Can Pasta Really Be Part of a Healthy Diet?

young girl looking at food

Pasta lovers don’t rejoice just yet! There is a catch about the new Italian study claiming that pasta is actually good for you. What is it? Well, the pasta should be consumed in conjunction with a healthy diet, and always in moderation.

Italian researchers from the IRCCS Neuromed Institute found that when eating pasta as part of a healthy Mediterranean diet, it can help you lower your body mass index, waist size and waist-to- hip ratio.

So, how do you eat like a true Italian? KnowMore’s Registered Dietitian Erin Palinski-Wade says, “The Mediterranean diet is a meal plan focused on consuming unsaturated, plant-based fats, large amounts of fruits and vegetables, lean protein such as fish, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. The diet contains less high-fat animal proteins and is rich in whole, plant-based foods.”

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Swap out butter for oils, like canola or olive oil. (Yes, you can still dip your bread in it!) Instead of seasoning food with salt, try herbs and spices to keep the flavors. Aim to eat fish and poultry at least two times per week, but sorry meat lovers, it’s recommended to eat red meat no more than a few times per month! Winos will love this news though: Red wine is acceptable, but always in moderation. And as with every diet you follow, exercising is key.

Portion sizes also play a factor. Don’t load your plate with a heap ton of fettuccine Alfredo. It is common to eat pasta as a side dish, not as the main dish, in the Mediterranean diet. For Palinski-Wade she recommends her clients to, “use the plate method for healthy moderation and portions. Fill 1/2 the plate with produce (vegetables and fruit), one quarter with lean protein, and one quarter with 100% whole grains, such as pasta. If meals are balanced, using pasta as your source of grain/carbohydrate at meals can be part of a healthy meal plan.”

This way of eating doesn’t only benefit your weight and waistline. Studies have also shown that the Mediterranean diet lowers your risk of cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Now, that’s amore!

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About the author

Danielle Fernandez

Danielle is the Co-Executive Editor of KnowMore. She has a passion for writing and creating engaging content and aspires to be a top producer in her field. A proud University of Florida alumni, Danielle is the example of why internships matter. She began her production career as an intern with KnowMore back in 2013, and worked her way up after graduating and joining the team full-time.