Spaghetti. Rigatoni. Fettuccini. It’s everyone’s favorite — pasta — and Italian lovers everywhere can rejoice over new research that reveals the popular pantry item won’t make you fat.

While the joys of pasta are undeniable (is there anyone out there who doesn’t love diving into a big bowl of bolognese?) its healthfulness has always been in question. In recent years, low-carb options like quinoa have taken a bite out of pasta sales as health-minded adults feared packing on the pounds.

But science now tells us, that eating a portion of penne up to three time a week won’t make you fat, and it might even help you slim down.

Researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto conducted 30 randomized control trials involving nearly 2,500 people who replaced their regular carbohydrates with pasta as part of a healthy low-glycemic index diet.

The findings? Pasta doesn’t not cause you to put on extra body fat.

“The study found that pasta didn’t contribute to weight gain or increase in body fat,” said the study’s lead author Dr. John Sievenpiper, a clinician scientists with the hospital’s Clinical Nutrition and Risk Modification Centre. “In fact, analysis actually shows a small weight loss.”

Study participants were served 3.3 servings of pasta every week, in place of other carbohydrates they may have consumed. Each serving was about one-half cup of cooked pasta. On average, the participants lost 1.1 pounds over the course of the 12 week study.

The results of the review were recently published in the journal of BMJ Open.

Officials stressed that the results of the study are specific to eating pasta along in conjunction with a low-glycemic index diet. More research is needed to determine if the lack of weight gain extends to other healthy diets.

“In weighing evidence, we can now say with some confidence that pasta does not have ad advise effect on body weight outcomes when it is consumed as part of a healthy dietary pattern,” said Dr. Sievenpiper.

The misunderstanding that pasta is inherently bad for you comes from the argument of “good” carbs and “bad” carbs. Dietitians agree that you should avoid bad carbs, or carbs with a high glycemic index — basically, foods that your body processes as straight up sugar like chocolate cake and Wonder Bread. When compared to other carbs, pasta actually has a low glycemic index, so it shouldn’t be put in the same category.

This is excellent news for pasta lovers, but still, everything in moderation. You can’t start throwing back bowls of carbonara and eat Twinkies and McDonalds for your other meals and expect not to see your waistline balloon. However, a few sensible portions of marinara a week can be part of a healthy diet. So don’t feel guilty about giving in to those craving when they hit!

Now, go forth and fill your stomach with the fettuccini.

(h/t Business Insider)

Also see, Citrusy penne with peas, green beans and almonds.

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Meghan is a full-time writer exploring the fun facts behind food. She lives a healthy lifestyle but lives for breakfast, dessert and anything with marinara. She’s thrown away just as many meals as she’s proud of.