Dieters can still shed pounds while eating pasta, according to new research.
The consumption of carbohydrates has been linked to the growing obesity crisis, but researchers at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto believe that pasta specifically doesn't deserve this negative reputation.
Most refined carbs, such as bread, pastries and cake, have a high glycemic index and are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, but pasta, in fact, has a low index, which means consumption causes smaller increases in blood sugar levels.
Staff at the hospital studied almost 2,500 individuals who ate pasta rather than other carb-heavy foods as part of a healthy low-glycemic index diet. Those involved in the clinical trials on average consumed 3.3 servings a week - with one serving amounting to half a cup of cooked pasta - and ended up losing half a kilogram of weight in 12 weeks.
"The study found that pasta didn't contribute to weight gain or increase in body fat," said lead author Dr. John Sievenpiper, a clinician scientist with the hospital's Clinical Nutrition and Risk Modification Centre. "In fact, analysis actually showed a small weight loss. So contrary to concerns, perhaps pasta can be part of a healthy diet such as a low GI diet.
"In weighing the evidence, we can now say with some confidence that pasta does not have an adverse effect on body weight outcomes when it is consumed as part of a healthy dietary pattern."
However, the researchers emphasised the fact that these results apply specifically to a low-glycemic diet, and, therefore, more studies would be required to determine whether pasta has a similar outcome when consumed as part of other healthy diets.