WASHINGTON — Love Italian food, but feel guilty whenever you indulge? Fear no more, researchers say.
A new study by Nutritional Strategies Inc., which pulled data from tens of thousands of American children and adults via the government’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, has found that pasta eaters have a better nutrient intake than non-pasta eaters. This is particularly the case when it comes to nutrients that people are commonly deficient in, such as iron, folate, magnesium, and fiber.
Pasta eaters were also found to consume less saturated fat and sugar on average, all while relying upon healthier carbohydrates to give them energy.
Previous studies had found that the consumption of pasta— a food low in sodium, free of cholesterol, and possessing a low glycemic index— often leads to favorable health outcomes.
An Italian study last year, for example, found that eating pasta had a correlation with a lower Body Mass Index.
Carbohydrates often get a bad rap for making people gain weight, but other studies have found that a diet high in carbs, but low in fat, is just as effective as a low-carb diet for shedding pounds.
While this study does warranty further inquiry into the matter, it is important to aware of the fact that the research was funded by the National Pasta Association, an industry trade group.
“Pasta can be an effective building block for good nutrition, as it serves as a perfect delivery system for fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish and legumes,” registered dietitian Diane Welland, Nutrition Communications Manager for the National Pasta Association, said in a release. “This analysis underscores the nutritional importance of grains, such as pasta, as consistent with a healthy diet. It shows that pasta eaters have better quality diets than those who don’t eat pasta.”
The study also didn’t disclose specific demographics within its data set, nor the participants’ pasta eating frequency.
Lastly, it should be noted that the study is based upon the assumption that consumers eat only wheat-based pasta that contains no egg.