In recent years, trendy and high-protein diets like keto and paleo have cast a bad reputation on carbs. Pasta, in particular, has been vilified as a starchy culprit of weight gain. But a new study from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto is looking to dispel this myth, providing great news for health-conscious lovers of Italian food everywhere.

Researchers analyzed the supposed link between pasta and weight loss by analyzing the food’s glycemic index (GI). The glycemic index rates how quickly a food impacts blood sugar levels. Food with a high GI, like white bread and potatoes, are digested quickly, while foods with a low GI (think green vegetables) are burned slowly. The study assessed 30 control trials and monitored 2,500 participants who ate a healthy, low GI diet. The only carb they ate was pasta. And they had an average of 3.3 half cup servings of it a week.

The study, which was published in BMJ Open Journal, found that under these circumstances, pasta did not contribute to weight gain. In fact, over the course of the 12-week study, participants lost an average of half a kilo (or 1.1 pounds for those not familiar with the metric system).

It turns out pasta has a lower GI than most other starchy foods, like bread and potatoes. And it doesn’t even matter what kind of pasta you eat! White pasta is nearly comparable to whole wheat pasta in terms of GI status, so you don’t need to worry about potentially icky textures ruining your meal.

Of course you do need to be mindful of your portion size, as well as the sauces you choose to douse it in (Maybe steer clear of that a triple serving of fettuccine Alfredo, okay?). But bearing that in mind, it’s incredibly heartening to know that one of the most delicious and versatile foods on the planet is nowhere near as bad for you as its recent reputation suggests.

Header image courtesy of Pixabay.

Jessica is a former Associate Editor at Chowhound. Follow her on Twitter @volume_knob for updates on snacks and cats.
See more articles