If you're wondering, “Is pasta is good for you?” then the answer is, "Yes" and "No!" Making healthy pasta depends on the pasta, how it’s cooked and served and how much you eat.
The bottom line is – pasta can be very healthy or very unhealthy.
The History of Pasta
Pasta usually comes with visions of Italy. But Greek mythology gives all the credit to the Greek God Vulcan for inventing a device that made the first spaghetti from strings of dough.
However research has traced pasta's roots all the way back to the Etruscans in 400 BC. This is where the first lasagna was more than likely made out of whole grain spelt flour.
In the 17th century, when the tomato first arrived in Naples, whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce immediately became popular with the people. But, at that time, pasta was eaten peasant style – with the hands. This kept it off the tables of the more dignified royalty.
However, around 1700 one of King Ferdinand the second’s chamberlains had the bright idea of using a four prong fork. With this newly invented utensil, pasta was soon to be served at Court banquets all over Italy. From that point on, pasta started spreading all around the world.
So is Pasta Good for You?
There’s healthy pasta and unhealthy pasta, depending on its ingredients and how it's served. If pasta is made with refined white flour, like most pasta, and smothered in cream sauce, it's unhealthy. If it’s whole grain pasta al dente (firm) with unsweetened tomato sauce, it's healthy.
Whole grain al dente pasta is much higher in fiber, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. It's slowly absorbed into the bloodstream and doesn’t cause a blood sugar spike.
This extra nutrition, slower absorption and high fiber helps protect against insulin resistance, constipation, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Studies show that people who eat more whole grain foods have 37% lower risk of metabolic syndrome, which can lead to diabetes. They also have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol and lower triglycerides. This helps them prevent cardiovascular disease – naturally.
Improve Your Waistline with Pasta Benefits
Studies show that people who eat more whole grain, high fiber foods, like 100% whole-wheat pasta and spelt pasta, weigh less than those who eat very little or no whole grains.
In one long-term, extensive study done at the Harvard Medical School and published in the prestigious American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, data on 74,000 nurses between the ages of 39 and 63 was collected over a 12 year period. Those who ate high-fiber, whole grain foods consistently weighed less than those who ate refined breads and white pasta.
Tufts University research showed women whose diets were rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains weighed less and had lower body fat than those who ate low fiber diets high in meat.
And another study done at Louisiana State University found that the single greatest predictor of obesity in middle-aged women was a lack of high fiber foods in their diets.
Choose Whole Grain Pasta for Better Health
When buying healthy pasta always read the labels to make sure it's 100% whole grain. Cook it al dente, serve it with vegetables and tomato sauce and enjoy the pasta path to better health.
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Note: The information contained on this website is not intended to be prescriptive. Any attempt to diagnose or treat an illness should come under the direction of a physician who is familiar with nutritional therapy.