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If you’re a pasta lover, I’ve got good news for you!
Despite the bad rap noodles have gotten for over a decade, new research is revealing that eating pasta can be part of a healthy diet that contributes to a healthier weight.
Here’s the latest on one of America’s favorite foods…
The benefits of eating pasta
Research published in Frontiers in Nutrition analyzed the diets of adults and children who eat pasta compared to people who report skipping it completely. And the results showed that for both adults and kids, eating pasta leads to a better quality of overall diet as well as higher nutrient intakes.
In fact, the researchers found that adult pasta eaters were less likely to fall short in folate, iron, magnesium and dietary fiber compared to non-pasta eaters.
Children who ate pasta got more of the necessary folate, iron, magnesium, dietary fiber and vitamin E they need for good health.
And there’s more good news…
While we’ve been led to believe that eating pasta means lots of unnecessary calories and weight gain, this research found that’s not quite the case…
The team discovered that adult pasta eaters have lower daily intakes of saturated fats and added sugars than their non-pasta eating counterparts. And pasta-loving kids eat less saturated fat and total fats each day than kids who avoid spaghetti.
The research also revealed that people who eat pasta consume no more calories per day than those who avoid it. And for women, eating pasta might actually be beneficial when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight.
That’s because pasta consumption in adult females was associated with:
- Reduced waist circumference
- Lower body weight
- Lower body mass index (BMI)
That’s a lot of benefits packed into a convenient, nutritious, easy-to-prepare meal loved by both young and old, underscoring the nutritional importance of grains, like pasta, as a part of a healthy diet!
Pass the pasta, don’t pass on the pasta
So, if you love pasta, you can now enjoy it guilt-free! But that doesn’t necessarily mean slathering it with thick, creamy Alfredo sauce, which is very high in saturated fats or going crazy on the super cheesy lasagna. Marinara sauce is a better option and if you want to really boost nutrients, a homemade pesto would be your best choice.
As registered dietitian Diane Welland, Director of Nutrition Communications for the National Pasta Association, explains “Pasta can be an effective building block for good nutrition throughout the lifecycle, as it serves as a perfect delivery system for fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish and legumes.”
She recommends thinking of pasta as a canvas to which you can add almost any nutrient-dense, fiber-rich food you and your family like to create memorable and delicious meals.
And don’t forget…
If you want to pack even more nutrients into your pasta-based meals, skip the refined white pasta options and go for a whole grain pasta or one made from lentils, which are packed with fiber.