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pasta

If like us, you love nothing more than a big dirty helping of spaghetti carbonara, then oh boy, have we got news for you. 

We've long been told that our infatuation with pasta isn't doing us any favours – mostly due to the high carbohydrate content and low vitamin and mineral count – but to be honest, that has never stopped us from indulging in our favourite dishes. 

However, it seems we no longer need to feel guilty about our dinner choices, because new research suggests that the Italian staple isn't the carb-loaded monster we were once led to believe. 

In fact, scientists have discovered that including pasta as part of a balanced diet may actually contribute to healthy weight loss. 

Published in BMJ Open, the study looked at how pasta consumption impacted the body weight and BMI of 2,488 participants. 

Those taking part in the study ate an average of 3.3 serving of pasts per week in conjunction with a low-GI (low-glycemic) diet. 

Unlike other refined carbohydrates such as white bread and potatoes, pasta typically has a low-GI, meaning it raises your blood sugar at a slower pace. 

Result showed that participants who ate pasta rather than other refined carbohydrates actually lost a small amount of weight during the study. 

"The study found that that pasta didn’t contribute to weight gain or increase in body fat,” said Dr John Sievenpiper, consultant physician at St Michael’s Hospital and lead author of the study.

"In fact analysis actually showed a small weight loss. So contrary to concerns, perhaps pasta can be part of a healthy diet such as low-GI diet."

And while the discovery doesn't actually prove that pasta is some kind of miracle weight loss aid, it does show that it can be enjoyed without packing on the pounds. 

"In weighing the evidence, we can now say with some confidence that pasta does not have an adverse effect on body weight outcomes when it is consumed as part of a healthy dietary pattern."

More research needs to be conducted as to whether the effect would be seen when combined with a different type of diet, but for now, we'll enjoy our bolognese in peace. 

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We've heard it time and time again.

Thanks to various diets such as Atkins and Paleo, it has become more and more common to hear your mate say, 'I'm cutting out ALL carbs this week' when she wants to lose a few inches.

Of course, most people give up within a few days (or hours) because bread and pasta… glorious.

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However, a new study has revealed that pasta isn't that bad, and can actually help you along the way to becoming a healthier person.

Department of Epidemiology at the Institute for Research, Hospitalization, and Health Care in Italy analysed the eating habits of 23,000 people.

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Out of all the participants, they found that those who ate pasta regularly had a reduced likelihood of being obese.

"Our data shows that enjoying pasta according to individuals' needs contributes to a healthy body mass index, lower waist circumference, and better waist-hip ratio," George Pounis, the author of the study wrote.

pasta

Taking a line from the Mediterranean diet, which has been proved to be one of the healthiest, pasta is a "fundamental" part and cutting it out to lose weight is not the "correct attitude."

Well, pass the Carbonara then.

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Cheap, quick to make, so delicious: what's not to like about pasta and noodles?

While we often just throw half a pack of pasta into boiling water, open a jar of ready-made sauce and hope for the best, there are ways to make your pasta dish extra tasty.

Try the recipes below to spice up your pasta and noodle game! 

1. Red pesto spaghetti

2. Prawn pad thai

3. Chicken fajita pasta

4. Stuffed conchiglione

5. Stir-fried chilli beef

6. Creamy carbonara

7. Tagliatelle with pancetta, olives and crème fraîche

8. Chicken with asparagus and penne pasta

9. Stir-fried ginger chicken

 

 

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Did you know that pasta are considered a healthy food? According to some studies, it can even promote weight-loss. 

So, let's not waste anymore time banning carbs from our diet and start enjoying them guilt-free – that is, of course, if you don't add the whole pack of cheese or a tub of cream to your plate…

The following recipes are tried and tested favourites that certainly won't hurt your waistline, and satisfy your carbs cravings. 

1. Avocado pesto pasta

 

2. Spaghetti and meatballs

3. Spinach and pine nut gnocchi

4. Chicken fettuccine

5. Fettuccine Alfredo

6. Butternut squash and pancetta pasta

7. Ultimate spaghetti carbonara

8. Rigatoni with beef and aubergine ragu

9. Red wine pasta

10. Roasted tomato chicken pasta

 

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Among the many exciting European cities I have been lucky enough to visit, Rome holds a special place in my heart.

Aesthetically, it is one of the most beautiful places you will ever get to see; culturally, you can discover some truly incredible artwork, feeling like you are walking in an open air museum; foodwise, it offers some of the best food you could dream of.

While the offer is overabundant and overall quite affordable, here are some tried and tested places we seriously recommend if you are planning a trip to the Italian capital this summer.

1. Matricianella

 

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A few steps from the Borghese Palace, Matricianella is an old trattoria with checked tablecloths, black-and-white-dressed waiters and a menu that will make you drool.

Go for the Taglioni al tartuffo (the truffle pasta), they are a proper masterpiece.

2. Trattoria Da Teo

 

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Located in the gorgeous neighbourhood of Trastevere, this small eatery offers the most typically Roman experience.

Get a table outside and order some pasta, it will probably be the best ones you have ever tasted – we particularly recommend the Spaghetti alle Vongole. 

3. Pizzeria Ostiense

Roman pizzas are quite different to the thick doughy Neapolitan-style pizza we are mostly used to. Paper-thin, with simple yet tasty topping, it makes for a whole new pizza experience.

In the hip neighbourhood of Testaccio, we recommend Pizzeria Ostiense, loved by the locals. You are in for a treat!

4. Giolitti

 

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Open since 1900, this gelateria can be considered a landmark at that stage and some consider it the best one in Rome. 

Don't be repelled by the queue and the absolute mayhem inside the shop. Your ice-cream will be 100% worth it.

5. Al Moro

 

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Located near the Trevi Fountain, Al Moro is a high-end, 1920s wood-paneled restaurant with a classic Roman menu.

Offering excellent traditional and seasonal dishes, this historic eatery will provide a fabulous Roman experience. 

6. Pasticceria Regoli

 

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This family run pastry shop has been serving sweet delicacies since 1916 and is a highly popular shop among the Romans.

Get a selection of pastries and unapologetically make a meal out of it, you won't regret it!

Featured image: Instagram @ken_loh

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Sometimes, all you need is a great bowl of pasta.

And while it is arguably the easiest food to cook, some Dublin restaurants have raised the bar so high their pasta could compete with what you would get in the best trattoria in Rome.

Unfortunately, we can't jet to Italy every time we crave a good plate of pesto pasta, so we have done a quick survey in the SHEmazing HQ to help you find some fabulous pasta around Dublin.

1. Host

Host is certainly one of the best restaurant openings of the past few months in Dublin. 

With its gorgeous small plates to share, this Ranelagh eatery combines incredible food, super friendly staff and trendy yet relaxed atmosphere. 

All their pasta are homemade and since we couldn't decide which one is the best between the Pumpkin cappellacci, the Duck pappardelle or the Taglioni with nduja and mussels, we'd just suggest you get them all.

2. Il Vicoletto

Located in the heart of Temple Bar, Il Vicoletto offers the most authentic Central-Northern Italian cuisine.

Using the freshest ingredients from Ireland and Italy, their hand made pasta are just as good as what you would get in Rome or Milan.

3. Terra Madre

This small cafe located between the Ha’penny and O’Connell Bridge is the perfect spot for an intimate fuss-free dinner date. 

Perfect if you want to impress a foodie, its home-style cooking will make you feel you are eating at your granny's – if she was Italian. 

4. That's Amore 

There is a reason why this place gets booked out weeks in advance. 

Famous for their antipasti, meats and pizza, the Monkstown gem also serves incredible Seafood linguine and Tortellini al tartufo to die for in a very cosy atmosphere, which is why it is so close to the heart of Clare, our lovely MummyPages writer.

5. Cafe Cucina

 

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The tiny eatery on Parnell st. is an absolute favourite of Katie, our talented MagicMum writer.

Run by Italians, it offers fantastic pasta dishes at a very affordable price.

6. The Hungry Duck

 

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According to Jolie, our brilliant Business Development Manager, this Walkinstown gem has an amazing linguine on their dinner menu, made with locally produced ingredients. 

It also serves a gorgeous brunch at the weekend. 

7. Pete's of Sandymount

Rebecca, SHEmazing's fab deputy editor, is a regular of Pete's of Sandymount for a very good reason. "It has the most delicious pasta pesto! I don't know what they do to it, but it is like CRACK", she says.

The fact that they have a Ladies' Night on Wednesday, when tables of just women can enjoy half price food, could explain it as well. 

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If you love eating pizza and pasta, then this theme park is going to be your dream home.

Famous Italian restaurant, Eataly, has announced that it will open a part-entertainment, part-'edutainment' theme park in Bologna, Italy.

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Named FICO Eatery World, the tourist attraction is aimed to educate visitors about Italian home-grown food.

Bloomberg reports that the 20-acre park is going to have various orchards, pastures and gardens, as well as 25 restaurants and 40 workshops where visitors can learn about and create their own meals.

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It will also include a really cute green market, where you can buy the produce that is grown all around the park.

And the creators, Mario Bataly and Joe Bastianich, are certainly sparing no expense, forking out a massive €99m to make the park a success.

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It's planned to open in September 2017, but we already want to be there…

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‘Round SHEmazing! Towers we’re fond of the odd little indulgence.

Simple things like shameless lie-ins, cheeky afternoon pints, pay-day splurges and epic Netflix binges.

But what trumps them all? Why that would be the humble food-group known affectionately as ‘all the carbs, please’.

Because while some folk love chocolate, and others lust after a chilled glass of Pinot Grigio, we’re in a fully-committed, long-term relationship with bread, pasta, potatoes, and crackers and cheese.

You too? Here are the six signs to look out for:

 

You’re a bonafide breadophile:

It’s not simply a case of ‘brown or white’ – no siree. That’s because you know your wholemeal stoneground soda from your brown round soda. Chia-seed cob? Yes please. Rye sourdough with sunflower seeds? Why not.

FYI, Supervalu has launched a new range of bread and cakes and suffice to say just looking at the range sent us to our happy place.

 

A fry is the breakfast of kings:

Beans, a treble round of white sliced pan with butter, and salty hash browns piled high. You’re happy to throw in a couple of fried eggs to make it ‘healthy,’ but there’s no denying that the ultimate breakfast fry has its very foundations in pure stodge.

 

Chicken fillet roll with mayo:

Hit your local deli counter; ask them to take their freshest, warmest baquette. See it filled with spicy breaded chicken, lashings of mayo, and possibly a hint of ‘special sauce’. The result? A small sample of delicious carb heaven. Acceptable – nay, celebrated – at any time of the day.  Those with notions might even be tempted to through in a bit of iceberg lettuce.

Cereal makes for a delightful dinner:

You laugh in the face of the recommended 30g serving. Instead, a pasta bowl is your vessel; a family-sized box of Alpen your cargo as you navigate through an late-evening carb-binge. The perfection solution for when you’re too lazy to make dinner, and too poor to order it.

 

The perfect marriage: crisps and bread:

 

Chip… just chips:

You look your server straight in the eye as you tell them that you will be requiring 'LOADS of salt and vinegar'. Afterwards, you eat them on the hoof, delightfully scorching your mouth on the first few burning-hot specimens. A dud bag is tragic – but a heralded perfect concoction is one of life's great pleasures. 

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This generation has been brought up to see carbs as the 'bad guys' (thanks, Atkins).

However, stuffing your face with a mighty plate of carbonara isn't all that bad… It's actually kinda good for you.

In a new study published in the Nutrition & Diabetes Journal, it found that pasta is better for your waistline, and doesn't make you put on weight – if eaten in moderation, obvs.

Researchers studied the diets and BMIs of more than 23,000 people, and found NO link between eating pasta and gaining a few pounds.

It even revealed that people who eat pasta on a regular basis had a "lower waist circumference and better waist-hip ratio."

Co-author of the study, George Pounis said: "By analysing anthropometric data of the participants and their eating habits we have seen that consumption of pasta, contrary to what many think, is not associated with an increase in body weight, rather the opposite.

"Our data shows that enjoying pasta according to individuals' needs contributes to a healthy body mass index, lower waist circumference and better waist-hip ratio."

However, don't go buying a month-supply of microwave carbonara and spag-bol, as they note the key to pasta being healthy is if you team it with lots of healthy fats like olive oil, veggies and fish.

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Sometimes we just can't let go of our favourite food (no matter how unhealthy it is). But if you want to mix up your meals a bit, these healthy swaps are an easy substitute to get your diet right on track.

Just try these five delicious dishes for a new superfood spin:

Swap rice for cauliflower

Yes, we might have hated cauliflower as kids, but it really isn't that bad. By just adding a little lime, coriander, salt and pepper, you are turning this vegetable into a gorgeous substitute for rice.

Whether you don't have a spare half hour to make the grain or you're just craving a lighter alternative, cauliflower is the way to go. 

 

Swap pasta for courgette

Pasta is something we could eat everyday for the rest of our lives, but it can still sit a little heavy. 

Every so often a tasty vegetable substitute is a great alternative – and a courgette is that vegetable. Tear off strips with a potato peeler or buy yourself a cool spiral slicer to make trendy courgetti. 

 

Swap white potato for sweet potato

Some people assume sweet potato is the boring cousin of our beloved spud, but with a little chopping, some oil and some baking, the sweet potato turns into a delicious bowl of crispiness. 

It's also sweeter and more nutritious than your average chips. 

 

Swap mayonnaise for Greek yoghurt

Mayo is something we all love to have in our sandwiches, even if we don't know it's there. 

Sometimes it can get a little boring so if you want a change-up opt for some Greek yoghurt. We know it might sound odd, but trust us, by just adding some herbs, lemon juice and a bit of seasoning, you might never go back to mayo. 

 

Swap croutons for nuts

We're forever being reminded of the health benefits of nuts but unless they're wrapped in Cadbury's chocolate and presented to us in bar form, we rarely eat enough of them. 

One way around this is chopping them up and putting them into your salad. It's much healthier and way tastier than oily, starchy croutons. 

 

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The most Instagrammed food is surprising, BUT we love it!

Yes, brightly iced doughnuts can step aside. Macarons, your time has passed – because IG have crowned pizza its new 'it' food!

Vice reports that the cheesy Italian dish is the most photographed food on IG. The study was carried out by chef Alessio Mecozzi and PR firm Klaus Davi. 

The researchers poured through 300m food photos uploaded onto IG and found that 17m of them had the hashtag #pizza added to it. 

Not surprisingly, New York had the most pizza photos, hogging 6.1 percent of all pizza pics around the world. 

Pizza is one of those Internet-friendly foods with a cult following, producing countless memes and even emoji delivery orders. It also doesn't hurt that celebrities like Chrissy Teigen and Jennifer Lawrance are totally obsessed, too. 

Sushi ranked in second place in the study, followed closely by pasta. 

But we have to say, we think pizza is No. 1 too.

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With Hollywood’s hottest women all boasting gluten-free diets, it sure does seem like there is method to their madness.

We’re talking Zooey Deschanel, Miley Cyrus, Victoria Beckham and Gwyneth Paltrow, to name but a few.

Sure, we would all love to look like them but when the other option is eating a big bowl of spaghetti Bolognese and a slab of garlic bread… is giving it all up really worth it?

Thankfully, we now no longer have to make that choice.

Pasta with benefits’ has just been launched by the family-owned company, Leaves.

The company is run by husband and wife, Nico Oliveri and Sabine Hobbel. Sabine is a Dutch elite athlete and health researcher and her husband is an Italian chef who was determined to find a suitable pasta alternative after he discovered he had a wheat intolerance.

And their answer was the world’s first pasta with benefits. Made of entirely chickpeas and buckwheat, it contains 50 percent more protein and three times more fibre than regular pasta.

It is also the only pasta in the world that can provide all the essential amino-acids as well as being high in 10 key minerals and vitamins.

Finally, a pasta that we can enjoy and not feel guilty (or bloated) about afterwards.

It can be purchased online or in select Supervalu and specialty stores throughout the country. 

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