Pasta may not be fattening after all
Even with the Mediterranean diet now surging in popularity, pasta is often rejected due to the belief that it contributes to weight gain. But you'll be glad to hear that new research claims the complete opposite to be true.
Two studies, examining the diets of over 23,000 adults living in the Molise region of Italy, found pasta consumption was associated with a lower prevalence of obesity. Researchers at the Department of Epidemiology, I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed in Pozzilli, Italy, wanted to take a closer look at pasta because while many studies have touted the health benefits of Mediterranean eating habits - rich in vegetables, fruit, fish, olive oil and whole grains - the role in pasta in that beneficial effect wasn't clear. Following the study, the Neuromed Institute's Licia Iacoviello said researchers saw no reason to exclude pasta from a healthy diet.
"In popular views pasta is often considered not adequate when you want to lose weight. And some people completely ban it from their meals," she explained. "In light of this research, we can say that this is not a correct attitude. We're talking about a fundamental component of Italian Mediterranean tradition, and there is no reason to do without it."
It appears that people who ate pasta were more likely to follow the Mediterranean diet as a whole, so to the extent that pasta enticed them in that direction, it helped them avoid obesity.
Meanwhile, it was also claimed that eating pasta as part of a balanced diet led to a healthy body mass index (BMI).
"By analysing anthropometric data of the participants and their eating habits, we have seen that consumption of pasta, contrary to what many think, is not associated with an increase in body weight, rather the opposite," said George Pounis, first author of the paper. "Our data show that enjoying pasta according to individuals' needs contributes to a healthy body mass index, lower waist circumference and better waist-hip ratio."
The research was published in journal Nutrition and Diabetes.