Diets high in pasta can actually keep people slim, according to a new study from—of course—Italy.
“As a traditional component of [a Mediterranean diet], pasta consumption was negatively associated with BMI, waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio and with a lower prevalence of overweight and obesity,” says the study, which was published in the journal Nutrition & Diabetes.
But if that seems too good to be true, it’s because it might be. The study is partly funded by Barilla, an Italian food company that specializes in—you guessed it—pasta. Not only that, but the study only included people born in Italy-- which means the subjects' diets probably had a lot in common besides just pasta.
On the other hand, nutrition experts have long praised the Mediterranean diet for its health benefits, and in Italy that includes pasta. Whether pasta itself contributes to those benefits or just doesn’t completely block them remains open to question.
“In this study, people who consumed a lot of pasta also followed a traditional ‘Mediterranean diet,’” Dr. Gunter Kuhnle, a professor of nutrition and health at the University of Reading, told The Telegraph. “Pasta intake could therefore be mainly a marker for adherence to this kind of diet.”
The significance of the study, Kuhnle said, is what it shows pasta doesn’t do.
“These results clearly show that it is wrong to demonize carbohydrates.” he said.