The journal Nutrition and Diabetes has recently shared some interesting research results. According to two large studies analyzing the consumption of pasta among 23,000 Italians in Pozzilli, Italy, pasta can actually lower body mass index when consumed in moderate amounts and lower the chance of obesity.
“Our data show that enjoying pasta according to individuals’ needs contributes to a healthy body mass index, lower waist circumference, and better waist-hip ratio,” said George Pounis, first author of the study.
The first study was the Moli-sani Project, which observed citizens living in the Molise region of Italy. The second study was called the Italian Nutrition and Health Survey, exploring the eating patterns in all regions of Italy.
Much attention has been given to the benefits of what is known as the Mediterranean diet. This heart-healthy diet suggests consuming vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, and healthy fats like olive oil, beans, fish, poultry, and grains.
Although pasta is a staple in the Mediterranean region, very little is known about its health benefits. Many people eliminate pasta from their diet completely out of fear of unwanted weight gain. However, this new research suggests we may need to revise the way we think about this.
The research doesn’t mention how much pasta you can eat without gaining weight. The studies stress, however, that – as always – everything is good in moderation, and despite the discovered benefits of pasta it shouldn’t be overconsumed, as eating too much of it will inevitably translate into extra pounds.
“The obese population was older and at lower socioeconomic status, had higher waist and hip circumferences and waist-to-hip ratio, and consumed more pasta [grams per day] than normal or overweight participants,” wrote lead author Licia Iacoviello and colleagues.
So, before you decide to bid farewell to such an important element of the Italian Mediterranean diet and lifestyle as pasta, remember it is actually good for your health – albeit in moderation.
“There is no reason to do without it,” Iacoviello said.