Yes – that’s right – your eyes do not deceive you.
After years of being told to cut down on carbohydrates, such as breads and pastas, new studies have revealed that pasta, in fact, is not bad for you!
While it is not recommended to load up on pasta – everything in moderation, as the saying goes – a group of Italian researchers have found that “when eaten as part of a healthy Mediterranean diet, pasta is your weight-loss friend.”
Pasta Can Actually Help You
Maintain a Healthy Weight
In a study with more than 20,000 participants, Italian researchers found that “pasta can actually help you maintain a healthy weight.” Researchers of this study posited that while pasta is a traditional component of the Mediterranean diet in Italy, it had not been studied in detail in the management of body weight. This study was designed to evaluate the association of pasta intake with body mass index (BMI).
Participants in the study ranged between ages 18 and 79, and were composed of people of varied socioeconomic status, gender and race. The study lasted over a period of time in which participants measured their BMI and waist-to-hip ratio. They were also required to take care notation of their daily intake of other foods and liquids to maintain a control in the study.
“The message emerging from this study,” says Licia Iacoviello, one of the researchers, “is that the Mediterranean diet, consumed in moderation and respecting the variety of all its elements (pasta in the first place), is good to your health.”
Pasta and Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet has long been considered one of the healthiest in the worlds, combining nutrients and vitamins in every serving. A balanced Mediterranean diet composes of pasta, which is a food with complex carbohydrates and fiber, along with other items such as legumes, rice, and cereals. Cheese, olive oil, tomatoes, garlic, and fish, along with fresh vegetables and herbs, add important nutritious value to your diet – from high quality proteins, fats, vitamins, and calcium.
The key here, researchers note, is that pasta is just one element of the meal, rather than a huge serving. Portion sizes of pasta in Italy are modest in size, and often serve as a first course of a larger meal that consists of meats and vegetables. At the same time, a small portion of pasta helps to keep you full, so that you do not consume more food throughout the day.
Valentina Cecconi, Head Nutritionist at Casa Buiton (a pasta company based in Tuscany), says: “I’m not surprised to hear that pasta consumption can be linked to a healthy BMI. I’m aligned with what the study says. What we always need to keep in mind is that serving size and frequency of food consumption play a key role in our diets…I eat pasta almost every day. I often flavor it with vegetable seasoning and eat it with tomatoes, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, and a pinch of salt.”
Savoring as Part of the Meal
Wolfing down a huge bowl of pasta when you’re hungry can be satisfying, sure – but the “Mediterranean Diet is a lifestyle,” says Cecconi. This means eating food slowly, savoring it and enjoying it.
At Cucina Toscana, we focus on preparing our pastas with care, combining flavors and textures for the most enjoyable culinary experience. Now do you have a taste for pasta? Join us at Cucina Toscana where we offer pasta dishes from gnocchi to spaghetti, ravioli to tagliolini, linguini to lasagna – and much more!