Eating pasta does not lead to weight gain, say experts
A new study suggests that pasta can be included as part of a healthy diet, without necessarily leading to weight gain.
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Pasta is an example of a “refined carbohydrate”, which have previously received a lot of bad press and been implicated as contributors to the obesity epidemic. This is due to most refined carbs being quickly absorbed by the bloodstream.
However, pasta has a low glycemic index and therefore does not increase blood sugar levels to the same degree as comparable carbohydrates.
Researchers at St Michael’s Hospital conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of all available data on the subject from randomized controlled trials. They found 30 trials involving almost 2,500 participants who consumed pasta instead of other carbohydrates as part of a healthy diet with a low glycemic index.
"The study found that pasta didn't contribute to weight gain or increase in body fat. 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, " says lead author John Sievenpiper from the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Modification Centre.
The participants ate an average of 3.3 pasta servings per week, with one serving equaling about half a cup of cooked pasta.
As reported in BMJ Open, the participants lost approximately half a kilogram in weight over a median follow-up period of 12 weeks.
The authors emphasised that the findings are generalizable to pasta consumed alongside other low-glycemic index foods as part of a low-glycemic index diet. However, they added that further research is required to establish whether a lack of weight gain is also seen when pasta is consumed as part of other healthy diets.
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