Beware of sensational headlines – Pasta fits into a healthy lifestyle

From time to time, we see confusion about carbohydrate foods surfacing online despite scientific and nutrition experts’ clarifications. Remember: Not all carbohydrate foods are the same.

As Oldways points out in this recent statement for the media, one more example is a recent article with the headline, “Fatty foods don’t cause heart disease, bread and pasta do,” another disappointing focus on the results from the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology (“PURE”) study, that has been discounted by most nutrition scientists and other health professionals.

 

It’s clear that eating an apple is better for you than eating a chocolate chip cookie.

All plant-based foods, including fruits, vegetables and grains, contain carbohydrates, which provide vital fuel to your muscles and brain. Carbohydrates are the most important source of energy for the brain, like gas for a car. For instance, studies have shown that when following the Mediterranean Diet, including healthy pasta, mostly vegetables, and olive oil as the main fat source, the risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease is lowered.

Progress in scientific research has highlighted the diverse functions of carbohydrates in the body and their importance in the promotion of good health. The WHO/FAO report on carbohydrates in human nutrition and the scientific opinion on dietary reference values for carbohydrates and dietary fiber from EFSA confirm that carbohydrate-containing foods like pasta are a necessary part of a healthy diet. In fact, 45 to 60 percent of our energy should be coming from carbohydrates.

The Healthy Pasta Meal Scientific Consensus Statement, signed by 27 international experts, states, “Many clinical trials confirm that excess calories, and not carbohydrates, are responsible for obesity. Diets successful in promoting weight loss can emphasize a range of healthy carbohydrates, protein and fat. All these three macronutrients, in balance, are essential for designing a healthy, individualized diet anyone can follow for their whole life. Moreover, very low carbohydrate diets may not be safe, especially in the long term.”

Sticking mostly to healthy carbs like fruits, vegetables, legumes, and grains will help maintain a healthy diet.

Made from durum wheat semolina or from the flour of other grains mixed with water and/or eggs, pasta is a simple nutritious way to add the necessary carbohydrates to any healthy diet.

This article by internationally recognized nutrition expert Dr. David Katz provides a science-based explanation of how pasta fits into a healthy diet. Like most of us, he eats pasta because he loves it – and because it fits into a healthy lifestyle.

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