Pasta may get a bad rap when it comes to weight loss, but that’s because it’s so misunderstood. Studies show that this Mediterranean staple can help you lose weight…and much more.
Here are five reasons why pasta is a perfectly healthy addition to your plate:
Pasta is nutrient-rich.
Pasta is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, the body’s primary fuel for energy, and is an important part of a healthy diet. That’s why, according to the USDA, carbohydrates like pasta should provide about 45% to 65% of your daily calories.
Some of the essential nutrients in pasta include iron, folic acid and other B vitamins. Plus, it’s the perfect foundation for other nutrient-packed foods, such as fiber-filled vegetables and beans, heart healthy fish and monounsaturated oils, antioxidant-rich tomato sauce, poultry and lean meats.
Pasta won’t make you fat!
Despite the lingering notion that carbs, and pasta in particular, will make you gain weight, data show that you can stay svelte and enjoy pasta. One cup of cooked pasta contains about 200 calories, in addition to valuable vitamins and minerals. It also fills you up so you don’t feel hungry while trying to lose weight.
What’s more, in Italy, where bread is a staple of the region, and traditional semolina pasta is the primary source of carbs, obesity rates are among the lowest in Europe. And a 2016 study found that pasta consumption was associated with a lower body mass index (BMI).
Pasta gives you energy.
Complex carbohydrates like pasta are broken down to glucose, the crucial fuel for your brain and muscles. Unlike simple sugars that offer a quick, yet fleeting boost of energy, pasta’s complex carbohydrates provide a slow and steady release of energy.
Pasta can be gluten free.
Traditional pasta is made from durum semolina wheat or whole wheat, both of which contain gluten. Now there are delicious, gluten-free options available, often made from brown or white rice, corn, quinoa or buckwheat. For instance, Barilla Gluten Free Pasta comes in a variety of shapes, including Oven Ready Gluten Free Lasagne, all of which is certified Gluten Free and made with non-GMO ingredients.
Pasta is planet-friendly!
Traditional pasta is a simple, plant-based food that has only 4 ingredients – semolina flour, eggs, salt and water and is one of the least energy intensive foods to produce. Compared to animal-based foods, it has a significantly lower carbon footprint. What’s more, enjoying traditional Mediterranean diet meals can make your overall diet more plant-based and planet-friendly. Pasta also discourages food waste by helping to turn your leftover veggies into a delicious meal.