Carbohydrates, popularly known as carbs, have receive bad press. In fact carbs are the most maligned of the macronutrients, perhaps except fats. Fear of carbs, or what some now call “carbphobia” is real, thanks to years of demonization. However, one of the world’s favorite carbohydrate food, pasta, may be about to be rehabilitated if not redeemed.
The Italians gave the world two foods that we love to eat, pasta and pizza. Of course, there are other Italian foods besides these two including stromboli and lasagna, but many of these are simply variations and/or combination of good old pasta and pizza.
A recent study shows that pasta may actually help you lose weight. Too good to be true? Not quite.
Because of the constant demonization, many people today avoid carbs. Some have even virtually cut out this important macronutrient (one of three including two are protein and fats) from their diets altogether.
What many don’t seem to know, or just don’t want to acknowledge, is that we need carbohydrates to get full nutritional value from our foods. We need energy, which is what carbohydrates provide.
So, Is Pasta Good for You?
For the study, published in the British Medical Journal, researchers from Toronto, Canada, analyzed 32 different randomized control trials with 2448 participants. The researchers were trying to find out if pasta could help people lose weight.
The researchers found that in people who ate pasta as a part of low carbohydrate diet, there was a loss of 1.38 pounds (630 grams) in bodyweight after 12 weeks. Not dramatic as far as your figure or body composition go but not shabby for a food that has been so demonized.
All the same, this does not mean that you can now eat all the pasta you want and expect to lose weight. Portion control and a balanced diet still need to be followed to maintain a healthy weight. The pasta group in the study had an average of two cups a week of the Italian staple.
The emphasis, the study suggests, should be on low carb, not cutting carbs off altogether. The type of carbs is also important. Pasta is a low glycemic carbohydrate food. Low glycemic carbohydrates have been found to be beneficial for people trying to lose weight.
Related: Low Fat, Low Carb or Low Glycemic?
The study supports a previous one which showed that eating pasta won’t make you fat and can actually help you lose weight. Another previous study showed the other equally if not more vilified Italian food, pizza, may help you lose weight. (See pizza may be good for you.)
I love pasta, hot or cold. I’m especially a big fan of pasta salad, with tuna or chicken, vegetables, olive oil, and some pepper. My preference is whole grain pasta, but I also occasionally eat white pasta. All the same, I try to keep this and other carbs low, as my body responds fast to them. Knowing your body is key to success in any health and fitness program.