After what seems like years of demonizing all forms of carbs, researchers have released new information of the world’s favorite food to hate, pasta. The outlook is good. Studies link eating pasta in moderation may actually help you lose weight and lower your BMI.
Before you run out to the bottomless pasta bowl bar nearby, consider the new facts on pasta, specifically noodles, and how it may be a good addition to your diet, but not a staple for optimal health.
A recent study on the benefits of eating a Mediterranean Diet, analyzed food intake of thousands of Italians. Results showed that pasta consumed in moderation seemed to lower general and abdominal obesity rates. Enjoying the pasta according to a person’s energy requirements actually helped them maintain their weight, lower waist size and improve the waist-hip ratio.
The Mediterranean people have been known for their heart-healthy diets, which mainly focus on fresh produce, grains, olive oil, fish, and poultry, but never before have we understood the health benefits of the pasta they consume on a regular basis, until now.
Italians eat pasta mainly as a side dish or second course, which means in smaller portions. Therefore, it is not a binge worthy food item or a guilty pleasure. It is just part of the regular meal, and now we know it is also not fattening. In fact, when you eat pasta as the Italians eat it, it may actually help you maintain or lose weight.
The study, which analyzed over 23,000 Italians’ eating habits from all over the county, did show however that overeating pasta was linked to gaining weight and obesity. Most of the obese Italians were older, of a lower economic status, and ate more pasta per day than the average Italian.
These findings seem to align with the colloquial wisdom of “all things in moderation,” or “a little is a good thing, a lot is a bad thing.” The study, which was headed up by the Italian Nutrition and Health Survey and the Moli-sani Project, did not specify how much pasta per day or week could actually cause obesity. The main finding of the study was that based on your caloric needs, physical activity, etc., pasta can be good for your health and should not be ruled out of your diet.
Pasta lovers around the world rejoice at the news. If we can learn to eat this Italian favorite as the Italians do, we will be in good shape.