While many versatile, beloved, and healthy dishes can be made with pasta, there are some types that are better for your overall health than others. We consulted nutritionists, dietitians, and other health experts to learn more about a type of pasta best avoided if your goal is weight loss, and what to add to your favorite meals instead. Read on for advice, tips, and insights from Dr. Su-Nui Escobar, Registered Dietitian and Ph.D. in Clinical Nutrition and Dr. Andrea Maxim, MNLP, MChT, ND, Licensed Naturopathic Physician, NLP Master, and Loss Expert. of weight.
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Tip #1: Avoid wheat pasta (often leads to weight gain)
Even with nutrient-dense sauces, herbs, spices, and other healthy additions to a pasta dish, if it’s made with wheat pasta, Maxim explains, this can hurt your weight-loss goals. “Any wheat-based pasta will spike insulin levels and create inflammation faster than other versions of pasta,” he warns. Wheat naturally has a pro-inflammatory component, she says, adding that the body “doesn’t really digest it well.”
Inflammation causes bloating, which Maxim notes can lead to water retention, and “carbohydrate density increases insulin.” This, he emphasizes, “increases blood sugar, which causes more fat storage.” If wheat-based pasta is the only option, she recommends using “no more than 1 cup of cooked pasta in a serving,” but opt for healthier versions when you can.
#2— Opt for konjac root pastes instead
According to Maxim, “the healthiest, low-carb, high-fiber pasta is made from konjac root.” A full package typically has no more than “25g of carbs and still has the same shape and texture” as wheat-based pasta, she says. This type of pasta is also “really high in fiber,” which Maxim notes “really helps with weight loss.”
#3— Add more vegetables to your pasta dish
In addition to the amount of pasta consumed, Escobar says that “what is added to the plate” is another “important aspect” that contributes to weight loss. “It is very easy to consume a lot of pasta without realizing it,” he acknowledges, which is why Escobar explains that “the most important trick to enjoy pasta and lose weight is to add vegetables to increase volume without adding calories to the food.”
Great additions to pasta include “spaghetti squash, spiralized zucchini, carrots, onions, tomatoes, and butternut squash.” Additionally, Escobar suggests that “adding high-fat sauces to pasta can easily increase calories.” For weight loss, he concludes, it’s best to “avoid creamy sauces and eat Italian pasta with tomato-based sauces, or just good quality olive oil.”