According to Canadian researchers, pasta is not as detrimental as we think! Using information from 30 trials with almost 2,500 participants, they performed a meta-analysis of the previously collected data. They saw that people who ate one-and-a-half cups of cooked pasta per week lost weight.
In a press release from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, the lead author of the study, Dr. John Sievenpiper, said, “The study found that pasta didn’t contribute to weight gain or increase in body fat. In fact, analysis actually showed a small weight loss. So, contrary to concerns, perhaps pasta can be part of a healthy diet such as a low GI diet.”
The people in the studies had eaten pasta along with low-glycemic index (GI) foods as part of a low GI diet. That doesn’t mean we can rush out to Olive Garden and claim it’s a health food. But, it means that dieting with a low GI plan doesn’t require us to cut out pasta completely!
Pasta has a lower GI than other carb-heavy foods like white rice or bread, so it is absorbed into the bloodstream slower. It doesn’t spike your blood sugar and keeps you full longer. By combining pasta with healthy low GI foods, you can have a great meal — just pass on the cheese and the garlic bread. Likewise, pasta salad with a creamy dressing is likely to be a calorie bomb. But veggies and seafood are a great choice!
As we frequently point out, vilifying a type of food and keeping it off your plate isn’t a great idea. It can lead to binging, guilt for eating even a small portion or cause a lack of balance in your body’s necessary nutrients.
“If your pasta is portioned properly and paired with a nutrient-rich vegetable and a lean protein, it can be a very healthy option,” Heather Mangieri, a registered dietitian who was not part of the research team, told Live Science.
You can read the published study here. We hope this allows you to bring pasta into your diet in a healthy way that allows you to reach your goals. If you don’t feel pasta is right for your diet, check out these recipes for spaghetti squash alternatives.