Pasta: Good or Bad?

by in Food News, Healthy Recipes, February 3, 2009

Thankfully, the low-carb diet craze is on its way out, but during the anti-starch explosion, pasta took a severe beating. But pasta is GOOD! Here’s why…

The Nutrition Facts
One cup of cooked spaghetti has approximately 220 calories, 1 gram of fat and no cholesterol. Most pastas on the market are enriched with iron too. Whole grain pastas contain about the same calories as regular pasta but have more protein, fiber and vitamins. As an added bonus, all that protein and fiber means that you’ll feel more satisfied by eating less.

Your choices don’t stop at whole wheat; other whole grain pastas include brown rice (my personal fave), corn and soba. Barilla also makes the tasty Barilla Plus, which has fiber, protein and added omega-3 fats (Toby’s kids are huge fans).

The reason that low-carb promoters bashed pasta is actually the main reason it’s so good for you! Pasta is great source of carbohydrate, the body’s primary source of energy (your brain runs on carbs and carbs alone –- that’s pretty important, no?).

So instead of looking at pasta as the enemy, embrace it as a vital energy source. The trick is making pasta part of a varied diet (read on).

Serve It Up!
Portion control is most important. Eating huge portions of pasta smothered with cheese or a heavy cream sauce expands waistlines. Keep portions to 1 to 1 1/2 cups per person and add vegetables and lean meats, beans or fish to balance out the meal.

Just about every cuisine on the planet has traditional pasta dishes. Enjoy wheat pasta with tomato and olives or a light cream sauce. Try rice noodles wrapped with veggies, or lo mein noodles (made from wheat flour) with an Asian-inspired sauce. I love to stir fry vegetables with some soy sauce, add cooked brown rice spaghetti, Srirahca chili sauce and a heaping tablespoon of natural peanut butter. Toss to combine and melt the peanut butter and you have a fabulous dinner in minutes.

The Bottom Line:
As with everything, enjoy pasta in moderation — be mindful of portion sizes and experiment with all the glorious varieties.

Photo by G & A Scholiers

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Comments (29)

  1. valerie says:

    is all types of pasts good for you or is it just a special spagetti or alfrado or what is up.

  2. loretta bevilacqua says:

    Is Barilla a good and health pasta

  3. joanna says:

    thanks for the tip about the whole wheat pasta. now i know what serving size I should eat instead of a plate full lol

  4. Dolores says:

    For those who do not eat food with gluten, another option is "gluten free" pasta, which can be rice pasta, or what about trying udon noodles, that can be found in the Japanese section of the pasta aisle…Also, Amy's sphagetti sauce in a variety of flavors, is very good to use on your pasta…It doesn't contain sugar, but only healthy ingredients..I am really sold on Amy's products. I went on line and asked Amy's Kitchen to produce a new product for the public…that of Macaroni and Soy Cheese, using nongluten pasta and of course the nondairy soy cheese. They accepted my suggestion, and I believe, in December they are putting it on the shelves. Bon Appetite

  5. sherrill says:

    Chosing one of the high fiber pastas such as Smart Taste or Dreamfields makes enjoying pasta possible for those with type 2 diabetes and others who just want to eat healthier…add some lean meatballs and a veggie and it makes a very nutricious and balanced meal. Skip the Italian bread, though!

  6. PETE says:

    yeah it is a good source of carb's. that also causes diabetics blood sugar to spike! can be deadly to us. there is a middle road here. DREAMFIELDS PASTA. they protect the carbs somehow and diabetics can eat it without the blood sugar spiking!!! so lets not get to friendly with it but use it carefully. remember to many carb's are really bad for your body.

  7. arlene says:

    DREAMFIELDS PASTA , is a pasta that you absorb only 5 grams of carbs per portion. it is all explained on the box. hopefully your store carries it. if not, ask them to order it for you.

  8. sherrill says:

    Dreamfields pasta ia great…but Ronzoni's "Smart Taste" pasta is also excellent tasting and has 7 g of fiber per serving! They also make noodles, too For just a little more money you can enjoy pasta without the worry!

  9. JenJan says:

    I could eat pasta three times a day (and did at one time in college). But the stuff, and carbs in general, bloat me like a balloon. I only allow myself pasta once in rare while… usually when I'm out of things to eat/make. And always go with the high-fiber or whole wheat options.

  10. eb67 says:

    Celiac Disease or Sprue sufferers cannot tolerate ANY form of gluten so must eliminate Wheat, Rye and Barley from their diets. Oats seem to be acceptable. A blood test can give an indication but the definitive test is checking the intestine. Once diagnosed, pasta must only be of the corn or rice variety; NO WHEAT PASTAS.
    Diabetics can eat the Whole Wheat pastas but only in severely limited quantities. Corn and 'regular' pasta should not be eaten by diabetics as the carb count is excessive..

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