New research is showing that pasta shouldn't be looked at negatively as it has been by recent diets that curb carbohydrates. This paper suggests that not all refined carbohydrates should be considered fattening.
Diets need to take another look at pasta and possibly reclassify how it is treated.
A new study published in BMJ Open shows that pasta isn't as fattening as previously thought. Researchers from St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto, Canada, studied previous links between eating pasta and gaining weight.
Carbohydrates have received the brunt of the blame for being fattening, but this may not have been true of pasta. Pasta has a low glycemic index, unlike other refined carbohydrates. Refined carbohydrates are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream. Foods with low glycemic index raise blood glucose by a smaller amount than those with a high glycemic index.
Researchers assessed 30 randomized control trials that involved almost 2,500 participants who were given a low glycemic index diet that included pasta replacing other carbohydrates. The diet consisted of 3.3 servings of around half a cup of pasta on average every week.
They found that pasta didn't contribute to weight gain or an increase in body fat. Instead. They observed that the participants experienced a median weight loss of about 1 pound over 12 weeks.
Low Glycemic Diet
Researchers say that this result only applies to pasta and other low glycemic index foods that are part of a healthy low glycemic index diet. They still need to determine whether this would be the case with pasta as a part of other diets. The researchers caution that further studies will need to be done to see if this is the case.
They added that despite numerous kinds of pasta, they all generally have a lower glycemic index number than other carbohydrates. Scientists also said that making the pasta whole grain doesn't make a significant change.
Even though pasta is low in fiber, it has a similar glycemic index rating to foods that are rich in fiber such as barley, legumes, and steel-cut oats. It also has a lower glycemic rating than foods such as whole wheat bread, cereals, and potatoes with the skin.
Pasta has been the recipient of bad press by being lumped in with other carbohydrates. These findings suggest that instead of generalizing foods based on their classification, it's more important to look at the makeup of the food. It could shed light on what foods are beneficial for health depending on the diet.