If your New Year's resolution was to eliminate carbs from your diet, you might want to reconsider. According to research presented at The Obesity Society's annual meeting in November, people who eat pasta tend to have healthier diets than people who don't.
But that's not all! Researchers from Nutritional Strategies, Inc. compared data collected from U.S. adults between 2001 and 2012 as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to the USDA's Healthy Eating Index and found that pasta eaters ate less saturated fat and added sugar than non-pasta eaters. They were also more likely to adhere to the U.S. 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines because they consumed larger amounts of folate, iron, magnesium, and dietary fiber, which are considered shortfall nutrients that many people don't get enough of in their regular diets.
"Pasta can be an effective building block for good nutrition, as it serves as a perfect delivery system for fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish and legumes," says registered dietitian Diane Welland, Nutrition Communications Manager for the National Pasta Association. "This analysis underscores the nutritional importance of grains, such as pasta, as consistent with a healthy diet."
It's important to note that the research was conducted on behalf of the National Pasta Association, so there is the risk of bias. But this isn't the first time pasta has been linked to healthier living: A July 2016 study found that people who ate pasta were more likely to have lower BMIs, waist circumferences, and waist-to-hip ratios than people who didn't eat pasta.
Because the purpose of this research was to compare diet quality of pasta eaters vs. non-pasta eaters and not the health outcome associated with eating pasta, it's good to remember that all food is best consumed in moderation. And veggie noodles really are worth trying — seriously, you're missing out.
But in celebration of this happy news, why not whip up one of these delicious pasta recipes for tonight's dinner?