Pasta Not as Fattening as Previously Thought

Pasta consumption relates to slimmer bodies, a new study found.

Jun. 15, 2017
By Sheherzad Preisler

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Most peo­ple dis­miss pasta as an unhealthy” food — one that’s full of carbs and causes weight gain. Many try to cut it out com­pletely in an effort to drop some pounds, yet a study car­ried out in Pizzilli, Italy at the IRCCS Neuromed’s Department of Epidemiology sug­gests otherwise. 

The study, which mon­i­tored over 23,000 sub­jects, was pub­lished in Nutrition and Diabetes and may dis­prove the com­mon opin­ion that pasta, a sta­ple of the Mediterranean Diet, is fattening. 

A myr­iad of stud­ies has already shown that the Mediterranean diet is among the most healthy and weight-con­scious, so its inclu­sion of pasta has seemed ques­tion­able in the past. 

George Pounis, the study’s lead author, stated in a press release that con­sum­ing pasta in mod­er­a­tion can actu­ally lead to a health­ier body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio, and a smaller waist circumference. 

The head of the Neuromed Institute’s Laboratory of Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology Licia Iacoviello, explained in a press release that in pop­u­lar views, pasta is often con­sid­ered not ade­quate when you want to lose weight. And some peo­ple com­pletely ban it from their meals. 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.” 

In fact, eat­ing pasta is cor­re­lated with a lower chance of devel­op­ing abdom­i­nal and gen­eral obe­sity, accord­ing to the study, which exam­ined the par­tic­i­pants’ dietary habits as well as their anthro­po­met­ric data. This led Iacoviello to con­clude that adher­ing to the Mediterranean diet in all its glory is, over­all, ben­e­fi­cial to one’s health, and pasta is no cause for con­cern as long as one does not eat too much of it, as is the case with most foods. 

The research team exam­ined about 14,000 sub­jects 35 years or older from the Molise region of Italy and about 9,000 sub­jects below 18 from all over the coun­try in two dis­tinct analy­ses. To look into their diets, the sub­jects were asked to recall their intake over the last day and fill out the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)’s food fre­quency ques­tion­naire. They also mea­sured the sub­jects’ hip and waist cir­cum­fer­ences, heights, and weights. 

Interestingly enough, those who ate more pasta tended to bet­ter stick to the Mediterranean diet across the board. 

Furthermore, after math­e­mat­i­cal analy­ses were cor­rected for var­i­ous fac­tors, the con­sump­tion of pasta was neg­a­tively related to Body Mass Index as well as waist-to-hip-ratios and hip and waist circumferences. 

What the sci­en­tists found was that pasta con­sump­tion was related to slim­mer bod­ies and lower weight over­all. Being a sta­ple of the Mediterranean diet and the main ingre­di­ent in a vari­ety of deli­cious tra­di­tional dishes, we can all breathe a sigh of relief know­ing that we can have our pasta and eat it, too.

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