Eating pasta regularly would not make people fat, at least if they eat a balanced diet, according to a Canadian meta-analysis published this Tuesday, April 3 in the medical journal BMJ Open.
This new work, conducted by Canadian researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, rehabilitates the consumption of starchy foods — especially pasta — which are often accused of making people gain weight.
They followed 2,500 individuals – from 30 different studies – who ate cooked pasta more than three times a week instead of other carbohydrates as part of a low glycemic index (GI) diet. . Each portion was equivalent to half a cup. The glycemic index of a food provides information on its ability to increase the blood sugar level and its duration of assimilation of sugars. Pasta, like vegetables, would have a low glycemic index, say the authors of the study.
Pasta has an average glycemic index of 45 to 55, compared with 95 for a baked potato for example or 70 for white rice. Note that cooking plays on the glycemic index. Pasta al dente reaches a glycemic index of 40 while the same portion well cooked will rise to 55.
The results show not only that the study participants did not gain weight or increase their fat levels but instead lost some weight, about 500 grams over a three month period. “Contrary to the concerns, pasta could be part of a healthy diet like the low GI diet,” says Dr. John Sievenpiper, author of the study.
By consuming them with other products with a low glycemic index, pasta could be a weight loss ally. It remains to be determined whether this slimming balance would also be achieved by integrating pasta with other healthy diets.
The study, partly funded by Italian pasta maker Barilla, is published in the journal BMJ Open