Examining nutritional data collected from over 20,000 respondents from all over Italy, the researchers found pasta consumption to be "significantly and negatively" associated with body mass index (BMI), waist and hip circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio. Pasta enthusiasts were also less likely to be overweight or obese than their fettuccine-phobic counterparts. These results, the authors hypothesize, may be related to the prevalence of pasta in the so-called Mediterranean diet, which has long been linked to lower rates of obesity and heart disease among devotees. In news that will shock you, they noted links between pasta intake and consumption of other staples of the Mediterranean diet food pyramid, including tomatoes, tomato sauce, onions, garlic, olive oil, cheese, and other ingredients featured heavily on the dinner menu at your favorite Italian restaurant.
However, they add, pasta does not appear to be earning these accolades by riding the coattails of a particular trendy plant-based eating regimen. The observed negative association between pasta intake and BMI was found to be independent of factors like Mediterranean-diet adherence and daily caloric intake. That's right—all else equal, those who ate more pasta had lower BMIs than those who did not.
Now, do these findings lead to the inevitable conclusion that pasta is a magical elixir that instantly transforms everyone who eats it into a svelte fashion model? Probably not! But...maybe. The authors, for the record, simply call this observation "interesting" and suggest that further analysis of the relationship between pasta and other food groups and/or dietary patterns "would be useful," which is a pretty modest thing to say for a group of people who should be awarded the next five Nobel Prizes for their efforts.
The entire study is available here, if you'd like to read it. Meanwhile: