Dietitian reveals pasta isn’t unhealthy, but the way you’re eating it could be

Carbs are typically frowned upon when it comes to weight loss, and pasta, in particular, takes a lot of the heat.

But a leading American dietitian has claimed its not your beloved spaghetti or fusilli that is inherently unhealthy — but the way you’re eating it might be.

Shyla Cadogan recently penned a piece for research hub StudyFinds, in which she explained the recommended serving size for pasta is 2 ounces (56.7g) of uncooked pasta, which is equivalent to approximately 1 cup of cooked pasta.

One general serving has about 200 calories, 40 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of protein, and 1 to 2 grams of fibre, according to Barilla, the world’s largest pasta producer.

Since pasta is mainly comprised of carbs, people tend to look at it as “empty calories,” Cadogan wrote, but carbs are the “preferred energy source” for the human body, so it actually provides nutrition.

Whole-grain pasta specifically contains more fibre and protein, two things that will keep you full for longer and decrease the likelihood of overeating.

But things get nutritionally tricky when it comes to how the pasta is prepared, The New York Post reports.

Adding sauces, butters, creams, meats and cheeses can add up the calories and inevitably end up making the complete dish have no balance of beneficial nutrients.

People also choose to eat pasta as their main dish rather than a side, so they’re most likely going to eat more than the recommended serving size, Cadogan said.

“Virtually any food eaten in excess or as part of an overall unbalanced diet can become unhealthy fairly quickly,” she said.

“It comes down to balancing your plate.”

It’s often advised that a dinner plate should have foods in a variety of colours, and the same goes for a pasta dish.

For example, Cadogan suggests making a marinara-based pasta dish with vegetables for fibre and a protein source.

Another way to balance your pasta dish is to make it just a small part of your whole meal as a side dish.

Nowadays, there are plenty of high-fibre and higher-protein alternatives to wheat pasta, such as chickpea pasta, protein pasta, edamame pasta and black bean pasta.

Just because low-carb diets are one of the more popular diets for weight loss doesn’t mean pasta has to be left out of family dinners.

“Pasta isn’t inherently unhealthy. It doesn’t deserve all of the disrespect,” Cadogan wrote.

Not only can pasta provide fibre and protein, but it can also make you happy.

A previous study conducted by the Behavioral and Brain Lab at the Free University of Languages and Communication IULM in Milan, Italy, found that eating pasta can boost your mood — and it can make you just as happy as hearing your favourite song.

A group of 40 participants between the ages of 25 and 55 who got to eat pasta as researchers analysed their physical and neurological changes.

Those responses were then compared to the changes participants had while listening to their favourite songs or watching a sports event.

Eating pasta beat out both music and sports when it came to eliciting positive emotions and “activating cognitive memory processes,” according to the researchers.

“We have always known that a good plate of pasta makes people happy, but we did not know why and to what extent,” Riccardo Felicetti, president of the Italian pasta makers of Unione Italiana Food, said in a statement.

“Now, the official confirmation comes from this research that we commissioned from IULM, in which pasta is chosen as the food of happiness, or as we pasta makers like to say, with the best happiness/price ratio.”

This article originally appeared on The New York Post and has been reproduced here with permission

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