Contrary to popular belief, pasta consumption does not make you fat, according to research into a staple of the Mediterranean – and much of the Western – diet.
Researchers in Italy studied over 23,000 people in Italy and found that higher pasta intake was not associated with a raised body mass index (BMI) – widely used as a measurement of a person's body fat, based on a person's height and weight – and waist-to-hip ratio.
"As a traditional component of the Mediterranean diet, pasta consumption was negatively associated with body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio and with a lower prevalence of overweight and obesity," researchers found, according to the results of the study published in the Nutrition and Diabetes journal on Monday.
Pasta is a staple of the Italian diet and has become popular around the world as a quick and easy source of carbohydrates. Like other forms of carbs, however, it has also been demonized as calorific and lacking nutrition and many diets eschew pasta.
The latest research was carried out by the IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo Neuromed which compared results from participants in the Molise region of Italy with another group of people from the rest of Italy, who were separately analyzed by the Italian Nutrition & Health Survey project (INHES).
"Our findings show a negative association of pasta consumption with general and central obesity in two methodologically and geographically different, large Mediterranean populations," the researchers said, noting that there had been a movement, even in Italy, against pasta.