According to a recent study conducted by researchers in Italy, pasta, in moderation, at any rate, does not lead to obesity. The researchers, from the Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo Neuromed I.R.C.C.S., released their findings today, in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes. Despite the study’s findings that eating pasta “is associated with a lower body mass index, or BMI,” the key to making pasta a part of one’s successful diet appears to be eating Italian, rather than American, sized portions, according to UPI.
The researchers looked at the eating habits of approximately 23,000 Italians. They discovered that there was no connection between the amount of pasta the study participants ate and their waist size or Body Mass Index, according to the website NJ.com.
One of the researchers and the study’s first author, George Pounis, said that the consumption of pasta is not associated with an increased body weight. The researchers evaluated the findings of “two significant epidemiological studies,” and they found that eating pasta was not only not linked to obesity, but it could help people lose weight, if it was a part of their overall diet. Also, the diet should ideally be the Mediterranean Diet, a diet which emphasizes eating vegetables, fresh fish, olive oil, and fruit.
The study’s leader, Licia Iacoviello, who heads Neuromed’s Laboratory of Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology, said that pasta is “a fundamental component of Italian Mediterranean tradition.” She went on to say that “there is no reason to do without it.”
Pasta‘s bad reputation for helping pack on the pounds has not been entirely redeemed by the study undertaken by the Italian researchers. That is because they were looking at the eating habits of Italians, not Americans, and the Italians ate, in general, Mediterranean types of diets, and portions of pasta that are most likely less than Americans might be inclined to consume.
For instance, the study participants were given a picture booklet that was supposed to help them determine and report portion sizes of pasta that they ate. The largest portion depicted was one that was only 86 grams in size, or roughly, a bit over three ounces. That amounts to “less than a quarter of the standard box or package of pasta.” This size, to the Italians taking part in the study, was “a very large portion.”
To many Americans are used to eating at restaurants like Olive Garden, with Never Ending Pasta Bowls; therefore, three ounces of pasta would not even seem like enough to feed a sparrow. The key to making pasta a healthy part of one’s diet is not to over-indulge when eating it. Pasta should not be completely banned from one’s diet, but if it is included, self-control must be used when it comes to the portion sizes eaten. Also, pasta is “too often a vehicle for overly salty, sugary, fatty sauces,” according to Tech Times.
Pasta, when eaten in moderation, can be a healthy part of one’s diet, and not lead to a greater risk of obesity. However, in a recent study in the United States, among 1,794 adults “eating pasta was negatively associated with higher BMI,” according to Tech Times. The participants who overate pasta did not experience the health benefits pasta can have when it is eaten in smaller portions and is a part of a person’s overall diet. Enjoy eating pasta, but be aware that if it is eaten in larger amounts than are recommended by studies like the recent one by the researchers from Italy, pasta will help pack on pounds, rather than help lose weight. For more CDA News, follow our tweets on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
By John Samuels