Anyone who has battled weight problems for any length of time knows that high-carbohydrate foods are often implicated in them. Given that pasta is full of carbs, it’s widely seen as a food to avoid while dieting, but a new study suggests that eating pasta won’t necessarily cause you to gain weight. In fact, you may even be able to lose weight. However, it’s important to read the details of the study so you don’t get carried away by thinking pasta is a sure bet for weight loss.
Eating pasta as part of a low-glycemic index diet
A group of researchers from the University of Toronto and St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto published the results of their study on eating pasta in the journal BMJ Open. However, it wasn’t just pasta that they were studying, as they included it as part of a diet focusing on foods that have a low glycemic index. When they began the study, they expected to find that pasta caused people to gain weight, but they actually found that people could lose weight eating it.
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In order to gauge the impact that eating pasta might have on weight, the researchers looked at 30 different controlled trials involving subjects replacing other carbohydrates with pasta in a low-glycemic index diet. They found that eating pasta didn’t cause patients to gain weight or increase their body fat. Instead, they discovered that many of the patients actually lost a little bit of weight, so they suggest that pasta could still be part of a healthy diet, even for those who want to lose weight.
Pasta isn’t the new miracle food to help you lose weight
Despite the study’s findings and the many headlines proclaiming pasta to be the new miracle diet food, it’s important to put the results into perspective. Pasta is different than most high-carb foods because it has a low glycemic index, which could be the reason it doesn’t cause weight gain when eaten in limited amounts.
However, the researchers emphasized that their study focused on eating pasta as part of a diet that included other foods with low glycemic indexes, which means they weren’t just studying pasta on its own. The researchers learned that on average, eating pasta as part a low-glycemic index diet reduced weight by a little more than half a kilogram and body mass index by about one-quarter kg/m2 after 12 weeks.
They didn’t find any trials focusing on pasta alone, and they suggest that future trials should be done to examine the impact of eating pasta as part of other types of healthy diets.
Additionally, it’s important to point out that participants in the studies the researchers reviewed ate an average of 3.3 servings of pasta per week in place of other carbohydrates, with each serving amounting to about half a cup of cooked pasta. That means you shouldn’t just go out and eat pasta most nights in a week and expect to lose weight. In general, it’s always a good idea to eat a diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruits, following any special dietary guidelines given to you by your doctors.