Eating pasta does not contribute to obesity and is associated with a reduction in body mass index. This truly “Italian good news” came out as result of a new study conduct from the IRCCS Neuromed Institute in Italy.
The study was started by the group of researchers in the year 2005 and, after a long period of 11 years, it was published in the Journal of Nutrition and Diabetes. At the heart of the study, a new survey of more than 23,000 adults in Italy found that this fundamental element of Italian’s Mediterranean diet is linked to the reduced likelihood of abdominal obesity.
The authors of the study have seen that consumption of pasta, contrary to what many think, is not associated with an increase in body weight, rather the opposite. The 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 study said pasta consumption is associated with better weight management in part because it often occurs as part of a healthy Mediterranean diet. But the researchers also found that the correlation between pasta intake and lower obesity rates occurred independently of overall diet.
Pasta and the demonization of carbohydrates
The publication of the paper comes in the middle of a fierce debate between supporters of different dietary advice, those advocates of eating a wholesome intake of carbohydrates but small amounts of fat, and those who argue that fat is not fattening but that carbohydrates should be avoided.
A nutrition professor at the University of Reading tells the Telegraph that the results appear solid, with pasta intake in this case demonstrating adherence to the Mediterranean diet: “These results clearly show that it is wrong to demonize carbohydrates as the data clearly show that consumption of a carbohydrate-rich food such as pasta does not have an adverse effect on body weight,” he says.
The role of Pasta in the Mediterranean diet
Many previous studies have demonstrated how a Mediterranean diet, with its heavy emphasis on fruit, vegetables, fish and whole grains, is one of the healthiest nutritional regimes in the world. However, very little researches has studied the specific role of pasta.
Licia Lacoviello, head of molecular and nutritional epidemiology at the Neuromed Institute, said the current trend of people cutting out pasta from their diets in an effort to lose weight is unjustified. Even though the researchers support the consumption of pasta, they insist on the importance of having a healthy balanced diet.