Impact of Pasta Intake on Body Weight and Body Composition: A Technical Review

Nutrients. 2023 Jun 9;15(12):2689. doi: 10.3390/nu15122689.


Pasta is a staple carbohydrate across many cultures but has been implicated in overweight and obesity due to its position as a refined carbohydrate. Yet, the unique structure of pasta and its low glycemic response suggest it may contribute to a healthy body weight. The purpose of this review is to summarize the literature on the effects of pasta and dietary patterns high in pasta on body weight and body composition outcomes, and evaluate potential mechanisms by which pasta may influence body weight. A search of PubMed and CENTRAL identified 38 relevant studies examining pasta intake and body weight outcomes or potential mechanisms. Observational studies generally report no association or an inverse association of pasta intake with body weight/body composition outcomes. One clinical trial reported no difference in weight loss between a hypocaloric diet with high intake vs. low intake of pasta. Pasta may influence body weight via its low glycemic response, but evidence of effects on appetite, appetite-related hormones, and gastric emptying is limited and inconclusive. In conclusion, observational and limited clinical data suggest pasta is either inversely or not associated with overweight or obesity in healthy children and adults, and does not contribute to weight gain within the context of a healthy diet.

Keywords: BMI; adiposity; dietary patterns; obesity; pasta.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Child
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Energy Intake / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia*
  • Obesity*
  • Overweight


  • Dietary Carbohydrates