Evidence That Pasta is Good for the Earth

Read this article from the second issue of The Truth About Pasta, the new monthly newsletter from the International Pasta Organization. Each month’s newsletter will feature a new and different topic — all pointing to The Truth About Pasta.

Pasta is well known as a delicious food with a rich culinary history, but many are pleased to learn that it’s also a sustainable food choice. After all, sustainable diets (which feature fruits, vegetables, and grains) are now at the center of food and nutrition debates, and are even being recommended by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (the group of nutrition scientists responsible for suggesting changes to the US Dietary Guidelines, which gets updated every 5 years). Similarly, other countries are also prioritizing sustainable diets. In the Dietary Guidelines for the Brazilian Population, revised in 2014, the Ministry of Health of Brazil affirms that “healthy diets derive from socially and environmentally sustainable food systems.”

Grain foods, like pasta, have been at the core of traditional diets for centuries, and as scientists assess the risks and benefits of different food production systems, it is easy to see why. Fruits and vegetables, while very nutritious, aren’t as energy dense as pasta, and are harder to grow, transport, and store for year-round enjoyment. So to provide the necessary calories in fruits and vegetables — instead of grains — much more food would have to be grown.

Thankfully, pasta is one of the least intensive foods to produce. Because of its culinary versatility, pasta also discourages food waste. After all, few other foods can so beautifully transform a hodgepodge of leftover vegetables and food scraps into a hearty, gourmet meal. The recipe below — Spaghetti Tortilla — is a perfect way to use leftover pasta!

We are increasingly learning that the health of our bodies is greatly intertwined with the health of the planet, and pasta is a prime example of this relationship.