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Eating pasta can help people to lose weight, despite previous concerns that it has the opposite effect.
This is according to recent research carried out by doctors at the IRCCS Neuromed Institute in Italy, which led to the discovery that people who regularly consume pasta may have lower BMIs and waist-to-hip ratios than those who view the foodstuff negatively.
Scientists analysed the body shapes of over 23,000 individuals, finding pasta typically helped people to feel fuller when eaten as part of a Mediterranean-style diet, meaning they were less likely to eat unhealthy foods to make them feel more satisfied after a healthy meal.
A myriad of previous studies have demonstrated the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet rich in fruit, vegetables, fish, olive oil and lean meat, and this latest research shows how pasta can also form part of this without leading to weight gain.
Doctors asked participants for details of their most recent meals, including their portion size and what they had consisted of, finding that those who said they regularly ate pasta on average had lower BMIs, waist circumferences and waist-to-hip ratios than those who had eaten creamy or high-fat dishes.
With the rise of 'clean eating' in recent years, a growing number of people are disregarding pasta as a healthy food choice, placing it in the same category as junk food, but experts believe this is the wrong attitude to have.
Commenting on the research, Dr Gunter Kuhnle, associate professor in nutrition and health at the University of Reading, stated: "These results clearly show that it is wrong to demonise carbohydrates, as the data clearly show that consumption of a carbohydrate-rich food such as pasta does not have an adverse effect on body weight."
The researchers also suggested that pasta should be enjoyed as a side to a meal that also features meat or fish and salad or vegetables rather than forming the basis of the whole dish for the most effective long-term weight loss results.
Written by Martin Lambert
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