People who regularly eat pasta – the fundamental component of Italian Mediterranean cuisine – may have better diet quality, greater intake of vitamin and minerals and can better manage blood sugar levels, compared to those who do not eat pasta, new research shows.
Pasta is a low-sodium and cholesterol-free food with a low glycemic index – foods that keep blood sugar levels in control. "The study shows that pasta eaters have better quality diets than those who don't eat pasta," said Diane Welland, dietitian and Nutrition Communications Manager for the National Pasta Association – a US based organisation. The findings showed that pasta eaters had a greater intake of nutrients and minerals that most people lack in their diets such as folate – that helps the body form red blood cells and reduces the risk of defects during foetal growth --; iron – used to carry oxygen in the blood and aids in reducing anemia --; magnesium – a mineral used in building bones and releasing energy from muscles – and dietary fiber – which helps reduce blood cholesterol levels and lower risk of heart disease, obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
In addition, eating pasta also led to less intake of saturated fat – which can help lower the level of cholesterol in your blood to decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke – and less added sugar – like sucrose and high fructose corn syrup that contain a whole bunch of calories with no essential nutrients. "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," Welland added.
For the study, presented at The Obesity Society's annual meeting in New Orleans, the team conducted a survey to examine the associations between pasta consumption, shortfall nutrient intakes as defined by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines (2015 DG) and diet quality in comparison to non-pasta consumption in the US adults.