LOS ANGELES, CA – Pasta has long been a convenient and versatile option for mealtime, but its high carbohydrate content has led to concerns about its impact on weight and health. However, recent studies suggest that these concerns may be unwarranted, as pasta may have various health benefits that make it a suitable choice for a balanced diet.
According to the chief clinical dietitian at UCLA Health Center, Erin Morse, the negative reputation surrounding pasta as a fattening food is undeserved. Research published in the Lancet in 2018 projected that individuals who consumed half of their calories from carbohydrates could potentially have a longer lifespan compared to those on low-carb or high-carb diets.
Regular pasta, although made from refined flour, often contains enriched iron and B vitamins, as noted by Dolores Woods, a registered dietitian at UTHealth Houston School of Public Health. In addition, it is a good source of protein, fiber, folate, and iron, all with relatively low calorie content. This protein and fiber content, along with its longer digestion time, can help individuals feel fuller for longer and maintain steadier blood sugar levels, contributing to weight management and overall health.
Adding to the evidence of pasta’s potential benefits, studies have suggested that those who incorporate pasta into a Mediterranean diet may have lower body mass indexes and reduced risk of stroke and heart disease. While more research is needed to further understand these potential benefits, it is clear that pasta can be part of a healthy diet, especially when paired with nutritious ingredients like vegetables and olive oil.
To ensure that pasta is enjoyed as part of a healthy diet, Morse and other experts offer helpful tips, such as measuring portions, avoiding overcooking, adding vegetables for fiber and nutrients, incorporating filling proteins, and choosing low-sodium sauces. By following these guidelines, pasta can continue to be a convenient and healthful option for individuals looking to maintain a balanced diet.
As more research emerges about the potential health benefits of pasta, it is becoming increasingly clear that the negative stigma surrounding its consumption may not be entirely justified. With careful portion control and mindful pairings, pasta can be a valuable and satisfying component of a healthy and balanced diet.