Categories: Foods

Is pasta healthy? study details

Published by

Is pasta healthy? Like other processed carbohydrates—including most cereals, pieces of bread, and baked goods—pasta has long been considered a problem food when it comes to packing on pounds.

In fact, in recent decades pasta has even been blamed for contributing to the obesity epidemic, even though it has been a staple in countries like Italy for hundreds of years.Is pasta healthy? study details


If you are a pasta lover, then you are probably wondering: is pasta healthy, or is pasta bad for you? A recent meta-analysis attempted to answer this very question.

And the findings of the analysis have been surprising to many people, especially those who have had great success following low-carb diets, such as the paleo diet or the ketogenic diet.

Is pasta healthy? study details

A 2018 systematic review investigating the effects of eating pasta is taking the health and diet industry by storm. The meta-analysis published in the journal BMJ included findings from 29 randomized controlled trials containing around 2,500 participants.

The goal of the analysis? To determine how the inclusion of pasta in a low glycemic index diet affects body weight and markers of adiposity (a condition of severe overweight or obesity) in adults.

So what does the pasta study say – is pasta good for weight loss? Is pasta healthy? Or is it contributing to rising rates of overweight/obesity? Many studies included in the review point to a relationship between pasta consumption and weight loss.

Researchers measured study participants’ body weight, BMI, body fat, and waist measurements to determine whether or not eating pasta contributed to changes in weight and body fat.


In the end, the researchers concluded that “pasta in the context of low-GI dietary patterns significantly reduced body weight and BMI compared to high-GI dietary patterns.” There was no effect on other measures of adiposity.” The average duration of the studies included in the review was 12 weeks.

The analysis showed that pasta in the context of a low GI diet had the effect of reducing body weight by an average of 0.26 to 0.63 kg (or 0.5 to 1.38 lbs.) compared to high GI control diets. This may not seem like much weight loss, but it also shows that eating pasta as part of a low-glycemic diet doesn’t cause weight gain either.

How can this be? The key here is that pasta can help with weight loss and maintenance in the context of low GI dietary patterns. Pasta intake has been associated with better adherence to the Mediterranean diet, a dietary pattern that has shown metabolic and cardiovascular benefits.

As we’ll see later, the study participants who lost weight eating pasta actually ate pasta as part of an overall healthy, low-glycemic diet. In other words, they may have eaten pasta regularly — on average just over three 1/2-cup servings each week — but still limited the total amount of processed carbohydrates and added sugar consumed.

This suggests that the study participants were able to lose or maintain weight by balancing their total nutrient intake. I’ll share more tips on how to do this below.

How pasta can be part of a healthy diet

It appears that pasta can be healthy when eaten in moderate amounts and when eaten with other healthy foods. But of course, the opposite is also likely to be true: Eating a lot of pasta and not a lot of other low-calorie, nutrient-dense foods won’t benefit your waistline or your health.

Is pasta healthy? It comes down to more than just pasta. The pasta itself is not necessarily fattening. A serving of cooked pasta (about one cup) has approximately: 210 calories, one gram of fat, 43 grams of carbohydrates, three grams of fiber, and six grams of protein.

If your diet includes a lot of unprocessed foods — especially fresh, nutrient-dense vegetables — then eating a serving of pasta several times a week may not be a deal-breaker. On the other hand, it’s easy to eat two or three servings of pasta at once if you’re not careful, especially since restaurants tend to serve this amount (or even more).


Low glycemic index (GI) foods are shown at:

•Help you feel full faster

•delay hunger

•Decrease subsequent caloric intake

•Offer some protection against obesity

Pasta has been found to have a similar GI to many high-fiber carbohydrates, such as barley, legumes, and steel-cut oats. Pasta also has a lower GI compared to some high-fiber foods, such as whole-grain bread, breakfast cereals like bran flakes, and potatoes the skin.

For comparison, according to the Harvard Medical School glycemic index table, regular spaghetti has a glycemic index of 49, while the glycemic index of a white potato is 78. The GI score of white rice it’s 73.

The study also found that white wheat pasta has a higher micronutrient content compared to other white wheat products such as bread, as it contains an aleurone layer, which is preserved as a result of using harder types of wheat ( like durum wheat).


The pasta maintains a lower glycemic response mainly due to the processing techniques used in the preparation of the pasta, which gives it a compact structure and reduces the absorption of starch.

Pasta has also been a traditional part of the Mediterranean Diet, which has been shown to help prevent the development of cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, depression, colorectal cancer, diabetes, obesity, asthma, erectile dysfunction, and cognitive decline.

How pasta could be fattening and bad for digestion

Is pasta healthy? It depends on what you eat with it and how your digestion works. The fact that lots of pasta add a lot of calories and processed carbohydrates to your diet isn’t the only problem.

Another problem? Pasta is a concentrated source of gluten, a hard-to-digest type of protein found in grains like wheat, rye, and barley. Gluten is found not only in pasta, but also in all other products that contain wheat flour, including bread, wrappers, cereals, cookies, cakes, and some tortillas.

What’s wrong with eating gluten? Gluten-containing grains contain oligosaccharides, a type of short-chain carbohydrate that is easily fermentable in the intestine, which can lead to several digestive problems.

Depending on the person, gluten can contribute to intestinal permeability (also known as leaky gut), reduced nutrient absorption, cause autoimmune responses, deplete energy, and increase cravings.

Gluten occurs naturally in wheat/wheat flour – it’s what gives many baked goods their pleasing texture and mouthfeel. Additionally, it is added to many other foods to modify the stability and structure of products, such as marinades, salad dressings, condiments, and deli meats.

I recommend a gluten-free diet for most people because cutting out gluten seems to offer several benefits. These include:


•Maintain higher energy levels

•Less inflammation

•Better control of cravings

•Relieve digestive symptoms such as gas, bloating, diarrhea, or others related to IBS

Although many people find it difficult to digest gluten properly, it is also true that others have no problem eating gluten. Gluten intolerance/sensitivity occurs on a spectrum, so you may have difficulty digesting it, some sort of difficulty, or no problem at all.

It depends on a lot of factors, including genetics, gut health, medical history, stress levels, and overall diet.

All that said, is pasta really bad for you? Is pasta healthy? Maybe yes, or maybe not. I don’t recommend that people go out of their way to eat pasta, and in fact, I usually recommend avoiding it.

However, whether or not you should eat pasta depends on your response to eating wheat, your weight loss goals, your ability to control your portion size, and of course your overall diet (with what other foods you eat).


The key? The glycemic index

The researchers involved in the pasta study believe that pasta may not contribute to weight gain, and may support weight loss when included in an overall low-glycemic diet. What exactly is the glycemic index?

The glycemic index is a system used to rank how quickly glucose/sugar from food affects blood sugar levels. Processed carbohydrates and those that contain a lot of sugar are often high-glycemic foods.

Examples of high GI foods include:


•most juices

•most of the cereals

•White rice

•White bread


•white potatoes




The carbohydrates/sugars in these foods are quickly digested, raising blood sugar levels quickly. But then blood sugar levels plummet rapidly after eating high levels of these gastrointestinal foods, leading some people to a “crash” in energy and cravings for more carbohydrates.

Low GI foods tend to have different effects. They gradually cause blood sugar levels to rise, as the carbohydrates/sugars in these foods are digested more slowly thanks to the beneficial effect of fiber.

Examples of low GI foods include:

•All non-starchy vegetables

•some fruits


•100 percent whole grains like steel-cut oats and quinoa

•beans and lentils

•fats and proteins

•Meats and oil contain no carbohydrates and therefore have a GI score of zero.

The way different foods are combined is very important when it comes to digestion and blood sugar control. Combining low-GI carbs with a healthy source of fat and protein (like olive or coconut oil, eggs, and fish, for example) can help control blood sugar levels, energy, and mood.

In general, a low glycemic diet can be thought of as a slow carbohydrate diet. Many low-carb foods also qualify as low-glycemic foods due to their ability to prevent a strong insulin release and blood sugar fluctuations after eating.

In case you’re confused about glycemic load versus glycemic index scores, here’s what you need to know: Glycemic Load (GL) scores take into account the glycemic score of a particular carbohydrate, but also consider how carbohydrates in food affect blood sugar levels when eaten in average servings and with other foods.

This means that a food’s glycemic load (GL) score may be a better indicator of whether or not food eaten in moderate amounts as part of a full meal is generally healthy.


Tips for eating pasta

Here are 7 tips for eating pasta as part of a low glycemic diet:

1.- Choose whole and sprouted grains

Choose whole grains instead of processed/refined grains.

Eating whole grains is less likely to cause weight gain and has been associated with lower BMI and body fat percentage.

Try a sprouted whole grain pasta, which will contain more fiber and have a lower GI.

In addition to eating pasta, learn about a variety of unprocessed whole grains, such as steel-cut oats, brown rice, wild rice, sprouted grain bread, granola and muesli, and whole-grain pasta.

2.- Watch the portion size

A moderate serving of healthy complex carbohydrates is equal to one-half cup of raw vegetables or one cup of cooked vegetables. Try to have only one cup of cooked pasta at a time.

3.- Prepare Pasta Al Dente

Cook pasta al dente to help lower its GI rating. Al dente pasta is slightly hard or undercooked, or at least not overcooked and soft.

Not overcooking pasta means the carbs will have a less rapid impact on blood sugar.


4.- Add lots of vegetables

Although the aforementioned meta-analysis found that eating pasta didn’t contribute to weight gain, keep in mind that the study participants weren’t eating pasta dishes topped with creamy sauces, lots of cheese, and unprocessed meats.

They were more likely to eat pasta with healthy foods from the Mediterranean Diet, such as olive oil and vegetables and beans.

Try to include vegetables in every meal, including pasta. Look for a variety of types, such as leafy greens, broccoli, spinach, onions, green beans, artichokes, bell peppers, and others.

Adding vegetables to the pasta will allow you to eat a higher volume of food, making you feel fuller, without adding a lot of extra calories.

This is a great way to control portion sizes and avoid overeating.

5.- Combine carbohydrates with healthy fats and proteins

Eat pasta with a healthy source of protein and fat to lower the GL of the meal.

Animal proteins are zero GI foods, containing little or no carbohydrates.

Choose wild-caught fish, such as salmon, farm-raised eggs, grass-fed beef or lamb, raw dairy products (including yogurt, kefir, or raw cheeses), cage-free eggs, and pasture-raised poultry.


Healthy fats and oils have a GI score of zero since they contain no sugar, starch, or carbohydrates.

They do not have a significant impact on blood glucose or insulin levels and can be added to pasta to reduce its gastrointestinal burden.

Add extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, truffle oil, ghee, or grass-fed butter to the paste to add more flavor and make it more satisfying.

6.- Add more fiber for slow digestion

Try to eat more foods that are high in fiber and complex carbohydrates, which consist of long chains of simple sugars. Examples include beans, legumes, many vegetables, nuts, seeds, and 100 percent whole grains.

Vegetables are the best way to increase the fiber content of meals.

Beans and legumes have GL values and can be added to pasta to provide fiber and protein. Ideally, eat them in small amounts (about 1/2 cup at a time) to help with digestion.

Also eat nuts and seeds, which provide fiber and healthy fats. Try chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, and walnuts.

7.- Focus on the general density of nutrients

To further round out your diet and increase your nutrient intake, follow these tips:


Eat fresh fruit when you crave sweets. Some fruits like apples, strawberries, peaches, and others are called “simple carbohydrates” because they contain natural sugar, which is why they are sometimes called GI foods, however, they can still be part of a balanced diet.

Acidic foods seem to help lower the GI of certain foods. Use vinegar-based dressings on pasta salads, try apple cider vinegar washed down with water, have fermented yogurt with cereal, and add a little lemon juice to pasta or vegetables.

Fermented dairy products (full fat) are a good source of probiotics, fat, and protein. Choose plain, unsweetened yogurt, raw whole milk, and traditional cheeses (choose organic, aged, and raw when possible).

Final Thoughts on Pasta: Is Pasta Healthy or Fattening?

Is pasta healthy? A 2018 meta-analysis set out to find the answer and found that adults who ate pasta as part of a low-glycemic diet did not gain weight, but lost a small amount of weight compared to people who ate a low-glycemic diet. high glycemia.

Is pasta good if you are on a diet? Pasta may not contribute to weight gain and may support weight loss when included in an overall low glycemic index (GI) diet. A low GI diet includes plenty of vegetables, healthy fats and protein, and little added sugar and processed grains.

Is pasta healthy? Pasta can keep getting fatter if you eat too much, don’t add filling vegetables and cover it with heavy sauces. Pasta also contains gluten, which can be difficult to digest.

Some tips for making pasta healthier and eating low GI include:

•Whole Grain Choice


•Watch portion sizes

•add vegetables

•Eat pasta with fat and protein

•Eat more fiber

•Focus on the overall nutrient density of your diet.


Sponsored links
Published by

Recent Posts

  • Skin care

Benefits of kiwi for skin

Discover the benefits of kiwi for the skin. The benefits of kiwi for the skin… Read More

1 week ago
  • Articles

7 benefits of kimchi

Discover the 7 benefits of kimchi. Kimchi is the quintessential Korean food. They eat it… Read More

2 weeks ago
  • Tea

15 health benefits of almond leaf tea and side effects

Discover the 15 shocking health benefits of almond leaf tea and side effects. Almond leaf… Read More

2 weeks ago
  • Tea

15 benefits of green tea with honey and side effects

15 health benefits of drinking green tea with honey and side effects. Drinking green tea… Read More

2 weeks ago
  • Tea

15 Benefits of lipton tea and side effects

Discover the 15 shocking health benefits of drinking lipton green tea and side effects. You… Read More

2 weeks ago
  • Weight loss

10 everyday tips to lose weight fast and easily

Today, we are going to show you the 10 everyday tips to lose weight fast… Read More

2 weeks ago