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The main advantage of pasta is that it has a low glycaemic (GI) index: it's lower than 50 (for comparitive purposes, sucrose has a GI of 100). The result is that the carbohydrate is slowly absorbed by the body, which prevents hunger pangs and therefore stops you snacking on fatty or sugary foods.
This is why pasta is recommended for everybody, whether you're a gym-goer or a coach potato, slim or overweight.
As for whole pasta, it contains excellent amounts of fibre, B vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, which are essential for a balanced diet.