White pasta noodles have long maintained a place on the “naughty” list of food items typically dismissed as being combative to a healthy diet–along with items like eggs, whole milk, and red meat. But according to a study published in the Nutrition & Diabetes journal, pasta is not the enemy to balanced eating, or even to losing weight. In fact, the findings in this study suggest that when consumed in moderation (as in, as an appetizer portion or side dish), pasta’s complex carbohydrate nature can actually be conducive to losing weight. While they’re often mentally rated about the same on the list of “offensive” foods, it’s important to note that pasta (even white) has a significantly lower glycemic index than bread.
In short–what this means is that yes, you can enjoy pasta as part of a healthy lifestyle and doing so can actually help you to slim down (if you’re trying). The thing is, as noted by Science Alert, reaping the weight control benefits from pasta requires that your noodles are balanced with the right foods–legumes, olive oil, fish, vegetables, and garlic. Basically, pasta eaten healthily is pasta eaten in the context of a traditional Mediterranean diet. In this context, where pasta–which, as mentioned above, is a complex carb–is eaten in tandem with foods that are rich in healthy fats, protein, and fiber, a small portion is enough to provide intense and lasting satiation as well as robust energy. A combination that is golden for dietary balance.
I, for one, can definitely get down with that. Because pasta is [one of] my everything(s). I will eat it however I have to, as long as I can eat it on a regular basis.
So, the two steps to eating pasta like a healthy person:
1. Keep the portion sizes petite–serve it like a side dish, not an entree.
2. Treat pasta as an element of a balanced and varied Mediterranean Diet, instead of as a vehicle for heavy cream sauces and beef.
P.S. both of these stipulations are easily accomplished in a pasta salad context.
And the four recipes to celebrate your new health-focused relationship with pasta:
For this take on the traditional garlic and olive oil pasta, the secrets in the sauce–the fish sauce that is. This dish uses a tablespoon of the savory stuff to boost its umami depth.
Lots of green goodness plus a touch of butter and cheese are the keys to this super speedy pasta’s appeal.
You’re five simple ingredients (linguine, pecorino, butter, pepper, and salt) away from one of the most perfect plates of pasta you’ll ever ingest.
A tried and true classic with a slight kick. If you’re game for heat, go with the full teaspoon of red chile flake in this recipe.