Pasta Does Not Make You Fat      

January 2017  
Welcome to the new issue of The Truth About Pasta, the monthly newsletter from the International Pasta Organization. Each month's newsletter features a new and different topic -- all pointing to The Truth About Pasta. The truth is...pasta is healthy, sustainable, convenient, delicious, affordable, doesn't make you fat, and much, much more. Be sure to look for each new issue, with more topics and information.

With the turn of the New Year, people all over the world are resolving to embrace healthier diets and drop the excess weight. The good news is that even if slimming down is your top priority for 2017, you don't have to say good-bye to delicious, satiating pasta meals.
Some celebrities and pop-science writers blame carbohydrates like pasta for the wide prevalence of obesity today. But the truth is, pasta does not actually make you fat. In fact, nutrition experts recommend that carbohydrates, like pasta, should provide 45-65% of our calories. Additionally, pasta is the perfect vessel for the nutritious foods that health experts encourage us to eat more of, such as spinach, olive oil, seafood, and fresh herbs.

Experts Say...

Scientific experts from around the world agree that, " Many clinical trials confirm that excess calories, and not carbohydrates, are responsible for obesity." That's because, more often than not, restrictive diets that eliminate entire food groups aren't a sustainable way to lose weight, and keep it off. To maintain a healthy weight over the long-term, it's a smarter approach to embrace a lifestyle change that's time-tested and well-balanced, like the   Mediterranean diet.
Epidemiological evidence supports pasta's role in healthy diets. In studies of thousands of people, scientists have found that pasta is linked with a lower risk of obesity markers. Additionally, people who eat more pasta, noodles, and cooked grains (excluding ready-to-eat macaroni and cheese or mixed pasta dishes) also tend to score higher on the Healthy Eating Index, a measure of   diet quality. People who eat pasta also tend to eat more fiber.

girl eating pasta

In fact, in a 2016 study in Nutrition & Diabetes, researchers found that, after statistically correcting pasta intake for body weight, pasta intake was linked with significantly lower BMIs and central obesity (measured by waist to hip ratio, and waist and hip circumferences), even after adjusting for total calories and adherence to the Mediterranean diet. They also found that pasta intake was correlated with the intake of other healthy foods, including tomatoes, olive oil, and cheese.
It is no wonder, then, that nutrition researchers across the globe are fighting back against fad diets and carbophobia to "educate the consumer to choose varied and balanced pasta meals for health." When you enjoy healthy, vegetable rich pasta meals in modest portions, it is a delight to discover just how delicious healthy eating can be.

Did you know?

People who eat more pasta also tend to eat more vegetables! That's because pasta is a pillar of the Mediterranean diet, a healthy, vegetable rich eating pattern. In  Pasta: A Unique Grain Food , a one-hour, on-demand webinar, you can learn more about the health benefits of pasta and its place in the Mediterranean diet, from Kantha Shelke, PhD, Corvus Blue (Chicago, USA); Gabriele Riccardi, MD, Federico II University (Naples, Italy); and Marta Garaulet Aza, PhD, DrPH,
University of Murcia and Garaulet Clinics (Murcia, Spain).

Video of the Month   

You can learn more about why Pasta Does Not Make You Fat in this video. Be sure to check out the TED-Ed lesson associated with the video to test your knowledge.
Recipe of the Month

Keri Gans, MS, RDN, CDN
, is a registered dietitian/nutritionist, spokesperson and media personality with a private practice in New York City. She is the author of The Small Change Diet, a Shape Magazine advisory board member, and blogger for US News & World Report. Keri is also a past-spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a past-president of The New York State Dietetic Association.

Here are Keri's tips:
  1. Eat like a Mediterranean. Pasta makes a great partner for nutritious foods. Like they do in Mediterranean countries include lots of veggies, whole grains, like whole-wheat pasta, nuts, seeds, and low-fat dairy, fish and lean meats. Research supports that a Mediterranean diet may help prevent heart disease and other health problems.
  1. When creating a delicious pasta meal or ordering one in a restaurant make sure to choose those dishes that incorporate healthy fats, like olive oil, versus heavy creamed sauces to help reduce calories. One small change can make a big difference.
  1. Pasta can be a quick, easy and satiating lunch meal. Take ½ to 2/3 cup cooked pasta; add serving of tuna, black beans, chopped tomato, red onion and olive oil. Place in portable container and bring to office (or eat at home). This delicious meal is packed with fiber, whole grains, protein and healthy fats. Should keep you satisfied until dinnertime.
Keri shares a simple, nutritious and delicious pasta meal recipe:
Farfalle with Cherry Tomatoes, Broccoli and Feta

Serves: Two

4 ounces dry farfalle pasta (one cup cooked)
4 teaspoon of olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups cherry (or grape) tomatoes, halved
2 cups broccoli florets
1 cup cannellini beans, low sodium canned
2 tablespoon crumbled feta cheese
Salt & pepper, to taste
  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil; cook the farfalle al dente, about 11 minutes; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add garlic and tomatoes. Sauté tomatoes until easily pierced by fork at 4 minutes, then gently smash them with the fork to release juices. Simultaneously place florets into microwavable dish and microwave at high until tender, about 3 minutes (time may vary according to microwave).
  3. Take beans and drain liquid from can and run under cold water to remove excess sodium. Toss beans, cooked broccoli, and feta into skillet with tomatoes, sauté together for another 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and toss in a bowl with pasta.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Nutrition Information (one serving):
Calories: 360, Total Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Fiber: 9g, Sodium 290mg, Protein: 16g

Recipe courtesy of  Kari Gans and Pasta for All

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