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Hi, I’m Alyssa! AKA, The PCOS Nutritionist Alyssa!

I’m a Registered Dietitian dedicated to helping you eliminate your PCOS symptoms with sustainable and realistic nutrition changes.

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Can I Eat Pasta With PCOS? A Dietitian’s Tips & Recipe

Can I eat pasta with PCOS? What’s the best pasta for PCOS? Should it be gluten free pasta?

As a PCOS registered dietitian, these are a few of the questions I get asked regularly. This blog post is going to dive into whether you can eat pasta with PCOS, what the best types of pasta are, and how to include it in a healthy PCOS diet. 

plate of pasta with a fork twirl of pasta; text overlay states the best pasta for pcos.

This post may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. 

Why Your Diet Matters With PCOS

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal condition that affects 6-12% of women of reproductive age in the United States. While the exact cause of PCOS remains unknown, it has been linked to insulin resistance, chronic inflammation, and high androgen levels (such as high testosterone levels). 

Common symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods, infertility, weight gain, cravings, hair loss, acne, fatigue, and hirsutism (aka excess hair growth). Unfortunately, if left unmanaged, PCOS can put you at an increased risk for developing certain health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. 

What a drag, right?! The good news is that the foods you eat can play a big role in reducing your PCOS symptoms and lowering your risk of chronic disease. That’s because your diet can directly impact your blood glucose levels (aka blood sugar levels), insulin sensitivity, and inflammation levels. 

For more info on how your diet impacts your PCOS and to grab a free meal plan too: A Dietitian’s 7 Day PCOS Diet Plan PDF

Ok, now let’s dive into how pasta can fit into a healthy PCOS diet.  

baked feta pasta with chicken in a white plate with a silver fork next to it.

Can You Eat Pasta With PCOS

Yes, of course, you can eat pasta if you have PCOS! There’s absolutely no reason to give up foods you enjoy when you have PCOS. You may just want to think about them a little differently. 

Since it has a higher amount of carbohydrate, pasta is one of those foods that gets a terrible reputation when it comes to “healthy eating”. 

Since many women with PCOS are insulin resistant, the main argument against eating pasta is that it will raise your blood sugar and lead to high insulin levels. While there is some truth to this argument, nutrition isn’t that black and white, and there’s actually a lot of nuance. 

Pasta actually has a low glycemic index, meaning it doesn’t actually raise your blood sugar very high. So what’s the gripe with pasta if it’s actually considered a low glycemic index food? Well, the typical amount of pasta that we eat in a meal tend to be much larger than a typical portion size – and with a large influx of any type of carbohydrate comes a bigger blood sugar rise. Nevertheless, there are many ways you can mitigate the blood sugar rise and prevent higher levels of insulin. 

Some of those ways include choosing a type of pasta that has healthy carbs and dietary fiber in it, which will slow down the blood sugar rise. Additionally, pairing your pasta with other nutrients will also help your blood sugar levels too. 

Let’s first talk about which types of pasta are good for PCOS!

Best Types of Pasta for PCOS

There are several different types of pasta to choose from at your local grocery store nowadays. Let’s discuss a few different types of pasta. 

White Pasta

Traditional white pasta is the pasta many of us grew up with. It’s made from wheat, typically a combination of semolina and durum wheat flour. 

Similar to white bread or white rice, white pasta isn’t a whole grain since it has had the bran, husk, and germ removed. When these parts of the grain are removed, most of the fiber and nutrients are also removed with it. 

After processing though, white pasta is usually enriched with certain nutrients like B vitamins and iron. White pasta has a low amount of fiber compared to some other pasta options though, with one cup having 2 grams of fiber. Fiber is particularly important for mitigating a blood sugar spike, improving gut health, and keeping you feeling full.

infographic on the nutritional breakdown for different types of pasta for pcos.

Whole Wheat Pasta

Whole wheat pasta is a whole grain and has a higher fiber content than traditional white pasta. It typically has about 4 grams of fiber per 1 cup serving, or about double the amount that white pasta has. 

Since whole wheat pasta isn’t typically enriched like white pasta, it tends to be lower in certain nutrients such as B vitamins. On the other hand, whole wheat pasta is naturally higher in other nutrients such as manganese, copper, magnesium, and phosphorus. 

This is one of my favorite whole grain spaghetti options. 

Legume Pasta

Chickpea pasta and lentil pasta have become popular pasta options in recent years. These pastas are made from either chickpeas or lentils. 

These tend to be whole grain options and higher in both fiber and protein compared to wheat pastas. While it can vary by brand, one cup of cooked chickpea pasta has approximately 8 grams of fiber and 12 grams of protein in it, which is double the amount that you’ll find in whole wheat pasta. 

Since they’re made from legumes, they’re naturally high in a lot of different nutrients such as iron, potassium, magnesium, folate, and zinc. Magnesium and zinc are two nutrients that may be needed in higher amounts for those of us with PCOS. Magnesium can especially help with lowering insulin levels and insulin resistance, while zinc is particularly helpful for lowering inflammation and androgens levels. 

For those who have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, another bonus is that chickpea pasta or lentil pasta are both naturally gluten-free.

This one and this one are two of my favorite legume pasta options.

Gluten Free Pasta

There’s a lot of misinformation about whether you should follow a gluten-free diet for PCOS. Spoiler: you don’t have to just because you have PCOS. 

But make sure you read all about the gluten & PCOS connection here: Gluten & PCOS – Do You Really Need To Go Gluten-Free?

The typical gluten-free pasta options are often made from combinations of rice flour and corn flour. Nutritionally, they will vary based upon which type of flour is used to make them. One thing that tends to be similar is that they’re usually low in fiber, usually 2 grams of fiber or less per serving.   

infographic on the best brands of pasta for pcos.

How To Include Pasta in a PCOS Friendly Diet

All types of pasta are going to be sources of carbohydrates. Carbs tend to have a more profound effect on blood sugar levels compared to protein or fat. This is why pasta usually gets a bad reputation, but honestly, carbs are necessary for a healthy diet. 

If you enjoy whole wheat pasta or one of the legume pastas like chickpea or lentil, these may be better options. These pastas have more fiber and other nutrients, like magnesium and zinc, that can benefit your PCOS. 

Regardless of the type of pasta you choose, you’ll want to balance it out with other nutrients that can keep your blood sugar levels more balanced, such as protein and fat.

Here are a few examples of each:

  • Lean Protein: poultry, lean red meat, fish, seafood, tofu, tempeh, edamame, beans
  • Healthy Fats: olive oil, avocado, fatty fish, nuts, seeds

If you need an easy PCOS-friendly way to enjoy your pasta, don’t miss my absolute favorite pasta dish: Baked Feta Pasta with Chicken.

baked feta pasta with chicken in a white plate.

FAQs

Is chickpea pasta good for PCOS?

Yes, chickpea pasta is good for PCOS. It has higher amounts of fiber and protein, which can help to keep your blood sugar levels more stable. 

Is whole wheat pasta good for PCOS?

Yes, whole wheat pasta is a good option for PCOS. It has more fiber and protein than traditional white pasta. If you pair it with some protein and fat, you’ll have a complete and balanced meal!

The Bottom Line

A balanced diet and lifestyle changes can help you manage the symptoms of polycystic ovary syndrome (aka PCOS). There are many different types of pasta to choose from at your local grocery stores. For those with PCOS, choosing a pasta with more fiber and nutrients may be advantageous. 

Whole wheat pasta, chickpea pasta, or lentil pasta are some of the best pasta choices for PCOS. Adding a source of protein and healthy fats to your pasta can make a complete, blood sugar-friendly meal for PCOS

Eating well for PCOS doesn’t need to be complicated! Let me help you keep things simple with my 3 week PCOS Meal Plan. It includes 3 weeks worth of meals, snacks, recipes, and weekly grocery lists to make your life easier, while also setting yourself up for success!

More PCOS Posts You’ll Love

What’s The Best Rice for PCOS?

PCOS Friendly Desserts: Store-Bought & Homemade Options

Best Bread Options For PCOS

Should You Go Dairy-Free for PCOS?

Disclaimer: this is for informational purposes only. It does not substitute for or replace professional medical advice. Always discuss your unique individual needs with your registered dietitian or healthcare provider.

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