Dig into that bowl of pasta: Italian scientists say it isn't fattening

Source: NJ.com Health
From Italy comes word…that researchers say they have found no link between pasta and obesity — indeed, they insist, the very opposite turns out to be true.
They reached that conclusion after examining the eating habits of 23,000 Italians. Their findings, released today in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes, found no correlation between the amount of pasta consumed and the waist size or Body Mass Index of the study subjects.
The researchers wanted to take a closer look at pasta because while many studies have touted the health benefits of the so-called ‘Mediterranean Diet,” which emphasizes fresh fish, fruits, vegetables, and plant-based oils, the role of pasta in that beneficial effect wasn’t clear. Is the diet healthful because it includes pasta…or despite it?
“We’re talking about a fundamental component of Italian Mediterranean tradition, and there is no reason to do without it,” said one of the study’s authors, Licia Iacoviello.
But might there be some caveats within the study’s fine print?
After all, another one of the researchers, George Pounis of the Institute for Research, Hospitalization and Health Care Neuromed in Pozzilli., stated, “Our data show that enjoying pasta according to individuals’ needs contributes to a healthy body mass index, lower waist circumference and better waist-hip ratio.”
The reason was people who ate pasta were more likely to follow the Mediterrean diet as a whole, so to the extent that pasta enticed them in that direction, it helped them avoid obesity, the researchers concluded.
Yet what exactly is the definition of “according to individuals’ needs,” and could it possibly include the “Never EndingPasta Bowl” featured at somen American chain restaurants?
A closer look and the findings revealed bad news for Americans: Survey participants were given little picture booklets to help them report portion size. The biggest portion selection was…just over three measly ounces… less than a quarter of the standard box or package of pasta.
In short, pasta does not cause obesity for people who eat like Italians – but not necessarily for those who don’t.

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