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Pasta Won't Make You Fat, It Might Actually Help You Slim Down, Italian Study Reveals

Jul 04, 2016 11:12 PM EDT

A new study from the Department of of Epidemiology, I.R.C.C.S. Neuromed in Pozzilli, Italy revealed that, contrary to popular belief, pasta will not make you fat.

The study, published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes, suggests that eating pasta might actually help reducing the likelihood of both general and abdominal obesity.

Pasta has always been a fundamental component of the Italian Mediterranean tradition. However, due to the increasing concerns of pasta making people fat, weight-conscious individuals have been shunning pasta from their diets.

"We have seen that consumption of pasta, contrary to what many think, is not associated with an increase in body weight, rather the opposite. Our data show that enjoying pasta according to individuals' needs contributes to a healthy body mass index, lower waist circumference and better waist-hip ratio," explained George Pounis, lead author of the study, in a statement.

For the study, researchers separately analyzed a total of 23.366 participants from two large epidemiology studies. Out of those, 14,402 participants were part of the general population of the Molise region (Moli-sani cohort), while the remaining 8964 participants were recruited from the Italian Nutrition & Health Survey (INHES).

The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC)-food frequency questionnaire and one 24-hour dietary recall were then used for dietary assessment. Participants from the Moli-sani study have their weight, height, waist and hip circumference measure, while the participants from INHES self-reported their measurements.

The researchers then discovered that consuming pasta promotes healthy body mass index, waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio. Higher intake of pasta is also associated with lower prevalence of overweight and obesity. Additionally, pasta consumption resulted to better adherence to the Mediterranean diet for both men and women in both studies.

"The message emerging from this study, as from other scientific analyses conducted in the context of the Moli-sani Project and INHES, is that Mediterranean diet, consumed in moderation and respecting the variety of all its elements (pasta in the first place), is good to your health," commented Licia Iacoviello, Head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology at Neuromed Institute, in a press release.

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