by Jane Clinton
Pasta, long the enemy of the dieter, can be part of a healthy eating regime and even help you lose weight, according to a new review of studies.
A growing number of people are ditching carbohydrates and swapping the likes of spaghetti for spiralised vegetables like courgettes or courgetti as it is known.
In a meta-analysis of 30 studies by Canadian researchers found pasta does cause weight gain and having a portion of around half a cup three times a week helped people drop more than 1lb over four months.
It also emerged that pasta had been unfairly maligned because it had been lumped in with other more fat-promoting carbs.
Unlike most refined carbs, pasta has a low glycemic index (GI) meaning it is absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly and so does not cause high blood sugar levels or “spikes”
Those involved in the clinical trials had on average ate 3.3 servings of pasta a week instead of other carbohydrates; with one serving equalling around half a cup. They lost around 1.1lbs over an average follow-up of 12 weeks.
"We can now say with some confidence that pasta does not have an adverse effect on body weight outcomes when it is consumed as part of a healthy dietary pattern,” said lead author Dr John Sievenpiper, a scientist with St Michael’s Hospital’s Clinical Nutrition and Risk Modification Centre in Toronto. "In fact analysis actually showed a small weight loss. So contrary to concerns, perhaps pasta can be part of a healthy diet."
But it was stressed that sensible portion control also needed to be observed.
The findings were published in the journal BMJ Open.
This article originally appeared in our sister title, iNews