Italian actress Sophia Loren once said of her svelte figure, “Everything you see I owe to spaghetti,” and if it’s good enough for her, it’s good enough for us.
Luckily, pasta lovers also have science on their side now too.
According to a new study presented at The Obesity Society’s annual meeting in November, those who indulge in everyone’s favourite Italian staple tend to have healthier diets than those who don’t eat it at all.
But, there’s more.
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) and found that pasta eaters also tend to eat less saturated fat and added sugar.
The 10 best pasta sauces
The 10 best pasta sauces
1. Carluccio's Cuttlefish Ink Sauce - £2.95, carluccios.com
This tomato sauce with wine and cuttlefish ink adds a sea tang and gives your pasta a deep black hue. It's also good for risottos
2.Marks and Spencer Fresh Green Pesto - £1.99, marksandspencer.com
Get yourself over to the fridge counter at M&S, where you'll find this beauty, which knocks the socks off versions in jars
3. Zest Oregano and Basil Sauce - £15.48 for 6, amazon.co.uk
This rich-tasting, full-flavoured sauce is made with fresh garlic and herbs and is free from anything artificial
4.Don Antonio Vodka Pasta Sauce - £5.25, harrods.com
Heat a little olive oil and fry some finely sliced onions and pancetta before adding a jar of this, followed by cream
5. Seggiano Artichoke Ricotta Pasta Sauce - £4.95, fortnumandmason.com
Unusual, but worth the gamble. A fantastic flavour combination, as well as being as good as fresh and extremely moreish
6. Owen Potts Carbonara - £2.99, booths.co.uk
Made with thick double cream, white wine and parmesan, just add pancetta or smoked bacon - or smoked salmon or asparagus for a contemporary twist
7. Tideford Ragu - £2.79, sainsburys.co.uk
Organic, heart-warming, tasty. Great for pretending you made it yourself, it's excellent on its own, but is also good as a lasagne filling or for shepherd's pie
8. Made By Bob Puttanesca - £4.90, foodmadebybob.com
Made from tomatoes, black olives, capers, anchovies, onions, garlic and herbs. If your mouth isn't watering yet, it certainly will be when you taste this
9. David Oliver Rabbit with British cider and sage - £3.69, davidoliverfoods.co.uk
Initially only sold in local farm shops, David Oliver's fresh pasta sauces proved such a hit they're going national from this month
10. Mr Organics Tomato - £2.29, wholefoodsmarket.co.uk
Put a bit of fire in your belly with this sauce from the whizzkids at Mr Organic, who have produced this take on a spicy classic
Also, in comparison to their carb-shunning counterparts, those who eat pasta have a better intake of essential vitamins and minerals like folate and dietary fibre.
“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.”
While this is good news for pasta lovers, it’s important to note that the study was organised by the National Pasta Associated who almost certainly have a vested interest in proving the foods health benefits.
Nonetheless, this isn’t the first time pasta’s been linked to a healthier lifestyle. Back in July 2016, an additional study found that people who ate pasta were more likely to have lower BMIs, smaller waist circumferences, and waist-to-hip ratios than people who didn’t eat it.