Ask Ina: Dreamfields Pasta - Real or a Bad Dream?

Author’s Note:

Upon completion of this article, I discovered that Dreamfields just settled a class-action lawsuit against them for false labeling! “On Tuesday, [April 14, 2014] the pasta-maker agreed to pay $8 million to settle allegations that it falsely advertised its pasta as a low-carb, healthy option that can help diabetics and pre-diabetics stabilize their blood sugar levels,” according to ClassAction.org.

Dreamfields will reimburse consumers $1.99 per box of in-store purchased low-carb pasta products, for up to 15 boxes. For pasta purchased on-line, consumers may submit an unlimited number of reimbursements.

The settlement also requires that Dreamfields remove all their false claims from their packaging: 1) their pasta has a lower glycemic index than traditional pastas, 2) it has only five grams of digestible carbohydrates, 3) it can reduce spikes in blood sugar levels.

Unfortunately (and I do not understand this one), according to ClassAction.org, the settlement “…only requires Dreamfields to remove their false claims for one year following the judgement.” So new consumers in coming years may be reading similar false claims again?

WOW – looks like the one thing Dreamfields got right was their company name!

Consumers – beware, be smarter, be educated.


In my family we all love pasta and could eat it every day! Dreamfields claims that their pasta is healthier than regular pasta as their “unique manufacturing process creates a matrix within the pasta protecting 31 grams of carbs from being digested.” Can you educate me on this?? Also, since we are pasta lovers, what is the healthiest and most calorie-conscious way to go?

Dreamfields’ unique manufacturing process is a marketing fiction.

Unfortunately this false advertising isn’t illegal because, like ALL food advertising, the ONLY place the truth MUST be told, outside of government mandates, is in the “Nutrition Facts” box on the back of a package. All other claims may be bogus or irrelevant to the product being sold, but still used to the manufacturer’s advantage. A good example is when pretzels or guacamole claim to be cholesterol free and therefore stamped a “heart healthy” food. Of course they’re cholesterol free – cholesterol is only present in animal products!

The idea that Dreamfield’s has concocted a proprietary (patent pending for 10 years!?!?) formula that creates non-digestible carbohydrates is completely negated by the FACT that in the Nutrition Fact box, the total calories for a 2 oz. portion of pasta remains 190 calories. This, by the way, is the same range as ALL other pastas, be they whole wheat, rice, semolina, soba, etc. They are all between 190 and 210 calories for 2 oz.

If Dreamfield’s really had created something that couldn’t be digested, its caloric value wouldn’t be digested and therefore “counted”, and the total caloric intake for 2 oz. of Dreamfield’s pasta would be notably below the norm for all pastas. And it isn’t.

The only aspects of food that are not digested by the body, and therefore don’t register as “calories” are insoluble fiber and laboratory created fake sugars and fats (where the molecules are mirror images of the natural forms – your taste buds perceive them as correct, but your body can’t properly absorb them which, by the way, often causes digestive problems).

Dreamfield’s nutritional label states a 2 oz. serving contains: 1 gram of Fat, 7 grams of Protein, and 41 grams of Carbs – 3 of which are Soluble Fiber and 2 of which are Insoluble Fiber. (Soluble Fiber is partially digestible – the rest being healthfully eliminated as “bulk”, so it’s caloric value is less than
4 calories/gram. Now let’s do the math!

Calories from:
Fat = 1g x 9 cals/g = 9 calories
Protein = 7g x 4 cals/g = 28 calories
Since only fats, protein and carbohydrates contain calories, the remaining calories must come from carbohydrates (at 4 calories per gram).
Carbohydrates = The 2 oz. serving of 190 calories, minus the 9 calories of and the 28 calories of protein yield 153 calories from carbohydrates (or 38.25 grams).

This 38 grams matches what their nutritional label states: 41 grams minus the 2 grams of Insoluble Fiber = 39 grams, minus a bit of the Soluble Fiber not fully digested results in the calculated 38 grams.

As a comparison, a box of DeCecco whole wheat spaghetti (200 calories per 2 oz serving) has 1.5 g Fat, 8 g Protein, and 39 g Carbs, of which 5 are Fiber (not broken out between Soluble and Insoluble).
200 minus the fat and protein calories = 154.5 calories of Carbs, the same as Dreamfields’ 153 calories!

Therefore Dreamfields’ claim is all a marketing ploy to make you buy it. Shame on them!

Now, to answer the2nd part of the question:
“Since we are pasta lovers, which is the healthiest and calorie conscious way to go?”

My question to you begins with – healthiest for what reason? Is it simply calories or are you concerned about eating wheat, sugar /carbohydrate digestion, constipation? The one thing I know about pasta is the healthiest way to eat it is “al dente”, which provides slower digestion and breakdown of sugar (carbohydrate) into simple sugar. The uptake of sugar into the bloodstream happens slower, which is important if you are diabetic or pre-diabetic.

Unless you have an overriding medical/health conditions, I say this for ALL forms of pasta products (whether wheat, brown rice, or quinoa): Since they are processed foods, apply The Continuum philosophy of Quality, Quantity & Frequency for guidance.

  1. Quality: In general, quality of food is always a high value for me, and the more whole (and less processed) a food form is, the better. The more often you eat pasta, the more important it is to consider quality. This means whole grain rather than white so you receive the benefit of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
  2. Quantity: I never condone a plate solely of pasta as a “meal”. Where are the vegetables, greens, and protein whether from legume, fish or animal? Create the meal with beans and greens, or a little animal protein and veggies and then add some pasta….rather than the other way around. Grow into the idea that a “pasta” dish for dinner automatically includes a dominance of the things often thought of as the add-ons.
  3. Frequency: Pasta several times a week? Not my recommendation. If more than once a week for your family, I’d say to really keep an eye on #2 Quantity… and be vigilant about upping what it’s eaten with. Hopefully not Italian bread! Remain mindful of what you eat alongside any kind of pasta, so the pasta doesn’t dominate.

Hope you and your family can now enjoy your pasta meals with greater understanding and health.

Have a question about good food? Trying to avoid “not good” food? Ask Ina! Send your questions about healthy eating and good food to Ask Ina.


About Ina Denburg

Ina is a Lifestyle Coach and Wellness Educator who has lived and worked on the path of health and wellness for 30 years. She is passionate about wellness, her practice continuumLiving, is devoted to helping others discover, define and live it for themselves – at home, at work, and in school.

GMO-Free Kitchen – a service Ina provides for individuals or groups. All consumer aspects from understanding to eliminating GMO foods, from cleaning them out of your pantry to shopping and replacing with upgraded food items, to learning how to cook delicious GMO-free meals.

Read more about Ina’s background and experience here.

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