The Truth About Carbs

Confused About Carbs

The USDA recognizes the important role carbohydrates, such as pasta, play in a healthy diet. That’s why the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans continues to recommend consuming 45% to 65% of your total calories from these kinds of nutrients. Exactly how can you do this?

Pasta spaghetti with seafood and cream sauce. Top view with copy space on white table.

According to the USDA Dietary Guidelines, grains should make up more than ¼ of your plate, or roughly 6 to 8 ounces for adults* per day (a 1 ounce serving is equivalent to ½ cup cooked pasta). Through MyPlate, the USDA encourages Americans to “make every bite count” and include grains in every meal.  *based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

With so many mixed messages out there about diet, it’s hard to know who to believe. There is no scientific evidence that eating grains will affect your memory or other cognitive function. In fact, a recent study recently published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, which examined adherence to the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and Mediterranean Diet patterns and their respective associations with cognitive change over an eleven-year study period, found both diets to have a protective effect against age-related cognitive decline in men and women 65 years of age or older.

To help alleviate some of the confusion around wheat in the diet, visit where you will find factual information and scientific research to answer any questions you might have.

Your brain needs
130grams a day of carbs
to function properly
which balances and boosts your emotions
learn more
Complex carbs like pasta are broken down slowly in the body.

This means they provide a slow release of energy, keeping you revved up throughout the day.

Eat the Right Kind of Carbohydrates

Registered Dietitian Diane Welland says it’s important to eat the right kind of carbohydrates no matter what diet you follow.  Pasta, a staple of the Mediterranean Diet, is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates require more work to break down, so energy is released slowly and steadily through the day.

Complex carbohydrates can easily be combined with other nutritious food components, such as olive oil, cheese, lean meat, chicken and fish as well as vegetables, beans and legumes — all healthy macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates and proteins). In fact, both children and adults who consume pasta also tend to consume more vegetables and have healthier diets overall.

Note:  Twenty scientists and health professionals from nine countries met in Milan, Italy in October 2015 to present the latest research on pasta and to craft this 12-point Scientific Consensus Statement on healthy pasta meals:  The Healthy Pasta Meal Scientific Consensus Statement 2015

Selection of comptex carbohydrates sources on white background, copy space
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