Pasta: Good or Bad?

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Pasta with Sauce in Cream Bowl

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, corn and soba. These varieties often come with added fiber, protein or omega-3 fats.

The reason that low-carb promoters bashed pasta is actually the main reason it’s so good for you! Pasta is a great source of carbohydrate, the body’s (and the brain's) primary source of energy.

So instead of looking at pasta as the enemy, embrace it as a vital energy source. The trick is to make pasta part of a varied diet.

Serving Suggestions

Portion control is most important. Eating huge portions of pasta smothered with cheese or a heavy cream sauce expands waistlines. Keep portions to 1 or 1-1/2 cups per person, and add vegetables and lean meats, beans or fish to balance out the meal. When you're in the mood for Italian, enjoy wheat pasta with tomato and olives or a light cream sauce.

The bottom line: As with everything, enjoy pasta in moderation; be mindful of portion sizes and experiment with all the glorious varieties.

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