.lowcarbiz.com

This post has been edited by Kate: May 1 2004, 09:38 AM
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post May 3 2004, 05:01 PM
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Wonder if it'll be available in this area? (I live in the Berkeley of the East, Montgomery County MD). I do not like the low-carb pasta--heavy and somewhat gritty. (IMG:http://www.sugarbustersforum.com/forum/style_emoticons/default/sad.gif) Haven't tried low-carb Muellers.
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post May 6 2004, 03:13 PM
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So what else is new? have been buying Pasta made from Spelt Flour, Whole Wheat flour and from Brown Rice flour for the past year at Whole Foods. Note: The Brown Rice and Whole Wheat flour tend to get a bit sticky when reheated.

Also, remember to practice portion control with these pastas.

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