Is Pasta Good for Weight Loss? Does Pasta Increase Weight?

Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)
Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)

General Physician | 6+ years

Is pasta good for weight loss
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Has it ever happened that just when you’re reaching out for a steamy bowl of pasta, you suddenly realise you’re supposed to watch your weight? Can’t imagine how hard it is to kill that temptation and fill your plate with raw veggies instead! But you don’t have to do this anymore. Why?

Pasta can help you lose weight, only if you’re cooking the right one in the right way. If you’re still doubtful about “is pasta good for weight loss?”, this quick read is for you. 

Contents:
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Is Pasta Healthy to Eat?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    Is Pasta Healthy for Weight Loss?
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    Which Pasta is Good for Weight Loss?
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    How to Eat Pasta for Weight Loss?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    How Much Pasta Can You Consume in a Day to Lose Weight?
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    What is the Best Time to Eat Pasta for Weight Loss?
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    What are the Risks of Overconsumption of Pasta for Weight Loss?
  • blog_single_bullet_icon
    What are the Other Health Benefits of Pasta?
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    Don’t Have Time To Read?
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    FAQs
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Is Pasta Healthy to Eat?

Pasta is a rich source of carbohydrates and fibre too. When consumed in moderation, paired with veggies and other sources of protein like legumes, chicken or fish, pasta can be part of a healthy diet. It also depends on the type or variety of pasta you are eating, when it comes to answering whether it is healthy or not. 

Pasta, when made of maida or commonly known as refined flour, can be unhealthy as it contains less fibre and is loaded with calories. Refined pasta usually loses all its nutrients during the production process and is less nourishing. Alternatively, it is recommended to pick whole-grain or whole-wheat or lentil-based pasta over traditionally/artificially enriched varieties of pasta. 

To help you understand this better, here’s a quick comparison of the nutritional value of 1 cup (140g) of cooked whole-wheat pasta or spaghetti vs refined or enriched spaghetti.

Nutrient

Content in Whole-Wheat Spaghetti

Content in Refined/Enriched Spaghetti

Calories

174 kcal

220 kcal

Protein

7.5 g

8.1 g

Carbohydrate

37 g

43 g

Fibre

6 g

2.5 g

Fat

0.8 g

1.3 g

Additionally, keep in mind that adding too many pre-made sauces or heaps of cheese can make an otherwise healthful pasta meal unhealthful.

Is Pasta Healthy for Weight Loss?

Pasta can be a great addition to your weight loss diet but before you go all out and start bingeing on it, you have to understand three key factors that dictate whether pasta is good for weight loss or not.

  • The type of pasta being used
  • How is the pasta being cooked/prepared
  • The use and amount of high-sugar and high-fat sauces

Experts suggest that whole-wheat or whole-grain pasta is the best for weight loss. Certain studies have also found that pasta, when cooked the Mediterranean way, is the healthiest option for those on a weight loss journey. Mediterranean pasta is usually prepared with fresh fruits and veggies, olive oil and lean meat, all of which will not necessarily harm your weight loss effort. 

Besides this, to avoid gaining weight with pasta, you should add chopped or sauteed broccoli, zucchini, tomatoes and onions while cooking the pasta, opt for a side salad (if you do not like too many veggies in the main dish!), use cheese only to garnish, switch to lean meats and use freshly made sauces at home.

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Which Pasta is Good for Weight Loss?

Whole grains are primarily made of the entire kernel (the seed from which the plant grows) and as a result, are rich sources of fibre and other important nutrients. Pasta made of whole grains (wheat, brown rice, spelt, etc.) is full of nutrition and is considered healthier when compared to refined pasta. There are fewer calories in pasta made with whole grains and its high fibre content can keep you full for a longer time. This further reduces your hunger pangs and thus, helps in weight loss.

Other alternatives may include chickpea pasta, veggie noodles and soba noodles (made from buckwheat). 

How to Eat Pasta for Weight Loss?

When eaten in moderation, pasta can be a healthy choice for your weight loss journey. Not only the type of pasta is what you need to keep in mind, the toppings matter too. By adding cheesy and cream-based sauces, you are stocking up on calories. A drizzle of olive oil or fresh herbs and even veggies of your choice can add up to the nutritional value of your pasta meal and make it an ideal option for weight loss too.

How Much Pasta Can You Consume in a Day to Lose Weight?

You can have a cup or 1½ cup of pasta per day if you are having whole wheat pasta. You should avoid eating refined pasta regularly if you want to lose weight as it may add up to your fat.

What is the Best Time to Eat Pasta for Weight Loss?

You can eat pasta any time of the day except at night. Pasta contains carbs which might be difficult for your body to digest during the night.

What are the Risks of Overconsumption of Pasta for Weight Loss?

Just like it holds true for any other food or beverage, overconsumption of pasta can cause various health problems including: 

  • Obesity: Pasta made from refined flour is filled with preservatives and is simply a source of ‘empty calories’. Overeating maida based pasta can result in unwanted weight gain and thus, contribute to obesity.
  • Diabetes: Eating large portions of pasta frequently could load your body up with too many carbs and put you at risk of developing various lifestyle diseases, the topmost being diabetes. 
  • Gluten-Intolerance:  While there is gluten-free pasta available in the market,  most of the varieties contain gluten (proteins found in wheat, rye, barley, etc.). Individuals who are sensitive to gluten may experience certain digestive problems.

What are the Other Health Benefits of Pasta?

  • The high fibre content in whole-grain pasta can be beneficial for your stomach and may help lower your body’s cholesterol levels.
  • The fibre present in whole-grain pasta helps in better bowel movements, relieving constipation, and decreasing inflammation and other digestive problems.
  • Whole grain pasta contains a variety of vitamins and minerals that are essential for the better functioning of your body. 
  • Whole grain pasta, containing whole grain sorghum flour, is known to reduce oxidative stress and thereby may prevent various kinds of cancers.

Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • Pasta is a rich source of carbohydrates and fibre too. When consumed in moderation, paired with veggies and other sources of protein like legumes, chicken or fish, pasta can be part of a healthy diet.
  • The type of pasta and the way it is cooked/prepared are major deciding factors as to whether pasta is healthy or not. 
  • Generally, whole-grain or whole-wheat or lentil-based pasta is healthier than pasta made with refined flour. Pasta, when cooked the Mediterranean way (with fresh fruits and veggies, olive oil and lean meat), is the healthiest.
  • For weight loss specifically, experts suggest that whole-wheat or whole-grain pasta is the best. Pasta made of whole grains (wheat, brown rice, spelt, etc.) has fewer calories and high fibre content, both of which make it an ideal option to be added to your weight loss meal. 
  • To ensure you do not gain weight with pasta, avoid adding too many pre-made sauces or heaps of cheese. Always pair your pasta dish with a side salad made of broccoli, zucchini, carrots, etc., if you do not like adding veggies to pasta.
  • Find your favourite pasta by clicking here.
  • You can have a cup or 1½ cup of pasta per day if you are having whole wheat pasta. You should avoid eating refined pasta regularly if you want to lose weight as it may add up to your fat.
  • You can eat pasta any time of the day except at night. Pasta contains carbs which might be difficult for your body to digest during the night.
  • Overconsumption of pasta can put you at risk of being obese, developing metabolic diseases like diabetes or lead to stomach and digestion problems.
  • Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading nutritionists and dieticians to get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Check out our store to order tasty treats, breakfast foods, health juices, snacks and more.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pasta may increase your weight as some varieties can be high in calories and fat. However, some studies show that pasta may not affect your weight if you consume it in moderation.

No, eating pasta should not necessarily contribute to belly fat. It depends on the type of pasta you are having and also the way it is being prepared. Using fatty oils for pasta can aid in weight gain and result in belly fat too.

Yes, suji pasta can be a good option for a weight loss diet. Suji is rich in fibre and protein and these nutrients are essential for accelerating weight loss.

Yes, whole wheat pasta is good for weight loss as it has more fibre and nutrients than other kinds of pasta. Fibre is an important nutrient that keeps your stomach full for longer and makes you want to eat less, thereby, promoting weight loss.

Whole grain pasta can be added to your daily meals as part of a balanced weight loss diet. However, you may get bored with having pasta every day. It is best to consume different kinds of foods with different nutrients every day.

Whole wheat pasta may be a better option over white or plain rice for weight loss due to its fibre-rich content.

Pasta comes in different varieties and shapes, macaroni being one of them. Macaroni can be good for weight loss if consumed in moderation and if you opt for whole-grain macaroni or any other kind of whole-grain pasta.

Dr. Pakhi Sharma
Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBS
(General physician, 6+ years)
An expert in obstetrics and medical emergencies, Dr. Pakhi Sharma, an alumni of Sri Devaraj Urs University of Higher Education and Research Centre, is a general physician working at Phablecare. She has 6+ years of work experience spread across gynaecology and obstetrics, family medicine, and medical emergencies at renowned hospitals and clinics.

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