Story by: Julianna Rhodes on July 11, 2016
A new study from researchers at Instituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico in Italy (of course!) shows that eating everyone’s favorite carbohydrate-rich food actually can lead to a decrease in body mass index (BMI).
The Italian researchers evaluated the diets of more than 23,000 adults in Italy and had them record their eating habits during a 24-hour period along with each participant’s BMI.
Despite the popular belief that eating pasta leads to weight gain, the researchers saw lower BMIs on those who ate more pasta. Participants who ate pasta more regularly also had lower waist circumferences and better waist-hip ratios as well.
Before we all go off and indulge in a gigantic bowl of our favorite linguini, it’s important to remember that eating any type of food in moderation is key.
“While a serving of pasta can be part of a healthy and balanced diet, having a large plateful won’t be the best thing for our waistlines,” says Maji Koetter-Ali, licensed and registered dietitian with Norton Weight Management Center. “Pasta, especially whole-wheat pasta, has several health benefits, but it’s important to be mindful of portion size and calorie-dense sauces used when preparing it.”
Ali warns that sauces and flavorings can be a major contributor to consuming too many calories, which will contribute to weight gain and other health issues.
“Pasta can definitely be part of a healthy diet,” Koetter-Ali said. “But it must be eaten in moderation.”
How much is too much?
You might be surprised to learn one serving of cooked pasta is equal to just one-third of a cup. While this may not seem like much, there are many ways to bulk up your meal by adding vegetables and lean proteins, such as grilled chicken or chickpeas. Add healthy and nutrient-filled flavor with olive oil and fresh herbs, such as basil. Just keep in mind that the pasta should be a component of the dish, not the majority of what it.
So, as they say in Italy, mangi … in moderation!
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