Whether you’re a regular consumer of rotini or are passionate about penne, pasta is a staple food in countless homes around the world. However, pasta is good for more than just your tastebuds—research suggests that regular pasta consumption may benefit your health, too.
According to a 2020 study published in the journal Frontiers in Nutrition, people who regularly eat pasta are more likely to eat a nutrient-rich diet.
In evaluating a population of 323 children between ages 2 and 18 and a population of 400 adults aged 19 or older, researchers found that adults who ate pasta consumed more fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin E on a daily basis than those who steered clear of the starchy stuff. Children who ate pasta consumed greater amounts of fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, and vitamin E than those who didn’t eat pasta.
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The study’s authors found that, among the adults studied, those who ate pasta also consumed less saturated fat and less added sugar in their diet than those who abstained. In children, those who ate pasta typically consumed less saturated fat, but comparable amounts of sugar and sodium to their peers who didn’t eat pasta.
While many people steer clear of carbohydrate-rich foods like pasta when trying to lose weight, the study’s authors found that neither adults nor children who consumed pasta ate significantly more calories than those who didn’t.
This isn’t the first time research has shown pasta to be a relatively weight-neutral food for most people. A 2018 study published in the journal BMJ Open, which studied the dietary habits and weight of 2448 participants, found that pasta was not associated with increased weight, and “even reduces body weight and BMI compared with higher-GI dietary patterns.”
So, go ahead and dig into a dish of spaghetti Bolognese or cacio e pepe from time to time if you feel so inclined—your body might just thank you. And if you want to make healthier choices in the pasta aisle, check out the 30 Best & Worst Dry Pastas in America.