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Pasta Won't Make You Fat

The health world for the past few years has painted pasta as fattening. But I have always questioned that, and as should you. Pasta and noodles, from white flour has been around for centuries as part of the gastronomy of 2 very distinct cuisines: Chinese and Italian. 

The noodle was invented in China and brought to Italy. Chinese cuisine still uses noodles as a staple in their diet. When the Italians were introduced to the food item it changed the gastronomy of Italy. What do we think about when we think Italian food? Pasta! There are so many different shapes, sizes, and styles of pasta. Really the list is unbelievably long. The different regions in Italy call the same shape by different names, and the majority of pastas have their own unique sauce that are paired with it. 


We are hearing about this fattening pasta epidemic now, when for centuries people of different cultures have been eating it without a problem. 


Well here is why. In Italy pasta isn't the main dish, it is the usually the 2nd dish after the antipasta and before the main course. This means the dish is smaller in portions. In the United States we eat very very very large portions, which doesn't help the waistline or our health. In Italy and the majority of other cultures their portion sizes are half or more than half of what we eat. This makes a large difference in the health of the dish. When we reduce the portion size of a dish we reduce the calories, when we reduce the calories we reduce the ability to gain weight. This is especially important for pasta.


Pasta is made from durum wheat, semolina flour, farro flour, chestnut flour, and wheat flour. So basically simple carbohydrates and complex carbohydrates. The majority of pasta we eat is a simple carbohydrate, or white flour. Which means when we eat too much of it, it turns into fat in the body. So yes, pasta is fattening when we eat too much. Therefore attributing to the claim that pasta makes you fat. Not if we eat it like the Italians. When we consume it in smaller portions we receive the accurate amount of nutrients we need from the pasta, carbohydrates and certain vitamins and minerals. We need carbohydrates! And pair it with a delicious sauce, we have a perfect meal, satisfying, and nutritious. But remember the portion of the dish is key. So when eating out, ask for a half portion, split it with someone else, or only eat half and take home the rest.


Another reason pasta won't make you gain weight is because look at the diet of the Italians and the Mediterranean. Their diet is varied with healthy fats from olive oil, vegetables of all kinds at the majority of their meals, whole grains like farro, and fresh fruit. That is the gastronomy of the Mediterranean people. They eat a variety of foods all balanced and portioned to satisfy. Pasta is a delicious food item and when freshly homemade it is even better. But we can't always make fresh pasta, so purchasing store bought is just fine. Eat occasionally, portioned properly, and enjoy every bite! 

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