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By Collin Roegner

Pasta is better than ever and healthier than many options

Pasta has become less popular over the years, but it certainly has the chance to regain favorability among consumers. Due to dietary trends such as Paleo and Atkins, today's dieter has been warned off of carbohydrates in a manner that has seen them almost vilified. The idea that carbohydrates will automatically make a person gain weight seems to have taken hold of a great number of people. This is not surprising when you consider the fact that most people have never had in-depth schooling on the subject of proper nutrition.

Fortunately, pasta makers have gone the route of making pasta a smarter choice for the consumer by offering a variety of wheat alternatives in their recipes. For the Paleo followers, companies are now offering pastas that include chickpea, quinoa or vegetables. Consumers have the choice of skirting away from high-carb selections and choosing selections high in protein or low in calories. Chickpea and quinoa pasta offer a healthy dose of protein for those seeking alternatives to meats and dairy. Vegetable-based pastas, such as zucchini or cucumber, offer a filling yet low-calorie choice for those looking to lose weight.

The rise in gluten-intolerant individuals over the last decade has also led to a few other alternatives to the traditional wheat pasta, which has led to more and more choices that are favorable for all. Chia pasta offers a high dose of essential nutrients and serves as a significant source of dietary fiber. Brown rice pasta is a smart alternative to wheat pasta because it is comprised of "good" carbs instead of the "bad" carbs that are often criticized in traditional pastas. Lentil pastas are also a great alternative because they are a source of both protein and fiber. These alternatives all have their upsides and make a healthy addition to any diet.

So while pasta may have become unpopular with some, it has the potential to make a comeback. In fact, it is in a position to become more popular than ever. Pasta has undergone a diversification that has put it in a position to satisfy a much wider customer base. By offering so many alternatives to traditional pasta, dieters and non-dieters have so many options available to them that there is no reason to shy away from the dishes they enjoy. Traditional pasta can still be enjoyed by those who have no qualms about making it a part of their diet. On the other side of the coin, those who seek to limit foods that have been defined as destructive to dietary goals can find a wide variety of pastas that actually give them a serving of necessary nutrients.

It has been interesting to see the way the pasta industry has successfully evolved over the years. Instead of dying out or caving in to the carb-conscious customers, pasta has grown into a potentially larger player in the food market. Smart thinking has capitalized on the adaptability of pasta and made for a stronger product offering.

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