One study says the Italian staple might help you lose weight. We found out if it's too good to be true.

By Macaela Mackenzie
Updated: July 06, 2016

As anyone who's ever had the pleasure of carb-o-loading for a long race or run know, having an excuse to indulge in a guilty pleasure dish in the name of fitness is pretty awesome. But you might actually want to make eating a big bowl of pasta part of your regular health routine, at least according to a study published in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes.

Scientists from the Department of Epidemiology of the Italian government agency I.R.C.C.S. set out to bust the myth that Italy's favorite dish is bad for your BMI. They recruited more than 23,000 people from across Italy to take part in two different studies. People answered questions about their typical eating habits and recorded what they'd eaten during a 24-hour period. Scientists then collected data on the their weight, height, and waist-to-hip ratio to determine their BMI.

Contrary to the default diet "rule" that eating pasta will make you gain weight, the authors found that higher pasta consumption was actually associated with lower BMIs. Say what? Yep, and people who consumed more pasta on the regular had healthier waist-to-hip ratios too.

First off, it's important to know that the study was partially funded by a pasta company, and the findings only showed an association (not direct causation) between pasta and those healthy-weight stats. So you probably shouldn't take this study as an excuse to pile on a pound of fettuccine alfredo.

But pasta can still be part of a healthy diet, says Keri Gans, R.D.N., author of The Small Change Diet. "For years, I've been telling my patients that pasta itself isn't a poor choice," says Gans. "It's how you're eating the pasta." A lot of times, pasta means a massive bowl of noodles smothered in a high-fat sauce, but following a more Mediterranean cooking style and serving a smaller portion size can make all the difference. "Pasta can be the co-star sharing the plate with lots of vegetables and lean protein like grilled shrimp or beans and tossed with a healthy fat like olive oil," says Gans. (See more: How to Eat Pasta and Still Lose Weight)

Nyree Dardarian, assistant clinical professor at Drexel's College of Nursing and Health Professions and director of the Center for Integrated Nutrition & Performance, offers up three tips to keep in mind so you can incorporate pasta into your diet without loading up on tons of extra calories.

Stick to the serving size

One serving is the equivalent of half a cup of cooked pasta. That's all, sorry! This means the pasta should only take up about a quarter of your plate.

Add veggies

Add bulk to your pasta dish by mixing in vegetables. This adds volume to your dish and gives you a fuller feeling in your stomach, while keeping the total calories in check. (You can also try adding the veggies into the sauce with these 7 Veggie-Packed Pasta Sauces.)

Use pasta as a vehicle for other healthy ingredients

Toss pasta with cholesterol-lowering, nutrient-rich foods like extra virgin olive oil, basil, spinach, avocado, almonds, cashews, and chickpeas.


Comments (10)

April 3, 2019
A Fool proof, Science-Based System that's Guaranteed to Melt Away All Your Unwanted Stubborn Body Fat in Just 14 Days. Watch the video here: =>
March 10, 2019
Hi, my name is Kate and I would like to share my story. Up until about 2 years ago, I was 30 pounds overweight. Over the years I had followed many different diet plans, but failed every single time. I was "blessed" with a pear shaped body and no matter what i did, I always retained lots of stubborn fat in my lower body. Everything changed when I found the right diet program. Read my story here ==>
December 27, 2018
I have always been what most would consider a “big girl”. In January 2018, I weighed 180 lbs, which is quite overweight for a woman my height. I wasn’t always this weight though. In my teenage years, I weighed only 140 pounds and I felt much healthier and happier. I strived desperately over the years to get back to this weight. But with a stressful and busy work life, I struggled... continue here
November 20, 2018
Lost 41 pounds and 4 dress sizes. I am in the best shape of my life. Wish I had seen this amazing video earlier:
November 3, 2018
hey i found a rapid weight loss program that can help you lose up to 23 pounds of pure body fat in just 3 weeks!!! watch this video here ->
October 28, 2018
Did you know there’s a “deep detox” you can do first thing in the morning to burn more fat? you can burn 1.2lbs daily and It only takes 13-seconds! watch this video :
October 26, 2018
Since I turned 40 it has been increasing harder to lose weight. I have tried every diet, watch what I ate etc., nothing worked. One day my husband came home and told me about this system, I thought why not. Three months later I lost 34 pounds and 3 sizes. Now that I’m on the maintenance part of the system I lost a total of 38 pounds and now down 4 sizes…. This system works. It really had me change my eating habits. I have learned valuable nutritional information to ensure I keep the weight off and look great. Three months later I lost 34 pounds and 3 sizes, just following this system:
July 18, 2018
My life is totally transformed after I followed this diet. Have Lost 27 pounds in last 1 month and feeling great about myself.
July 15, 2018
I am sharing my experience, Myself and my husband used Brain Diet weight loss guide it helped us to reduce more than 16 kg within few weeks, It’s working for both men & women. It’s really awesome one!!! No words to say about it. Watch the video here:
June 28, 2018
Did you know there’s a “deep detox” you can do first thing in the morning to burn more fat? And the good news is It only takes 13-seconds! Here it is: