Scrolling through my Facebook feed the other day, between envy-inspiring vacation photos and ridiculous memes, I saw something truly eye-catching: an article from Cosmo claiming that despite what I've been told for years and years, eating pasta can actually make you healthier. I clicked on it immediately, of course, hoping to find some hard facts and not just a clever pasta ad in disguise. Still skeptical after reading this article, I read another. And another. And another. And well, you get the point. So what exactly is the deal with all this new research? I looked it up so that you don't have to. Here's the TL;DR on the new supposed health benefits of eating more pasta.

What you've heard for years 

cheese, sauce, poutine, pasta, parmesan, penne
Maggie Gorman

Most of us have heard from one source or another that if you want to be healthier, you need to cut out most of your favorite breads and pastas. Many popular fitness stars and bloggers cite ditching carbs as the secret to dropping a few pounds, and diet programs like Atkins and South Beach have really brought all-protein-no-carb regimens into the limelight.

These programs do have a point. Simple, processed carbs convert quickly to sugar and can increase fat content in your blood. Carb-heavy foods are also typically high-calorie, which can lead to weight gain if you aren't using all the energy that these foods provide through your daily activities or exercise. For a long time, pasta was considered one of these "bad" carbs you should steer clear of. But is it really all that bad?

What the scientists are saying now

fettuccine, macaroni, vegetable, sauce, basil, spaghetti, pasta
Caty Schnack

Possibly sick of all the bad press their favorite food was getting, Italian scientists undertook a diet study with over 20,000 participants. Participants were surveyed on their eating habits and then tested for physical fitness. The results show that the "Mediterranean diet," in which grains like pasta are an important part, has no correlation with obesity. In fact, the opposite was indicated, as those who ate more pasta (as part of the Mediterranean diet also heavy on lean fish and fresh vegetables) had overall healthier BMIs and better fitness.

What does this mean?

cheese, macaroni, tomato, vegetable, basil, spaghetti, sauce, pasta
Judy Holtz

So, if eating more pasta means a healthier BMI, does that mean all we have to do to reach our New Year, New Me fitspo goals is eat plates and plates of spaghetti? Unfortunately, no. Life isn't that easy.

A big aspect of the Mediterranean diet is balance. While pasta is an important component, so are fresh vegetables, lean meats and seafood. But the next time someone tries to guilt you about the section of carbs on your plate, keep in mind what the Italians have seemingly known for years: pasta, in moderation, can be as good for your body as it is for your happiness. 

Feel like celebrating the good news? Check out some of my favorite Spoon recipes for pasta dishes. Buon Appetito!