Pasta & Diets: Your Questions Answered by a Nutritionist

This article was written by Eleanor Hoath, an established naturopathic nutrition practitioner based in the UK.

pasta & Diets

When looking to optimise a diet, it is often questioned what foods are included and excluded when aiming to follow the ‘perfect diet’. From the latest food products to social media trends, there is always something new and upcoming in the wellness world - which is why it is important to take a holistic view and look at the research, always bearing in mind the importance of balance.

Is pasta good for a diet?

All foods are important to be included in the diet, including pasta! Working as a dietary source of fuel to the body, pasta provides us with carbohydrates, which are essential for keeping our body working like a well- oiled machine and producing energy.

With various types of pasta available, I tend to opt for ‘alternative’ options that are formulated using wholefoods such as beans, lentils and vegetables as they provide a good source of fibre and protein alongside being beneficial to supporting energy.

Is pasta fattening?

No food is considered ‘fattening’ if it is enjoyed in the right way and of course - in moderation. This means that looking for portion sizes on packaging and pairing your pasta with nourishing ingredients are all part of building a healthy meal.

When building a healthy plate, it is important to ensure that there is a variety of food groups and categories. This includes vegetables, proteins and fats to accompany your carbohydrates.

To keep pasta dishes nourishing and friendly on the waistline, I support my clients to take a note of the portion size listed on the packaging of their pasta, rather than ‘guestimating’ and also including protein and vegetables in their pasta dish too.

Is gluten free pasta less fattening?

A gluten-free diet is not a way to drop the pounds! In fact, supermarket analysis has shown that some gluten free pasta alternatives may contain more ingredients and sugars that can contribute to weight gain. However, gluten free pasta does have its place in my practice, especially when focusing on gut health which, if not working optimally, can be an underlying cause for weight gain. This is why a gluten free diet can often be preferred by individuals who suffer with bloating and or constipation.

When I am looking for a gluten free pasta, I opt for pastas that are designed to be ‘different’ rather than choosing a ‘white gluten free pasta’. I will opt for a wholefood based pasta potentially made out of beans, lentils or vegetables to support digestion and gut health which when improved supports weight loss!

can you eat pasta and lose weight? 

Yes! I love including a good pasta salad or pasta bake in a client’s weight loss plan. When aiming to lose weight whilst still eating pasta dishes, always check the suggested portion size listed on the packaging rather than ‘guestimating’.

Reducing the portion of your pasta and ensuring to pair it with good quality protein and vegetables are all perfect ways to still enjoy pasta with weight loss in mind. This is one of my favourite ZENB pasta recipes.

is pasta permitted on a keto diet?

A ketogenic diet refers to a diet that is high in good quality protein and fats with absence of carbohydrates, forcing the body into a state of ‘ketosis’. The state of ketosis has been researched with positive outcomes if used therapeutically in conditions such as childhood epilepsy, type two diabetes and further metabolic disorders.

Due to the key feature of a ketogenic diet being ‘low carb’, pasta would not be permitted on this diet.

Is ZENB pasta keto?

Although ZENB pasta is a lower carb option, in order to reach a complete state of ketosis there should be no carbohydrates consumed in the diet.

Every individual is different, and may take on a ketogenic diet in different ways. Those looking to slowly reduce their carbohydrate consumption gradually may find swapping to ZENB pasta a perfect option. Apps such as Keto Diet App or Cronometer can be useful to see the exact nutrients in foods.

is pasta permitted on a paleo diet? 

A paleo diet refers to a diet that looks similar to what our hunter-gatherer ancestors ate. It is a A diet rich in wholefoods, natural herbs, spices and lean protein sources rather than processed foods, sugar, legumes and dairy products.

The key here is to think ‘would this be in my ancestors diet’ when making paleo food choices, therefore traditional pasta would not be included in a paleo diet.

Is ZENB pasta paleo? 

ZENB pasta is made with yellow split peas, which is part of the legume family. Such a food category is often avoided in paleo diets. However, this would be a more suited option as a replacement rather than traditional processed pasta.

Is pasta permitted on a plant-based diet?

Just like lot’s of foods, pasta can be made in a variety of different ways. Some of which are plant based and some are not. Traditional pasta that you will find down the side streets of beautiful Italy may not be and may contain egg meaning they it is not paleo are not. 

But, in today's modern world and often in the pasta that we find on our supermarket shelves, pasta is plant based. I always advise that it’s best to check the label to be sure!

Is ZENB pasta plant Based? 

With the only ingredient being yellow peas - ZENB pasta is a plant based and wholefood alternative to traditional pasta.

is pasta on an elimination diet?

A true elimination diet involves the removal of inflammatory foods such as gluten, dairy, nuts, nightshade vegetables, eggs and more. So for this reason, pasta is not permitted on an elimination diet. However, the use of Gluten Free pasta can be, granted that it is not made using ingredients that should also be eliminated.

An elimination diet is used to identify potential food sensitivities or to go through a period of healing. These foods are then reintroduced one at a time whilst looking for evidence of symptoms or reaction. An elimination diet should not last longer than 5-6 weeks and be practiced under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.

Is ZENB pasta permitted on an elimination diet?

Within a true elimination diet, all legumes, such as beans, lentils, peas and soy-based products should be eliminated as well as starchy foods. Therefore ZENB pasta should also be removed, but only for a short period of time.

is pasta permitted on a slimming world diet?

The Slimming World diet places focus on calories rather than nourishment, something that I avoid in my own practice. This is the reason that pasta is included in the diet with focus on portion size instead. 

Is ZENB pasta permitted on a slimming world diet?

Due to the nature of the diet, ZENB pasta would be permitted on the Slimming World diet as the diet itself does not exclude or eliminate specific foods.

is  pasta permitted on a dash diet?

The DASH diet is designed to support a healthy blood pressure and consists of foods that are rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium. These nutrients help control blood pressure. 

The diet restricts foods that are high in sodium, saturated fat and added sugars which can sometimes include variations of traditional pastas that are often high in sugar. The diet focuses on adequate serving sizes whilst aiming to include all food groups. For this reason, the DASH diet can include pasta in moderation and advises that when cooking, there is no additional salts to reduce sodium intake.

Is ZENB pasta permitted on a dash diet?

As ZENB pasta is made using wholefood ingredients, yellow peas. It can be included in a DASH style diet.

lastly: can you eat pasta while intermitant fasting?

True intermittent fasting means abstaining from food and drink. Only allowing water during the period of fasting. For this reason, pasta shouldn’t eaten during a period of intermittent fasting, but can be enjoyed freely during the non-fasted hours of this diet.

Final thoughts

I love pasta, and I believe that it should be enjoyed by everyone. In my practice and my own food choices, I like to focus on creating meals and recipes that are balanced including different food groups such as protein and vegetables in order to support my health and enjoy a delicious pasta dish.

Including wholefood based pastas such as ZENB’s is a great way to do this as you are optimising your protein intake, adding a plant based whole food into your diet whilst also enjoying a delicious pasta dish.

'Eleanor Hoath accepts clients worldwide to optimise their wellbeing whilst using a functional approach to understand their symptoms. Find her at and @wellnourished_nutrition on social.’

Find out more about ZENB 100% Yellow Pea Pasta and its nutritional values.