Pasta can be part of a healthy diet without packing on the pounds

Pasta can be part of a healthy diet without packing on the pounds

Finally, there’s good news for all of you out there who are passionate about pasta but fear turning into a meatball if you eat it. Turns out, pasta might not be such a belly buster after all.

But before you tuck into a big bowl of linguini, know that this revelation comes with a string attached. Pasta is benign when you combine it with a low-glycemic diet — think leafy greens, sweet potatoes and whole grains. These so-called good carbohydrates take longer to digest and longer to turn into blood sugar, or glucose. If you tend to eat a lot of sugar, rice, bread and cookies, then pasta will not be your friend.

Researchers from the University of Toronto analyzed 32 dietary studies totaling nearly 2,500 participants. In results published in the journal BMJ Open, those who followed a low-glycemic diet and ate, on average, three servings of pasta each week during the study period lost weight and inches off their waistline compared with those on a high-glycemic diet with no pasta. A serving is roughly a cup and a half of pasta.

Pasta has had a bad rap as a carb that is as fattening as it is tasty. But it does not have an adverse effect on body weight when it is part of a healthy diet. Although pasta comes in all kinds of shapes and ingredients, the analysis found that no matter how it’s made, it is still better for you than, say, white bread.

The review did not look at pasta’s effect on other meal plans such as the Mediterranean diet, but the researchers said they believe their results would hold up in such a comparison.

While this doesn’t mean you should slurp spaghetti all day, you can indulge from time to time, as long as it’s part of an overall healthy diet.

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