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 checked in with nutritionists, dietitians and other health experts to learn more about one type of pasta that’s best to avoid if your goal is to lose weight, and what to add to your favorite meals in its place. Read on for tips, suggestions and insight from Dr. Su-Nui Escobar, registered dietitian and doctor in clinical nutrition and Dr. Andrea Maxim, MNLP, MChT, ND, licensed naturopathic doctor, master NLP practitioner and weight loss expert.
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Tip #1— Avoid Wheat Pastas (They Often Lead To Weight Gain)
Even with nutrient-rich sauces, herbs, spices and other healthy additions to a pasta dish, if it is made with wheat pasta, Maxim explains that this can do a disservice to your weight loss goals. “Any wheat-based pasta will spike insulin levels and create inflammation faster than other versions of pasta,” she warns. Wheat naturally has a pro-inflammatory component to it, she says, adding the body “really doesn’t digest it well.”
Inflammation causes bloating, which Maxim notes can lead to water retention and the “density of the carbohydrates spikes insulin.” This, she stresses, “spikes blood sugar, which causes more fat accumulation.” If wheat-based pasta is the only option, she advises to use “no more than 1 cup of cooked pasta in a serving,” but opt for healthier versions when you can.
#2— Opt For Konjac Root Pastas Instead
According to Maxim, the “healthiest, low carb, high-fiber pasta is made from konjac root.” An entire package is usually no more than “25g of carbs and still the same shape and texture” as wheat-based pasta, she says. This type of pasta is also “very high in fiber,” which Maxim notes “actually aids in weight loss.”
#3— Add More Veggies To Your Pasta Dish
Apart from the quantity of pasta consumed, Escobar says that “what is added to the dish” is another “important aspect” contributing to weight loss. “It’s really simple to consume a lot of pasta without even realizing it,” she acknolwedges, so Escobar explainss that “the most important trick to enjoying pasta and losing weight is to add vegetables to increase the volume without adding calories to the meal.”
Great additions to pasta include “spaghetti squash, spiralized zucchini, carrots, onions, tomatoes, and squash.” Additionally, Escobar suggests that “adding sauces high in fat to pasta can increase easily increase calories.” To lose weight, she concludes that it’s best to “avoid creamy sauces and eat pasta Italian style with tomato-based sauces, or simply with a good quality olive oil.”