Blog dedicated primarily to randomly selected news items; comments reflecting personal perceptions

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Pasta Lovers, Rejoice!

"The study found that pasta didn't contribute to weight gain or increase in body fat."
"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."
Dr. John Sievenpiper, scientist, St.Michael's Hospital, Toronto

"I tend to agree. I eat pasta regularly and if consumed in modest amounts then no reason for it to cause weight gain. So it's nice to see this evidence."
"In the end, weight gain occurs with over-consumption of calories and so portion size matters."
"Regular portions of healthy pasta can be part of a healthy balanced diet and this work supports this view."
Naveed Sattar, professor of Metabolic Medicine, University of Glasgow
Linguine with lemon, feta cheese and basil (Mia via AP)

Research published in the journal BMJ Open has set aside concerns of pasta presenting as a high glycemic food with a reputation as a type of foodstuff best avoided. No longer. This is now one carbohydrate that deserves its starring role in many diets and beloved of people who know that it handsomely carries off a wide variety of combinations with other nutrient-rich food like proteins and fats.

Nutritionists have routinely recommended that pasta be consumed minimally in order to cut calories, prevent the build-up of fat, and stop the spiking of blood sugar. Diets focusing on low-carb foods had advanced the narrative by advising concerned consumers to exchange foods like bread, pasta and potatoes for vegetables, fish and meat. Even spiralized vegetables were being promoted as an exchange for spaghetti.

The new study undertaken by Canadian researchers at the Clinical Nutrition and Risk Modification Centre with St.Michael's Hospital in Toronto represents a meta-analysis of 30 previous studies to finally conclude that pasta not only is not a cause of weight gain, but in reality people can lose over a pound of weight over a four-month period with three pasta meals a week. Pasta, found the reviewers, had been demonized unfairly.

The reality is that pasta contributes to gradual weight loss when eaten alongside a well-designed diet, with the emphasis on moderation; not eating any more at one sitting than is nutritionally reasonable. Evidence was assessed from 30 randomized controlled trials in which close to 2,500 people took part, eating pasta weekly along with a low glycemic diet, a plan designed to prevent blood sugar from spiking.


The clinical trial participants ate on average 3.3 servings of pasta each week rather than other carbohydrate choices --  with one serving equalling roughly a half-cup. On this diet plan, 1.1 pounds was lost on average, over a 12-week follow-up. Pasta has a low glycemic index after all; it is absorbed into the bloodstream more gradually and does not cause high blood sugar levels, as previously hypothesized.

Pasta included as part of a low-glycemic diet recommended for those needing to lose weight, or who live with chronic illnesses like diabetes or cardiovascular disease, is now seen as perfectly appropriate in a well-balanced diet.


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