London, Jul 5: In some good news for pasta lovers, scientists have found that eating pasta may reduce the risk of both general and abdominal obesity, contradicting the belief that this fundamental element of the mediterranean diet could make people gain weight.
The study, conducted by the IRCCS Neuromed in Italy, examined over 23,000 people recruited in two large epidemiological studies: Moli-sani and INHES (Italian Nutrition and Health Survey).
"By analysing anthropometric data of the participants and their eating habits we have seen that consumption of pasta, contrary to what many think, is not associated with an increase in body weight, rather the opposite," said George Pounis, from IRCCS Neuromed.
"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," Pounis said.
Many studies already demonstrated how mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest nutritional regime, even when we talk about weight control. Very little, however, was known about the specific role of a basic component as pasta.
Data from the study now fill this gap, researchers said. "In popular views, pasta is often considered not adequate when you want to lose weight. And some people completely ban it from their meals," said Licia Iacoviello, Head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology at Neuromed Institute.
"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," said Iacoviello.
"The message emerging from this study is that mediterranean diet, consumed in moderation and respecting the variety of all its elements (pasta in the first place), is good to your health," said Iacoviello. The study was published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes.