Italian researchers have found that eating pasta can help lower weight. But dietitians warn that doesn't mean you can eat bowls of it.
Pasta consumption may assist with weight loss and lower BMI, a new Italian study has found.
Although the Mediterranean diet has long been considered one of the healthiest in the world, its traditional component, pasta, has never been epidemiologically analysed.
For the first time, researchers from the Italian Istituto Nerologico Mediterraneo studied more than 23,000 people in two groups - one group of over 35-year-olds from the Molise region, and another group of over-18s from across Italy.
The study evaluated the association of pasta intake with body mass index and waist-to-hip-ratio and found that pasta consumption is associated with a "lower prevalence" of weight gain and obesity.
The results, published in 'Nutrition and Diabetes', are in agreement with recent US and Greek studies, supporting a favorable role of carbohydrate intake on weightloss and dealing with obesity.
Corresponding author Licia Iacoviello said that bad pasta press has lead to a decrease in consumption over the past decade.
She argues “there is no reason to do without it”, and suggests is best consumed with “tomato, legumes, fish, vegetables and extra virgin olive oil – but not meat or animal fats.”
Dietitians Association of Australia spokeswoman Simone Austin was not surprised with the findings but says the research shows we need to look at our diets holistically, and does not mean we should all start eating bowls of plain pasta.
“It’s more than just looking at the pasta in this study, it’s everything else that’s eaten with it,” she told SBS.
The next step for researches is to further evaluate food groups most commonly associated with pasta consumption and the Mediterranean diet.