Pasta is often considered the enemy when it comes to weight loss, but according to a new study, the food might actually help you drop the pounds. According to researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Canada, the Italian specialty has been linked to weight loss.
The study investigated the carbohydrate-heavy food’s influence on weight gain by studying almost 2,500 participants who ate pasta instead of other forms of carbs. The individuals ate an average of 3.3 servings of pasta a week, each about half a cup.
The study then measured participants’ body weight, BMI, body fat, and waist measurements, and found that those who ate pasta rather than carbohydrates like white rice, white bread, and potatoes lost about a pound on average. While that isn’t too significant, it’s worth noting that researchers were trying to discern a link between eating pasta and gaining weight, and instead the participants mostly lost weight.
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The reason? Most types of pasta have a lower glycemic index (GI) than other starchy foods like white bread, and it actually has a similar GI to foods like barley, legumes, and steel cut oats.
“These results are important given the negative messages with which the public has been inundated regarding carbohydrates, messages which appear to be influencing their food choices, as evidenced by recent reductions in carbohydrate intake, especially in pasta intake,” the authors wrote, adding that pasta can be in fact part of a healthy diet, granted that you eat it in the right quantity and don’t smother it in a calorie-heavy sauce.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that constant carb-loading is going to do you any good, but if you’re choosing between spaghetti and a white bread sandwich, you might be better off picking the noodles.