Earlier in the week, it was butter that rebuilt its image as a not-so-bad-food after being banished from the dinner table for being unhealthy.
Now it’s pasta’s turn.
A new Italian study suggests pasta doesn’t contribute to weight gain – and might actually help you lose weight.
Eating pasta in moderation appears to be linked to lower risks of general and abdominal obesity, the researchers claim, after analyzing the data on thousands of subjects.
“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 Mediterranean Diet has been hyped for its heart-healthy pluses, a diet packed with fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, peas and olive oil, as well as fish and poultry.
Pasta is a staple in the Mediterranean region, but its inclusion into the heralded diet was always debatable. With this new found data, researchers can more accurately place pasta, as well as recommended portions, in the Mediterranean Diet.
“We have seen that consumption of pasta, contrary to what many think, is not associated with an increase in body weight, rather the opposite,” Pounis added.
Spaghetti and other members of the pasta family have been ignored for years due to its bad rep as a fattening food. This study could have people opening their homes to the Italian favourite once more.
The research doesn’t detail how much pasta is acceptable before you start expanding, but it goes without saying eating in excess will lead to weight gain.
Still, people trying to lose weight should take comfort in knowing they can still enjoy a side of pasta with their protein and salad.
“We’re talking about a fundamental component of Italian Mediterranean tradition, and there is no reason to do without it,” says lead author Licia Iacoviello, head of the molecular and nutritional epidemiology laboratory at Neuromed Institute.
The results were published online July 4 in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes.