A new study from Italy that gathered information from over 20,000 people found that pasta consumption was associated with a lower body weight. As usual many media outlets presented articles with exciting titles such as “Pasta helps you lose weight” or “Pasta does not make you fat”. To be clear nothing really makes you fat unless you eat too much of it. I have talked about pasta in other posts and have also confirmed that pasta does not make you gain weight as long as it is consumed appropriately and within a balanced Mediterranean meal. So in other words not too much and accompanied with vegetables. In Italy pasta is consumed in a small amount as a first course, while here in Greece, we do not eat pasta everyday but more like once a week.
I would say the same holds for bread. Bread in itself is not fattening, but if you dip bread in tons of olive oil than the caloric value goes up. And we need to understand that nutrition studies show associations, not cause and effect for the most part.
What I worry about is that when the media uses such sensationalist titles, they give the wrong message to the public. Yes, the titles can be catchy, but perhaps many readers see this as a green light to eat as much pasta as they want. And to clarify: the study shows that eating pasta will not lead to weight gain, it does not say that pasta helps you lose weight.
I mentioned in a Facebook post of mine that the study was also funded by the pasta company Barilla, I do not question the results, but we need to understand that the company sought out to disprove the misconception that pasta is fattening. I would say it was used as a marketing tool to promote pasta. This is not new, serious nutritionists would never tell you that pasta is fattening, but many people believe it. So with this study, it is a way to tell potential pasta customers that you can eat a normal amount of pasta and not gain weight.
So, yes you can eat pasta in moderate amounts, make sure you accompany it with plenty of vegetables in the form of a tomato sauce or consumed with a large salad and with some lean protein such as seafood.
The photo is from the recipe: Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta With a Touch of Ouzo, you can find it by clicking here.
Photo by Elena Paravantes© All Rights Reserved