Pasta is the most famous source of carbohydrates in Italy, but the delicious meal has gained a bad reputation over the years. For people who are trying to lose weight, pasta is often considered a no-no.

However, this diet notoriety may soon be overtaken by the findings of a new study. A team of Italian scientists discovered that pasta may not be so bad after all.

Repairing The "Damaged" Reputation

In the past, experts who defended the role of pasta in Italy's diet mentioned that it predates the modern obesity and diabetes epidemics.

On the other hand, if there is a problem with pasta, some nutritionists say it would be that it is often a vehicle for sugary, salty and fatty sauces.

Indeed, many people believe that eating pasta is not adequate in trying to lose weight, says lead study author Licia Iacoviello of Neuromed. Iacoviello says some people even ban pasta completely from their meal.

A study by the Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo Neuromed I.R.C.C.S. in the city of Sora has revealed that eating pasta is actually linked to a lower BMI or body mass index.

Contrary to what many believe, pasta consumption is not fattening, says study first author George Pounis. In fact, the opposite effect was more accurate.

Led by Iacoviello, the team of experts analyzed the anthropometric data of more than 23,000 study participants and their eating habits.

After evaluating data from two major epidemiological studies, they concluded that consumption of pasta was not associated with higher rates of obesity. Those who enjoyed eating their pasta were less likely to be obese.

Researchers say their findings corroborate with a recent study in the United States that examined nutrient intakes associated with BMI. This previous study found that among 1,794 middle-aged adults, eating pasta was negatively associated with higher BMI.

That being said, participants who overate pasta did not show positive results, researchers said.

Both in women and men, the population of obese people was older, at a lower socioeconomic status and had higher hip and waist circumferences. They also consumed more grams of pasta a day than overweight or normal-weight study participants.

In the end, scientists said there was no conflict of interest. They also did not declare any ideal amount of pasta, but looking at their data, they affirmed that there is no link between pasta and BMI.

Meanwhile, Iacoviello says fans of the Mediterranean diet can eat pasta as they would other components of the diet -- in moderation.

Details of the study are featured in the Nature Journal Nutrition & Diabetes.

Photo: Naotake Murayama | Flickr

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