Pasta, the dieter’s friend, so say nutritionists

Here is how nutritionists answer to the web rumours and carbophobia, starting with Pietro Antonio Migliaccio, President of the Italian Society of Food Science and Nutrition.

Unfortunately, many people don’t realize just how healthy a good plate of pasta can be. Let’s start with the fact that this food, rich in slow absorbing complex carbohydrates, protects the body from sharp and sudden glycaemic peaks and guarantees an almost immediate and long-lasting sense of satiety thanks to the starch content.”

 On the consumption of pasta in low-calorie diets, the professor states: “It is absolutely wrong to think that pasta makes you fat. Even when you need to lose weight, a low-calorie diet must still guarantee, in the right ratio, the consumption of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. These three well-balanced macronutrients are essential for establishing a healthy and personalized diet. Pasta, in the right amounts, can even be eaten every day within the context of a balanced diet and correct lifestyle and, because it gives a high level of satiety, it is also indicated in low-calorie and therefore weight-loss diets”.

Nicola Sorrentino, doctor and specialist in food science has made pasta one of the cornerstones of the diet which carries his name, discrediting the prejudice that pasta makes you fat and this is something he reiterates in the pages of his blog: “The body needs to take in large quantities of food so that it can feel full. And pasta, once cooked, does this best satisfying the palate and eye, with a limited number of calories. As a food it appears in a huge number of recipes which all the different shapes, traditional and new, can enrich further still. Served with pulses or with a fish sauce it is a complete and nutritionally balanced meal. Cooked with vegetables it makes a dietetic and healthy dish. Eating pasta also improves your mood because it is digestible (especially when al dente), it provides energy and contains tryptophan, an amino acid which produces serotonin, the neurotransmitter which helps fight depression. As well as potentially having an anti-diabetic role, complex carbohydrates (and therefore pasta) are indicated for anyone suffering from high blood pressure; the starch, when combined with foods of vegetable origin, have a low sodium content.

Confirming the benefits of pasta in the daily diet are the results of the recent studies performed by the Nutrition Foundation of Italy, which highlight how pasta helps to control body weight and glycemia in diabetic patients, to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, and improve cholesterol levels in the blood as well as those of other cardiovascular risk factors.