Eating Pasta Linked to Modest Weight Loss

A new study found that eating pasta as part of a low-glycemic index (GI) diet leads in modest weight loss, compared with a higher-GI diet.

Examples of low-glycemic index foods are beans, oatmeal, nuts, and most fruits. Low-glycemic index foods do not cause your blood sugar to increase.

On the other hand, high-GI foods include white bread, crackers, cookies, and other foods with refined carbohydrates.

Though pasta is a refined carbohydrate, it has a low glycemic index, study author Laura Chiavaroli, PhD, from the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, said.

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According to Chiavaroli, foods with a lower GI are more satisfying and delay hunger and further eating.

The study was published April 2 in BMJ Open. It reviewed 32 studies involving 2,448 adults that looked at the effect of pasta on global and regional measures of body fat in the context of a low-GI diet.

The study discovered that people who consumed pasta lost close to 1½ pounds over 12 weeks, compared with people who followed diets with higher-GI foods.

The study found a similar pattern of weight loss over 24 weeks.

The research team wrote;

“This finding is of particular relevance since many dietary studies are successful in demonstrating weight loss in the short term but not over the long term.”

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They admitted to the fact that pasta can vary widely, not only in shape but also in ingredients and in how it’s processed. Still, pasta had a much lower GI than white bread, the study discovered. Pasta has a similar GI as other fiber-rich carbohydrates such as steel-cut oats, and its GI is lower. Most people consume white wheat pasta, the authors noted.

Elena Philippou, PhD, assistant professor of nutrition-dietetics at the University of Nicosia, Cyprus, told Medscape Medical News she approves of the results from the study.

Eating pasta as part of a low GI-diet may make you feel fuller, and it may have good effects on blood sugar, she said. “Of course, it’s important that the general public understands that this doesn’t mean that one can eat as much pasta as they want and they will not gain weight,” Philippou warned.

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