Up close view of a nutrition label

Is Pasta Healthy?: Keep Carbs and Lose Weight

Pasta has gotten a bad rep for being “unhealthy”. Popular health trends say to restrict pasta as a meal due to the high amount of carbohydrates.

These trends also promote high fat and high protein diets as healthy options. We might be biased here at Dagostino’s, but we think pasta can be a part of any healthy diet especially when enjoyed in moderation.

Read more to learn how you can fit pasta into your healthy lifestyle. As always, please consult your doctor before changing diets.

carbohydrates in pasta

Can I eat carbs and lose weight?

Yes. Most popular diets would have you believe that carbohydrates help store fat in your body, and that high fat and high protein help burn fat in your body.

However, carbohydrates are actually your body’s main source of energy and are very healthy. They help fuel your brain, and your brain can’t use fat or proteins for energy. Carbs are also the source of important vitamins, fibers, and minerals. These help improve gut health and other functions.

Many experts recommend that carbs in moderation should be a part of your diet - yes, even during weight loss. According to experts, the safest and most reliable way to lose weight is through calorie deficits. A calorie deficit basically means expelling more calories than you consume, which is possible when having pasta as part of your healthy diet.

Is pasta healthier than rice?

Both pasta and rice have health pros and cons.

Rice usually contains fewer calories and less carbs than pasta, but lower levels of protein.

Pasta can be higher in calories, but is a great source for protein and fiber.

Both pasta and rice can be healthy. They're great sources of energy, and are very similar in versatility.

It’s up to your specific preferences and health goals to decide if and where pasta and rice fit into your diet!

How often should you eat pasta?

Experts recommend 3-4 servings of pasta a week won’t directly lead to weight gain. You should know that anything consumed in excess isn't healthy, and can cause problems.

Healthy eating habits range from person to person. Some people eat several small meals throughout the day, and some eat a few larger meals. Pasta is ideal for those who eat larger meals, but you can enjoy small and light pasta dishes if you snack throughout the day too.

However, staying in the range of 3-4 servings a week is ideal for everyone.

Is pasta fattening or not?

Actually, incorporating pasta into your diet can help maintain a healthy weight. When pasta is enjoyed in moderation, and paired with vegetables and fish, it can actually lead to weight loss and health improvements. That’s the theory behind the Mediterranean diet anyway!

The Mediterranean diet promotes eating a majority of vegetables, seafoods, legumes and small portions of pasta, rice and fruits. This is quite the opposite of a typical diet. Typical diets consist of red meat, rice and creamy pasta as the main food groups. Vegetables, legumes and fruits are usually secondary.

Which pasta is healthiest?

There’s a lot of debate over which types of pasta are the healthiest. It's important to families to know which pastas make easy healthy meals. Gluten free and whole wheat pasta are great options for those who want to make an easy and healthy switch.

But we’re a big fan of “everything in moderation” at Dagostino’s. Regular pasta is just fine health-wise as long as it’s smaller portions.

Another pasta that’s popular in the good health community is handmade pasta. Some believe that making pasta yourself not only tastes better, but is better for your health!

Dagostino’s Handmade pasta is made in small batches using old-world techniques.

Our fresh pasta is made only ever using semolina wheat and water. No additives. No preservatives. Always air-dried, never with microwaves. If that’s not healthy then what is?

healthy pasta style=

What to put in pasta to make it healthy:

Pasta dishes are popular weeknight dinners, and there’s no reason you should miss out on them while dieting. Here’s a list of ingredient substitutions you can use when preparing quick, healthy and easy pasta meals:

  • Substitute Italian Sausage for chicken sausage
  • Substitute fettuccine alfredo sauce with some pasta water and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
  • Substitute heavy tomato sauces with sun dried tomatoes or cherry tomatoes plus a drizzle of olive oil (Cook on high heat until tomatoes burst and wilt slightly).
  • Substitute meat ingredients all together with roasted brussel sprouts or caramelized onions.
  • Substitute heavy cream and other dairy products found in pasta sauces with pumpkin puree or butternut squash puree. (We did this in our fall pumpkin pasta recipe!)
  • Skip the sea salt when you're boiling water! Instead, give simple pasta dishes a kick with a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and fresh basil.
  • A new take on pasta salad: mix a small portion of cooked pasta with a leafy salad - we recommend our rotini pasta because it’s texture will catch your favorite salad dressing.

As you can see, pasta deserves a spot on your pantry shelf next to the other healthy foods.

If you’re looking for a pasta recipe that’s healthy, check out our collection of vegetarian pasta dishes! Again, consult your doctor before changing your diet.

Buon Appetito!