Back in 2016, Italian scientists published a groundbreaking analysis that changed the modern perception of pasta. According to the study, those low-carb, protein-rich, and paleo-inspired diets are not that healthy. Therefore, pasta might not be so bad after all.
Let’s Talk About Nutrients & Pasta
Pasta is rich in complex carbohydrates and protein, but it’s also low in fat. However, there are different types of pasta, and numbers can differ. There are some types of pasta that provide empty carbs, which means that they offer very little nutritional value alongside the calories.
Since pasta contains gluten (the same protein responsible for giving bread dough its elasticity), people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance may be allergic to wheat products, which includes wheat pasta.
Around 2015, gluten-free diets became popular worldwide. Nearly 100 million Americans say they ate gluten-free products in 2015, spending over $4 billion on gluten-free products without any medical reason. There was a misconception that pasta is a fattening food, but this is not the case.
Since 1998, all refined grain products in the United States have been fortified with folic acid. What does that mean? Let’s give a pasta example…
1 cup of cooked pasta contains about 100 micrograms of folic acid, which is 25% of the recommended daily intake. Folic acid is used to fortify foods, as well as in supplements, and a study shows that it’s better absorbed by the body than the vitamin naturally found in foods.
Back to the Italian Study
Over 20,000 respondents from all over Italy helped to collect some critical nutritional data. The researchers found pasta consumption to be “significantly and negatively” associated with body mass index (BMI), waist and hip circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio. Remember, this data is collected in Italy, where they don’t have the same folic acid regulation. And even without the folic acid benefits, the results clearly state that pasta is indeed right for you. The pasta enthusiasts were less likely to be overweight, according to the study.
Of course, don’t consider pasta to be a magical food that will help you lose weight. But it won’t make you gain weight as well.
Pro tip: Adding vegetables (both chopped or pureed will work) to your pasta sauce is an easy way to increase your consumption of fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals.