You may often find people asking if pasta is healthy for your body. Just like the majority of the carbohydrates such as bread, cereals, and baked items, pasta is a problematic food item.
In the recent past, pasta has been heavily blamed for causing obesity epidemics. It has been contributing to obesity despite the fact that pasta is a staple food in a lot of areas.
If you are a pasta-lover, you may be wondering, “is pasta healthy or bad for your body?”
To answer this question, let’s take a look at the recent meta-analysis that took place to answer this popular question. The conclusions drawn from this research has surprised a lot of people, especially those who had been successfully following a low-carb diet plan.
Is Pasta Healthy; In the Light of Science
A systemic review that took place in 2018 covered the effects of pasta in humans. This study was published in the Journal BMJ and had incorporated 29 different randomized control trials with a collective strength of 2500 individuals.
The main objective of this study was to check how pasta can affect the weight and obesity markers as a part of low-glycemic index diet. Two types of people were included as a part of this study including normal and overweight adults.
So, what did this study conclude? Is pasta healthy for you or does pasta leads to weight gain? Is it actually a contributor to obesity?
A lot of studies that were a part of this review pointed out a positive relationship between the consumption of pasta and weight loss. Researchers took an account of the body weight, body fat, BMI, and waist measurements of all the participants.
By the end of the research, pasta as a part of low GI diet can reduce the BMI and body weight as compared to a higher GI pattern. No effect on other measures of obesity was concluded.
All these studies supporting a common idea continued for 12 weeks. The analysis successfully depicted that pasta can reduce the weight by a fraction of 0.26 to 0.63 kgs in context to a low-GI diet.
This may not seem like a lot of weight loss but it did prove that eating pasta among a low GI diet certainly does not lead to weight gain.
How is this possible? An important point here is that pasta in association with a low GI pattern can lead to loss or even maintenance of weight. Pasta consumption has also been linked to a better adherence of people towards the Mediterranean diet, a diet plan with numerous cardiovascular and metabolic benefits.
How to Include Pasta in a Healthy Diet Plan
It seems clear that pasta can, in fact, be a healthy meal if it is eaten in moderation or along with nutritious foods. However, it is also possible that eating pasta in larger amounts may cause you to gain weight.
Is pasta healthy? The answer to this question involves a lot more than just looking at pasta. The pasta itself does not seem to be fattening. There are 210 calories, 43 grams of carbohydrates, one gram of fat, six grams of proteins, and three grams of fiber in one serving of pasta.
If the rest of your diet includes unprocessed food items such as fresh vegetables and fruits, eating a single serving of pasta multiple times a week may not be of much harm.
On the other hand, it is important to note that it is very difficult to account for the number of servings you consume. This is because most of the restaurants tend to serve you pasta in an amount a lot higher than one serving.
Most of the foods with low glycemic index are extremely beneficial for you. Some of these benefits include:
- Feeling satiety earlier than usual
- Delaying of hunger
- The decrease in the subsequent caloric intake
- Protection against weight gain and obesity
Pasta is found to have a similar glycemic index as compared to certain carbohydrates with high fiber content such as legumes. In fact, it may have a glycemic index lower than a lot of foods such as bran flakes and whole wheat bread.
The glycemic index compiled by Harvard Medical School indicates that the GI score of regular spaghetti is 49 whereas that of white potatoes is 78. The GI score of white rice has been found to be 73.
The same study also indicated that the macronutrient content in pasta is greater than that of the wheat products. This is because it consists of an aleurone layer that gets preserved because of the consumption of harder wheat types.
You may be wondering why pasta has a low glycemic index. This is mainly because of the techniques used in the making of pasta. The process grants it a compact structure which, in turn, causes the starch absorption to reduce.
Pasta has been known to be a part of the Mediterranean Diet, a diet plan that prevents a lot of problems such as cardiovascular disease, depression, breast and colorectal cancer, obesity, and cognitive decline.
How Pasta might be Fattening
Is pasta healthy? This depends on what you eat along with it and the rate of digestion specific to your body. One of the major problems associated with pasta is that it provides you with a lot of processed carbs and calories.
However, this is not the only problem. Another issue that may arise here is that pasta consists of gluten which is really hard to digest.
You may wonder that what is so wrong with gluten. Gluten-containing grains mainly comprise of oligosaccharides that may ferment in your gut and lead to a number of problems and digestive issues.
Depending on the consumer, gluten may even cause intestinal permeability, a condition which you may know by the name of leaky gut. This can decrease the nutrient absorption and may generate autoimmune responses. It can also decrease your energy and increase the cravings.
Gluten is naturally a part of wheat and wheat flour. It is gluten that imparts a pleasant texture to most of the delicious baked goods you eat. It is also added to a lot of products for modification of their stability and structure.
Therefore, a gluten-free diet is often recommended which can provide certain benefits such as:
- Maintenance of high energy levels
- Lowering of inflammation
- Better control of cravings
- Reducing digestive problems such as diarrhea, bloating, and gas.
So, let’s discuss one last time that is pasta healthy or unhealthy for you? Can you include in among other healthy and nutritious food items?
The answer to this question is that it may be healthy or may not be at the same time. It is not recommended for people to go out of their way just to eat pasta.
In fact, it is actually better if you do not use it in your meals more often. Whether you should or should not be eating pasta depends upon your body’s response to eating wheat. It also depends on your goals of losing weight and the ability to control the size of the portion.