There is also consistent nutrition science evidence for the role pasta can play in weight loss and management programs. These findings make clear that pasta, by itself or as part of the Mediterranean diet, can contribute to an effective weight loss and management plan. Nutrition scientists also report that high-glycemic index foods tend to elicit greater hunger than do lower-glycemic index foods, such as pasta.
▲ Higher Carbohydrates Can Help Weight Loss
Scientists at the Harvard School of Public Health and Pennington Biomedical Research Center randomly assigned 811 overweight adults to one of four reduced-calorie diets varying in carbohydrate balance. Carbohydrate levels in the four diets were 65%, 55%, 45%, or 35%, but all consisted of similar foods and met guidelines for cardiovascular health. After following the group for two years, the researchers determined that weight loss was similar at 65% or 35% carbohydrate and that all four diets improved the body’s defensive functioning against diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
New England Journal of Medicine, 26 February 2009; 360(9):859-73.
▲ Med Diet, Weight Gain, and Aging
Some of us may notice a few extra pounds appear on the scale as we get older. Is this just the reality of getting older? A new study, which followed 10,376 Spanish men and women for about 6 years, has found that following the Mediterranean Diet eating pattern may slow down the weight gain normally observed with age. In fact, people with the lowest Med Diet score gained the most weight each year.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. December 2010; 92(6): 1484-93 [Epub Oct 20, 2010]
▲ Lower Carb Diets Linked To Obesity
A Canadian Community Health Survey of 4,451 Canadian adults concluded that consuming a low-carbohydrate diet (a diet with less than 47% carbs) is associated with a greater likelihood of being overweight or obese, among healthy, free-living adults. The lowest risk of excess weight was for those consuming 290 to 310 grams of carbohydrates per day.
Journal of the American Dietetic Association, July 2009; 109(7): 1165-72.
▲ Why the Mediterranean Diet is Effective for Weight Loss
Focusing on burning enough calories alone rarely results in lasting weight loss, unless meaningful lifestyle and behavioral changes are also added. A team at the University of Murcia in Spain has found that, although many types of diets result in weight loss, the Mediterranean Diet is especially effective because it is suited to the social and daily life of patients and can easily be followed in the long term. Therefore, counseling programs built around the Med Diet are very likely to succeed.
Nutrición Hospitalaria, 2010; 25:9-17.
▲ Low Glycemic Foods Help Reduce Risk of Chronic Disease
Scientists at the University of Toronto reviewed evidence related to glycemic index and health. They concluded that foods low on the glycemic index (GI) are associated with higher levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and that they may decrease the risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Some studies have also found a link between high-glycemic foods and certain cancers.
Journal of the American College of Nutrition, August 2009: 28 Suppl:439S-445S.
▲ Benefits of Low-Glycemic Diets over Higher Protein Diets
Although all reduced-calorie diets can achieve weight loss, the challenge is to do so without increasing the risk of chronic disease, and without regaining the weight after the diet concludes. A team of researchers at the University of Sydney reviewed and compared evidence for two types of diets: one low in overall carbs and high in protein, and one high in low-glycemic-index carbohydrates. They concluded that both types of diet result in weight loss, but that the evidence suggested that low-carb diets have the potential for increased risk of disease.
Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2008;17 Suppl 1:16-9. Nutrition Reviews, April 2008; 66(4):171-82
▲ Low GI and Low GL Diets Protect Against Chronic Disease
Look to the Index: A team at the University of Sydney found that low GI and/or low GL diets alone reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases. In diabetes and heart disease, the protection is comparable with that seen for whole grain and high fiber intakes. The findings support the general theory that high glycemic foods have a direct link to the development of certain chronic diseases.
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2008; 87:627-37