While many dieters swear off 'bad carbohydrates' in their bid to shed a few pounds, a new study has found that eating pasta can actually help you lose weight.
In the study published this week in BMJ Open, researchers from St Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada, studied almost 2,500 people who ate pasta instead of other carbohydrates, while also maintaining a low-GI (low glycaemic) diet.
Collating data from 30 randomized control trials, the study found that those participants who ate approximately 3.3 servings of pasta a week as part of a healthy diet did actually lose a small amount of weight.
Over the 12 week trial, participants who ate pasta found that not only did they avoid gaining weight, but they lost on average 1.1 lbs, compared to those in the study who ate other carbohydrates.
Is this the perfect excuse to whip up this delicious Spaghetti Bolognese?
However, the researchers pointed out that it is unclear if people would keep this weight off over the long term.
Dr. John Sievenpiper, the paper’s lead author, said: ‘The study found that pasta didn’t contribute to weight gain or increase in body fat. In fact analysis actually showed a small weight loss.
‘So contrary to concerns, perhaps pasta can be part of a healthy diet such as low-GI diet.’
Compared to other refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, pasta typically has a low-GI meaning it increases your blood sugar levels at a slower rate and keeps you feeling full for longer, while also encouraging the body to burn fat.
Dr. Sievenpiper added: ‘In weighing the evidence, we can now say with some confidence that pasta does not have an adverse effect on body weight outcomes when it is consumed as part of a healthy dietary pattern.’
The researchers emphasised the results came as part of a low-GI diet and that further research is needed in order to determine whether eating pasta can have the same effect when combined with other healthy diets that include healthy family meals.
Heather Mangieri, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant, who was not involved in the study, said that the results did not surprise her.
She told Live Science: ‘If your pasta is portioned properly and paired with a nutrient-rich vegetable and a lean protein, it can be a very healthy option.’
While top nutritionist Rhiannon Lambert advised: ‘If you want to lose weight, look at portion control, a diet that is tailored to your needs, and up your exercise so that you’re burning off more calories than you eat. It’s that simple.’