Why Pasta Can Help With Dieting

Losing weight can be a tough job and pasta is seen as the enemy, but according to a new study that might not be the case. This study explains why pasta can help dieting.

Get Things in Perspective

The Italian study, by the Department of Epidemiology, IRCCS Neuromed in Pozzilli looked at more than 23,000 people. Their findings were that pasta can be linked to a reduced likelihood of abdominal obesity. There’s no suggestion that there will be a reduction in BMI because of eating pasta, but it is associated with it. So how was the study carried out?

The Study

There were two groups of people randomly selected, 14,402 all aged over 35 and from the Molise region of Southern Italy, with the second group of 8,964 aged over 18 and from all over Italy. Both groups were analysed separately and were given a questionnaire about what they’d eaten in the last 24 hours.

The participants were asked if they were on a special diet, if what they’d eaten in the past 24 hours was the norm for them, plus portion sizes were also taken into account. Their weight, height, waist and hips were also measured.

The Results and Why Pasta Can Help Dieting

It should be remembered that pasta is part of the Mediterranean diet and portion sizes are usually quite small as it is mostly served as a starter rather than the main course. The overall result showed that there wasn’t a link between eating pasta and an unhealthy weight. In fact it was the opposite to that as pasta consumption was associated with being slimmer.

As long as the Mediterranean diet is eaten in moderation and respecting all of its ingredients, including pasta, it is good for your health. It’s important to note that the link between eating pasta and a healthy diet relied on the participant sticking to the Mediterranean diet, i.e. one high in complex carbohydrates and fiber. This includes legumes, rice and cheese, also cheese, olive oil, tomatoes, garlic and fish.

If you consider the study assumed the portion size of the pasta was small and was only looking at the Mediterranean diet, it’s not very surprising that pasta came out well. But all in all, where in the past it has been assumed pasta is a no no when it comes to dieting, this study shows that doesn’t have to be the case and why pasta can help dieting. So how should you use pasta? Read on….

Using Pasta to Help Dieting

It’s really important to understand that it’s not that you’re eating pasta, but rather how you’re eating it. As in the Mediterranean diet, the pasta needs to be a small part of your meal. It shouldn’t be a big bowl full covered with a fattening sauce, but a small portion sharing a plate with lots of vegetables and lean protein such as grilled shrimp or beans.

As a rule of thumb, the pasta should only cover about a quarter of the plate. The amount should be about half a cup of cooked pasta. In the study that was carried out, portion size was measured with the largest recorded being 86 grams. This was considered to be very large.

The meal can be “bulked up” with lots of vegetables. These help you to feel fuller without adding on the calories and they are, of course, good for you. You can also toss the pasta in a little extra virgin oil, basil, spinach, avocado, almonds, cashews and chickpeas as these are cholesterol lowering nutrient rich foods.

It’s all about moderation and being sensible with your food. This study, which incidentally was funded by a pasta company and the Italian government, doesn’t show any staggering findings, but it does present a case as to why pasta can help dieting.