Study claims pasta helps in weight loss—but there’s a catch!

  • A study in Italy shows a link in pasta intake and lower BMI
  • The study was conducted by IRCC Neuromed institute in Italy
  • The study was partially funded by the Italian government and Barilla, a popular pasta brand

A new study by Italian researchers has found that pasta does not contribute to obesity — and is in fact associated with a reduction in body mass index (BMI).

According to the study conducted by the IRCC Neuromed Institute in Italy, published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes, there is a correlation between pasta intake and lower obesity rate.

“By analyzing anthropometric data of the participants and their eating habits, we have seen that consumption of pasta, contrary to what many think, is not associated with an increase in body weight, but rather the opposite,” says author of the study George Pounis in a news release.

Surprisingly, after conducting a survey to more than 23K participants, the results show that enjoying pasta according to individuals’ needs contributes to a healthy body mass index, lower waist circumference and better waist-hip ratio.

“The calories contributed by pasta are not ‘bad’ calories,” said Licia Lacoviello, head of Laboratory of Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology at Neuromed.

“Pasta should be considered as ‘good carbs,’ if consumed in moderation,” she added.

But before you load up on this popular carbohydrate, it is important to note the following: (1) the study does not say pasta causes reduction in BMI, just associated with it, (2) in Italy, where the study was conducted, people eat smaller portions of pasta as it is typically considered a 1st course rather than a main, and (3) the study was commissioned by a pasta-making company.

According to an article published by Time, the study was partially funded by the Italian government and Barilla, a popular pasta brand. However, the authors of the study disclosed no conflicts of interest.