Study suggests pasta can be part of a healthy diet without packing on the pounds

pasta
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Carbohydrates get a lot of bad press and blame for the obesity epidemic, but a new study suggests that this negative attention may not be deserved for pasta.

Unlike most 'refined' carbohydrates, which are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, has a , meaning it causes smaller increases in than those caused by eating foods with a .

Researchers at St. Michael's Hospital undertook a systematic review and meta-analysis of all of the available evidence from randomized controlled trials, the gold standard of research design. They identified 30 randomized control trials involving almost 2,500 people who ate pasta instead of other carbohydrates as part of a healthy low-glycemic index diet. Their results were published today in the journal BMJ Open.

"The study found that pasta didn't contribute to weight gain or increase in body fat," said lead author Dr. John Sievenpiper, a clinician scientist with the hospital's Clinical Nutrition and Risk Modification Centre. "In fact analysis actually showed a small weight loss. So contrary to concerns, perhaps pasta can be part of a healthy diet such as a low GI diet."

The people involved in the clinical trials on average ate 3.3 servings of pasta a week instead of other carbohydrates. One serving equals about one-half cup of cooked pasta. They lost about one-half kilogram over a median follow-up of 12 weeks.

The study authors stressed that these results are generalizable to pasta consumed along with other low-glycemic index foods as part of a low-glycemic index . They caution more work is needed to determine if the lack of weight gain will extend to pasta as part of other healthy diets.

"In weighing the evidence, we can now say with some confidence that pasta does not have an adverse effect on body weight outcomes when it is consumed as part of a healthy dietary pattern," said Dr. Sievenpiper.

This work received funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research through the Canada-wide Human Nutrition Trialists' Network; the Diet, Digestive Tract and Disease Centre, funded through the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, and the Ministry of Research and Innovation's Ontario Research Fund, among other non-industry sponsors.

Some of the authors have received prior research grants, in-kind donations of pasta for a , and travel support from the pasta maker Barilla.


Explore further

How useful is the glycemic index?

Journal information: BMJ Open

Citation: Study suggests pasta can be part of a healthy diet without packing on the pounds (2018, April 3) retrieved 24 June 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-04-pasta-healthy-diet-pounds.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
1325 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Apr 03, 2018
OMG this is unbelievable! You can eat pasta without getting fat? It must be a lie! You just have to limit the amount you eat. Oh Sorry to ruin years of scientific research. Snot bubble.

Apr 04, 2018
Another invaluable contribution from the team lead by award-winning Dr. O. B. Vious.

Apr 10, 2018
ggood news. another round of cheese macaroni pl

Apr 10, 2018
Even better than this, if you allow pasta to cool, then reheat it before eating it, the starch structure changes so that only half the amount of calories are readily available. So reheated pasta is half as fattening as fresh-cooked pasta.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more