Pasta And Weight Loss
The notion that you can lose weight on a diet that includes three servings of pasta per week got a big boost from a Canadian investigation published in early April 2018. It sounded too good to be true and practically speaking, it probably is. The researchers reviewed 29 randomized controlled trials which included data on 2,448 participants, some of whom had been put on diets providing low glycemic index foods – those that raise blood sugar slowly, which includes lightly cooked pasta. Other participants were on high glycemic index diets with no pasta but with carbohydrates such as white bread. (High glycemic index foods raise blood sugar quickly.) An analysis of all the data showed that the participants on the low glycemic index diets did lose weight, on average 1.4 pounds over 12 weeks. Their pasta consumption of 3.3 servings per week sounds generous but actually amounted to about three half-cup servings. The researchers, from Canada’s University of Toronto, said they didn’t know whether their weight-loss findings would hold up if the three pasta servings were included in a Mediterranean diet or if the study participants were able to keep off the 1.4 pounds lost over the 12-week span.
My take? If you want to lose weight, you’re probably aiming to pare more than 1.4 pounds in 12 weeks. This analysis is interesting in that it suggested that you can consume limited portions of pasta and still lose a little weight. My anti-inflammatory diet includes pasta cooked al dente and eaten in moderation. I also recommend that the majority of your carbohydrate choices be in the form of less refined, less processed foods with a low glycemic load. My diet was not designed as a weight loss program although people can and do lose weight on it.
Laura Chiavaroli et al, “Effect of pasta in the context of low-glycaemic index dietary patterns on body weight and markers of adiposity: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials in adults.” BMJ Open, April 2, 2018, doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019438
Also in this week’s bulletin: