Can I eat pasta if I have diabetes?

Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics

Yes, you can eat pasta if you have diabetes. Pasta is a source of carbohydrate with 1/3 cup cooked pasta containing 15 grams of carbohydrate (1 carb choice). One third cup of pasta is not a lot of pasta therefore a couple suggestions are to: 1) use two or three of your carbohydrate servings for pasta (2/3 to 1 cup of pasta); and 2) add low carbohydrate vegetables such as cooked, broccoli, carrots, zucchini squash, and green beans to your pasta dish to increase the volume of food without adding more carbohydrate to your meal. Serve your pasta and steamed vegetables with a lean protein choice (baked fish, beef tenderloin, or boneless, skinless chicken breast.

Jessica Crandall
Nutrition & Dietetics

You can most definitely eat pasta if you are diabetic. However there are specific guidelines you should follow in order to keep blood sugars normal:

  • Use whole wheat pasta that is enriched with fiber. This will slow down the digestion and not cause your blood sugars to rise as rapidly.
  • Choose a lean meat or protein to accompany the pasta. 
  • Make sure half of your plate is full of nonstarchy vegetables
  • Be sure to watch portion control and do not exceed 30-45 gm Carb from your pasta. Usually 2/3 cup pasta is a great portion!
  • Be sure to meet with a Registered Dietitian to calculate exactly how many Carbs per meal you should consume.

Think comforting bowls of pasta are off the menu because you have diabetes? Think again. Whole-grain pastas are a great source of B vitamins and fiber, and reduce inflammation in the blood vessels. However, this food does come with a couple warning flags. First, overcooking pasta raises its glycemic load (follow the package directions and pull the pasta off the heat when it's al dente). Second, beware of portion size. A good bet is to pair 1/2 to 1 cup of cooked pasta with a bevy of vegetables and a bit of lean protein and healthy fat for a dish that's easy on your blood sugar.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.