If slim actresses like Sophia Loren can make bold claims like, “Everything I am I owe to spaghetti” about her body then the pasta lovers must be on to something.
A new Italian research just saved pasta from becoming the most vilified food in the weight loss community by concluding that people who love pasta tend to be slimmer and healthier than their carb-hating counterparts.
Moderation Is Key
The food industry has seen quite a revolution over the past years as scientists discover that foods that were traditionally considered bad for health aren’t that bad after all.
It’s only fitting that the people who pioneered one of the most popularly consumed food of all times are the ones to save its reputation from dieters who claim that eating pasta can make you fat. It was actually Italian researchers who conducted the study last year to show that the Italian staple food isn’t as bad for health as most people think.
Doctors agree that pasta itself isn’t as big of culprit behind expanding waistlines as the other ingredients that it is commonly paired with. Take out the traditional bad guys behind unhealthy diets such as butter, bacon, heavy cream and cheese, and you’ll quickly realize that pasta isn’t really that harmful on its own. In fact, it is a crucial component of the Mediterranean diet, which, according to experts, is the best diet one can follow.
Of course, like all other things, moderation is key when it comes to maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A cheeky pasta meal here and there won’t do you any harm as long as you aren’t overdoing it or eating too much of it in one sitting.
Link Between Pasta Consumption and Weight-Loss
Most people think that banishing pasta completely from their diet will solve their weight problems, but depriving your body of essential carbohydrates can lead to excessive cravings and binge-eating, according to the Italian researchers who recruited over 14,000 people to participate in their study.
The participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire about what they had eaten throughout the entire day, their meal timings and portion sizes. People were also asked to tell which diet they were on, if any, and if they used specific brands of food for their meals.
Other measurements such as weight, height, waist and hip circumference were also taken into account to create an accurate link between the participants’ diets and their physical health. The researchers were expecting to find no correlation with pasta consumption and weight gain, but what they discovered was completely the opposite: eating pasta was actually making people slimmer!
Pasta or Mediterranean Diet?
The slimming effect of pasta was more evident in people who were incorporating the Italian staple food into a Mediterranean diet. These participants had a lower BMI and waist-to-hip ratio than their low-carb counterparts who weren’t on a Mediterranean diet.
The study wasn’t only crucial for helping people get over their carb-phobia but also proved the importance of Mediterranean diet in maintaining a healthy weight without feeling a sense of deprivation.
However, people who ate pasta but weren’t on a Mediterranean diet didn’t benefit from its weight-loss effects. So could it be actually the Mediterranean diet instead of pasta which was helping people maintain a healthy BMI? Experts think that it is possible. Moreover, pasta lovers who followed a Mediterranean diet also incorporated other high-fiber complex carbs and healthy fats such as fortified cereals, legumes, olive oil, cheese and whole grains.
It is possible that these foods cancelled out pasta’s unhealthy effects, if any. Mediterranean dieters maintained a balanced and healthy lifestyle overall which means that they could consume a moderate amount of pasta without falling off track.
Making Pasta Healthy
The researchers also concluded that the way people prepare pasta can impact their waistlines. People who added lots of lean meat, vegetables and extra virgin olive oil were less likely to gain weight than those who used butter, processed cheese or unhealthy fats. Adding vegetables and protein to their pasta also helped participants control their portions and calorie intake.
If you don’t want your love for pasta affect your waistline, try making your meals healthier by using organic whole wheat or brown rice pasta which is high in fiber and complex carbohydrates. Whole Wheat pasta has only 175 calories per serving with 25 per cent of our daily fiber requirement and 7 grams of protein.
Cook up plenty of vegetables and lean meats and add only one serving of pasta drizzled with extra virgin olive oil to your plate. This way you’ll get a good variety of flavors and nutrients in your meal without going in a carb coma later.