A study from Italian researchers suggests that eating this food may not be so bad for you after all.
Pasta has gotten a bad rep in recent years, with many dietitians recommending against eating it if you’re trying to lose weight. According to a report from Time, however, a recent study from scientists in Italy suggests that eating pasta doesn’t directly contribute to obese.
The study consisted of a survey that examined nearly 23,000 people who regularly eat pasta. Researchers found that pasta eaters actually had a reduced likelihood of abdominal obesity.
While this may seem like a good reason to head to your nearest Italian eatery and pig out, it is important to take a look at the scope of the study and account for other factors that contribute to obesity. Association does not imply causation, and there are a number of reasons Italian pasta eaters aren’t as obese as people in other parts of the world.
For one, the cultural aspects of eating and pasta’s role in a meal differ widely between Italian pasta eaters and many people in the U.S. Italians reported eating smaller portions of pasta and usually considered it a first course rather than the main component of a meal.
Second, the study was partially funded by Barilla, a company that sells a variety of pasta products in grocery stores around the world. While the study claims that there were no conflicts of interest, the authors’ key takeaway could certainly use a bit more examination.
According to the study’s first author George Pounis, “By analyzing 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. 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.”
It is important to remember that pasta is just one of a myriad of factors that could influence obesity. Instead of eating more pasta, it is a wise idea to monitor the portions of everything you eat. Staying active and avoiding processed sugars and other junk foods are also great ways to maintain a healthy body mass index.
A press release describing the details of the study can be found here.