GO! Pesto™ - Does Pesto Make You Fat? - Is It Fattening? (2024)

by Michael Hawkins

GO! Pesto™ - Does Pesto Make You Fat? - Is It Fattening? (1)

Short answer
Many people ask us if pesto can make you fat, and the simple answer is that eating too much of it and not getting enough exercise can lead to weight gain.

Long answer
You may have seen jars of pesto in the supermarket slapped with red and amber warning labels, indicating high levels of fat and salt, respectively. That's largely down to the fact that most pesto sauces contain generous amounts of oil, nuts, and cheese. All three of these are high in fat and calories, so eating too much pesto, too regularly, and not getting enough exercise can ultimately be fattening.

There is one major caveat, though. There are so many pestos for sale these days that you cannot assume that they are all created equal. We've seen a truffle pesto that contains a whopping 61% fat, while we've seen a low-fat vegan pesto containing just 18%. Look at all the pestos for sale in the UK, though, and you'll find that, on average, they have a fat content of around 35%. In anyone's book, that's clearly a very high-fat food.

On the flip side, it's important to keepin mind that a little pesto goes a long way, and most of the time, people don’t need to use as much of it as they think. That's especially true if you stick to our recommended serving size and loosen your sauce with some of the starchy water your pasta cooked in.

Which brings us neatly onto pasta. One of the main problems with pesto is that it is mostly eaten with pasta. That means that you'll be eating a meal that is both high in fat and high in carbohydrates, and that’s not a great combination for people who are watching their weight.

Pesto is far more versatile than just being something to stir through pasta, though. One of our favourite, guilt-free ways to eat pesto is to use it in place of other high-fat condiments, such as mayonnaise. Pesto makes for a cracking BLT, and by switching the mayonnaise for pesto, you’ll probably find you’ll be using less and therefore actually saving calories.

It doesn't stop at sandwiches, though. A little dollop of pesto can instantly improve dips, soups, marinades, and so much more. We have a whole bunch of suggestions for other ways to use pesto here.

GO! Pesto™ - Does Pesto Make You Fat? - Is It Fattening? (2024)


GO! Pesto™ - Does Pesto Make You Fat? - Is It Fattening? ›

Most pestos are around 25-30% fat. That's enough for it to be slapped with a "red" warning symbol on the Food Standards Agency's traffic light system. On that basis, it's not recommended for anyone trying to lose weight or for those following a low-fat diet.

Can you eat pesto and lose weight? ›

Given all of the above, pesto can undoubtedly be considered a healthy food, and as long as you keep track of portions, it can also be part of a diet that supports a healthy weight. Pesto is nutrient-dense, and because of its fat content, it's also calorically dense.

How fattening is pesto? ›

Because its ingredients include olive oil, nuts, and cheese, pesto can be high in calories and fat. However, the fat is primarily unsaturated and may have heart health benefits. Pesto is also full of antioxidants that can help protect your cells from damage.

Is eating too much pesto bad for you? ›

A. While pesto has impressive amounts of nutrition, it's still not the healthiest sauce. It would be best to eat it in moderation because pesto contains fats and calories from olive oil and nuts. Moreover, it is higher in fat and calories than most tomato-based sauces.

Is pesto healthy for your stomach? ›

Studies on Pesto and Digestive Health

However, studies on the individual ingredients of pesto, such as basil and garlic, suggest potential benefits for digestive health. For example, basil has been found to possess anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that may help alleviate symptoms associated with IBS.

Is pesto healthier than tomato? ›

As you would expect, pesto's wider variety of ingredients means it does slightly better in the vitamin and mineral stakes. Pesto outsmarts tomato sauce in many of these, but the pasta sauce still provides a sizeable chunk of your recommended daily targets.

How much pesto should you eat? ›

No matter which tummy trouble you're experiencing, you should take 1 dose of Pepto Bismol every half hour to hour until you feel better, but do not take more than 8 doses in a 24-hour period.

Can you eat pesto straight from the jar? ›

Yes, pesto can be used straight from the jar and doesn't require cooking or heating. In fact, we actively discourage applying too much heat to pesto, as this will destroy many of the fresh flavours that producers work so hard to retain.

Is pesto healthier than mayonnaise? ›

When you compare our pesto to classic Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise, there is no doubt that ours is lower in fat and calories, higher in nutrients, and, we think, a lot tastier too! Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise contains over 700 calories per 100g, while our sauces generally clock in around half of that. So, 1-0 to pesto.

How many calories in a spoonful of pesto? ›

How Many Calories Are There In Pesto?
1 tbsp56kcal
2 tbsp112kcal
3 tbsp168kcal
4 tbsp224kcal
2 more rows
Jan 22, 2023

Why do I feel weird after eating pesto? ›

If, after savoring pesto, you encounter symptoms such as itching in the mouth, hives, digestive distress, or even severe reactions like difficulty breathing or anaphylaxis, it's plausible that an allergy is present.

Is supermarket pesto healthy? ›

On its own, pesto is a healthy ingredient, especially if made fresh and contains good quality olive oil. It's a fairly unprocessed sauce, but it can have levels of salt that are verging on high, so a healthier option is to go for 'low-salt' varieties.

How long does pesto last in the fridge? ›

Pesto will last in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. If you've stored it in the freezer, it will last for 6 months. When you're ready to use frozen pesto, thaw it overnight in the fridge or place the container of pesto in a bowl of warm water for a quicker thawing time.

Is pesto OK for weight loss? ›

Is Pesto OK for Weight Loss? I'm a true believer that any food can fit into your diet, even if you're trying to lose weight. Pesto is flavorful and bright and can liven up vegetables, pizza, potatoes and pasta. It's also high in healthy fats, which help keep you satisfied.

Is pesto a high fat food? ›

Nearly 60% of the calories in pesto are from fats, which come from olive oil, cheese, and pine nuts. There are 9.47 grams of fats per spoonful, which includes 5.63 grams of monounsaturated fatty acids, 1.53 grams of saturated fatty acids, and 1.68 grams of polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Can pesto make you gassy? ›

Most pesto varieties contain parmesan cheese, which is high in lactose. Lactose intolerance is a common cause of digestive discomfort, and individuals with IBS who are sensitive to lactose may experience bloating, gas, diarrhea, and other symptoms.

How many calories in a plate of pasta with pesto? ›

Pasta With Pesto Sauce, Noodles (1 cup) contains 27.8g total carbs, 25.8g net carbs, 25.3g fat, 11.1g protein, and 377 calories.

Does pesto count as 5 a day? ›

Even though pesto is packed full of vitamins, iron, calcium, and healthy fats, sadly, it doesn't contribute anything towards your 5 a day.

Can you just eat pesto? ›

Yes, pesto can be used straight from the jar and doesn't require cooking or heating.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Nathanial Hackett

Last Updated:

Views: 5603

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (52 voted)

Reviews: 91% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nathanial Hackett

Birthday: 1997-10-09

Address: Apt. 935 264 Abshire Canyon, South Nerissachester, NM 01800

Phone: +9752624861224

Job: Forward Technology Assistant

Hobby: Listening to music, Shopping, Vacation, Baton twirling, Flower arranging, Blacksmithing, Do it yourself

Introduction: My name is Nathanial Hackett, I am a lovely, curious, smiling, lively, thoughtful, courageous, lively person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.