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Is Pasta Good for Weight Loss? Here’s the Surprising Truth
Weight Loss

Is Pasta Good for Weight Loss? Here’s the Surprising Truth

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on September 26, 2022
259 Views
4 min

A new study has found that eating pasta as part of a healthy diet can help you lose weight. We tell you the truth, as well as offer tips to prepare pasta for weight loss and the healthiest pasta for weight loss.

Is pasta good for weight loss

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Pasta carbs have had a poor reputation. How is it even possible to maintain a slim figure while consuming this Italian delicacy?

If you’re an Italian food lover, you probably know that pasta is commonly regarded as food that adds weight and, therefore, is often omitted from weight-loss diet plans.

While some people try to avoid eating too many carbohydrates, a new study has found that eating pasta as part of a healthy diet can help you lose weight.

But wait, is pasta good for you when you’re trying to lose weight or stay healthy?

We tell you the truth as well as offer tips for prepping your pasta. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, feel better, or just want to revamp your pasta bowl. 

Is Pasta Good for Weight Loss?

Pasta can be part of a healthy weight-loss diet and can help you shed a few extra pounds if consumed in moderation and eaten with other healthy foods like lean meat, seafood like octopus, and vegetables.

According to a study published in 2017, pasta can be part of a healthy diet if it’s prepared in the Mediterranean diet, which studies say can help in weight loss. This type of diet is rich in healthy ingredients, like vegetables, fruits like strawberries, whole grains, and healthy fats.

Low Glycemic Index diets have also been shown to reduce body weight and BMI compared to high-Glycemic Index diets.

Unlike most ‘refined’ carbs, pasta has a low glycemic index, which means it won’t spike your blood sugar levels and cause cravings for more food. When you’re eating pasta, you’ll still feel satisfied for longer than if you had eaten something high in carbs like white bread or white rice.

Researchers examined results from 30 randomized trials involving adults who ate pasta instead of other carbs as part of a low-GI diet. The study found that pasta didn’t contribute to increased body fat or weight gain.

Pasta is also a good source of satiating fiber and protein, as well as cell-protective selenium. It’s also rich in vitamins and minerals like vitamin B12 and iron and can be a good option for a healthy heart because it’s a low-sodium and fat-free food.

Healthiest Pasta for Weight Loss: Which One Should You Eat?

The healthiest pasta is fewer in carbs, rich in fiber and protein, low in calories, and packed with vitamins and essential minerals. Whole grain pasta, for example, has fewer carbohydrates than its refined counterpart and is rich in fiber, which makes you feel full faster, so chances are you’ll not crave snacks between meals.

Black bean pasta is also a great choice for weight loss. It’s low in calories, high in fiber and protein, and it’s packed with vitamins and minerals like magnesium and iron. 

If you want to lose weight, brown rice is the way to go. After all, compared to wheat alternatives, white rice, and white bread contain a few nutrients. Brown rice pasta is a gluten-free food and can help you lose weight.

How to Make Pasta for Weight Loss: 6 Tips to Follow

If you’re new to cooking, or just want to try something different, making pasta may be the perfect solution for you. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or simply enjoy a simple meal, that’s healthy and tasty, putting in the right ingredients for your pasta dish can make a huge difference. Here’s how.

#1 Add veggies

Fill half your plate with vegetables or salad before eating your pasta. Vegetables provide fiber and nutrients that help keep you full longer after eating less food and help reduce hunger cravings between meals. Fiber also helps lower insulin levels, influencing appetite accumulation.

#2 Add protein

Protein is what promotes satiety and helps you feel full. This means that adding more protein will help you eat less and lose weight. Protein also helps balance macronutrients to support a healthy metabolism.

Besides reducing fat mass, protein is a key component of building muscle, which is important for building lean muscle mass when you’re trying to lose weight.

#3 Choose the right sauce

Burning fat is all about balancing calories — consume fewer than you burn. If the sauces you choose fit your calorie count, you can still lose weight. Look for low-fat and low-calorie sauces, low in sodium and high in fiber. A healthy sauce also doesn’t contain any refined sugar. 

Sauces made from vegetables such as tomato sauce or pesto are great for pasta dishes because they’re rich in protein and nutrients. You can also consider making your sauce by combining olive oil with lemon juice or vinegar, or blending tomatoes, avocados, or even spinach. Making your sauce means you can track what goes into your topping.

#4 Pick the right serving size

If you’re looking to lose body weight, you need to be sure that your serving size is right. Eating large portions of pasta regularly can lead to a calorie surplus and jeopardize your weight-loss efforts.

This is because the carbs you don’t burn for fuel are stored as glycogen in your liver and muscle, and once those storage locations are full, your body converts the excess glycogen to fat cells, causing weight gain.

#5 Choose the whole wheat pasta

Choosing whole-wheat pasta instead of white pasta‌ will help you stay fuller longer because it’s rich in fiber content. Fiber helps slow down the digestion process and reduces the amount of total carbohydrates absorbed in the body. This fiber will make you feel full and satisfied longer, reducing the urge for snacks.

#6 Do not feel guilty

Eating pasta does not have to be a guilty pleasure. It is a healthy choice if you choose the right types of pasta and portions of them. 

Use whole grain pasta, add quality protein, vegetables, homemade sauce, and enjoy your healthy dish.

FAQs

What is the best time to eat pasta for weight loss?

Pasta is simple, and quick-fix at any time. However, it’s rich in carbs, and if you make it your go-to food every night, you’re likely to put on extra fat. Always eat it as part of a balanced diet, and you won’t gain weight.

Is whole wheat pasta good for weight loss?

Yes, it’s good for weight loss, as it has fewer calories and is rich in fiber and other micronutrients than refined pasta. As fiber passes through the gastrointestinal tract undigested, it helps promote fullness, which reduces appetite and cravings.

Does pasta make you fat?

A study found out that pasta consumption as part of a low-GI diet does not negatively impact body fatness, and reduces body weight and body mass index when compared to a higher GI diet. So, eating pasta in the context of a well-balanced diet cannot make you fat.

A Word From Our Nutritionist

Pasta is one of the foods people do away with when they’re changing their eating habits, in following a low-carb diet. But unlike other foods that are ‌unwanted for those trying to lose weight, pasta possesses some redeeming nutritional benefits.

Pasta isn’t an enemy of fat loss. Just pay attention to the type you add to your weight loss diet. While white pasta is refined during processing, whole grain pasta, on the other hand, is made from the entire grain kernel and contains naturally occurring nutrients, protein, and fiber. Higher fiber content can help you stay fuller for longer and regulate blood sugar levels after meals.

Conclusion:

If you are trying to lose weight, pasta is a wonderful, tasty, nutritious food that can be added to any healthy diet. Research has proven that pasta doesn’t harm body weight outcomes when consumed as part of a healthy dietary pattern.

To make it healthier, choose tomato-based sauces seasoned with basil, oregano, or vegetables such as tomatoes, broccoli, squash, carrots, and chopped asparagus.

Remember to watch your portion sizes, to enjoy this staple of Italian cuisine as part of a balanced, healthy diet.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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