Carb lovers, rejoice! Now there’s evidence that you can have your rigatoni and eat it too—without an ounce of worry about weight gain.
A new study out of Italy suggests that people who eat pasta actually have a smaller body mass index than those who don’t nosh on noodles.
Researchers at The Institute for Research, Hospitalization, and Health Care Neuromed in Pozzilli, Italy, took a hard look at the eating habits of over 23,000 Italians. The data showed that enjoying pasta—a staple of the Mediterranean diet—was associated with a lower waist circumference and a reduced likelihood of obesity.
“In popular views, pasta is often considered not adequate when you want to lose weight. And some people completely ban it from their meals. In light of this research, we can say that this is not a correct attitude,” Licia Iacoviello, M.D., Ph.D., head of the Laboratory of Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology at Neuromed Institute, says in a press release. (Get after your weight-loss goals with Women’s Health’s Look Better Naked Workout DVD.)
“We’re talking about a fundamental component of Italian Mediterranean tradition, and there is no reason to do without it,” she says. “The Mediterranean diet, consumed in moderation and respecting the variety of all its elements, is good for your health.”
The key word to emphasize here is “moderation.” Your BMI, and the number on your bathroom scale, will likely go up if you start treating yourself to a large bowl of fettuccine Alfredo every night. But eating a small-sized pasta dish rich in veggies and olive oil every now and then? That’s not going to destroy your weight-loss efforts. So stop feeling guilty about all that summer pasta salad you ate over the Fourth of July, ya hear?