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Pasta Will Not Make You Gain Weight, Study Shows

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A new study shows that pasta won’t help you gain weight and can even reduce the chances of obesity. The research was conducted by Italian scientists, of course.

The researchers conducted two studies on the diets of more than 23,000 adults in the Molise region and the rest of Italy. They used the Italian Nutrition and Health Survey and the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition to gather and review data on diets and body weight.

After analysis, the researchers found that pasta intake was linked with a lower risk for obesity and a healthy body mass index (BMI), the Independent reports.

The reason behind the study was that although pasta is a significant part of the Mediterranean diet in Italy, it has not been studied in detail as to its relationship with body weight and body mass index.

The conclusion showed that pasta was associated with the healthy Mediterranean diet. A Mediterranean diet, which is rich in olive oil, fruit, fish, vegetables and whole grains, has been found to by previous studies to be better for overall health, a lower chance for heart disease and strokes, and serve as some protection against Alzheimer’s disease. It was not, as many assume, fattening.

However, researchers at Neuromed (Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo) in Pozzilli, Italy, also found that the correlation between pasta consumption and a healthy BMI was not directly affected by how much a person followed the Mediterranean diet.

George Punis, lead author on the study, said, “We have seen that consumption of pasta, contrary to what many think, is not associated with an increase in body weight, rather the opposite.” He added,

Our data shows that enjoying pasta according to individuals’ needs contributes to a healthy body mass index, lower waist circumference and better waist-hip ratio.

Licia Iacoviello, head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology at Neuromed Institute, said that popular opinion has made it so that pasta is considered to be detrimental to weight loss, with some people banning it from their meals. She said, “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.”

Dr. Gunter Kuhnle, an associate professor in nutrition and health at the University of Reading, UK, said that the pasta intake in the Italian study was not seen in isolation but rather as part of a dietary pattern.

He said that people in the study who consumed a lot of pasta also followed the Mediterranean diet, so pasta could be a marker for sticking to this kind of diet. He does admit that, “It is wrong to demonise carbohydrates as the data clearly show that consumption of a carbohydrate-rich food such as pasta does not have to have an adverse effect on body weight.”

The study was published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes.


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