Pasta Won’t Make You Fat — Just the Opposite, Study Shows

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It's OK to enjoy pasta again. It's even healthy when part of the right diet, according to Italian researchers.

It’s OK to enjoy pasta again. It’s even healthy, according to Italian researchers.

A recent study published in the medical journal Nutrition & Diabetes found that pasta is not fattening — just the opposite: This component of the Mediterranean diet is associated with a lower rate of obesity.

More specifically, the study out of the Institute for Research, Hospitalization and Health Care Neuromed in Italy found that pasta contributes to a:

  • Healthy body mass index (BMI), a measure of weight that takes height into consideration
  • Lower waist circumference
  • Better waist-hip ratio

Researchers reached this conclusion after analyzing data from two surveys of the diets of more than 23,000 Italian adults.

Licia Iacoviello, head of the institute’s Laboratory of Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology, says the study findings go to show that the “Mediterranean diet, consumed in moderation and respecting the variety of all its elements (pasta in the first place), is good to your health”:

“In popular views … pasta is often considered not adequate when you want to lose weight. And some people completely ban it from their meals. In light of this research, we can say that this is not a correct attitude. We’re talking about a fundamental component of Italian Mediterranean tradition, and there is no reason to do without it.”

According to the nonprofit Mayo Clinic, the Mediterranean diet emphasizes:

  • Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats such as olive oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week

Research has shown the Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of heart disease and is associated with a reduced incidence of:

  • Cancer
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Alzheimer’s disease

The Mayo Clinic notes:

For these reasons, most if not all major scientific organizations encourage healthy adults to adapt a style of eating like that of the Mediterranean diet for prevention of major chronic diseases.

What’s your take on pasta? Let us know whether you enjoy it and why or why not — leave a comment below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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