Pasta is the Pillar of the Mediterranean Diet

 

  • Pasta joins other grains, as well as fruits, vegetables, olive oil, beans, legumes nuts, seeds, herbs and spices as the basis of the Mediterranean Diet, which has been recognized by UNESCO as an intangible Block 2 Mediterranean_300dpiheritage of humanity. The Mediterranean Diet topped the U.S. News & World Report’s 2015 Best Diet issue. It was named the best of the plant-based diets and the third best diet overall.
  • The Oldways Mediterranean Diet Pyramid is a well-known visual guide to this gold-standard eating pattern. Pasta and the other foods mentioned above fall at the base of the pyramid, which indicates people should base all meals on these foods.
  • Research over the last 50 years supports traditional dietary patterns in the Mediterranean Diet confer greater health benefits than current Western dietary patterns.
  • A thorough review of decades of studies indicates that following a Mediterranean Diet may lower the incidences of major chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some types of cancer, and may help people live longer. [1]
  • Dr. Michel De Lorgeril of University Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, France, agreed, saying at the 2015 World Pasta Congress, “Pasta is the queen of the Italian Mediterranean cuisine.” This is particularly important for health, as he explains that, “Medically the Mediterranean Diet is the best way to prevent cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancers, inflammatory disease and to increase longevity based on the best scientific evidence.”
  • Researchers are also uncovering a link between Mediterranean foods (especially carbohydrates, like pasta) and healthy aging. Dr. Giancarlo Logroscino, of the University of Bari in Italy, explained at World Pasta Day 2015 that “Carbohydrates for the brain are like gas for a car.” This means that “When we follow 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.”
  • One analysis, presented at Experimental Biology, an expansive scientific conference, even showed that people who regularly consumed pasta as part of a Mediterranean-style diet were less likely to be overweight or obese or have a high body mass index (BMI).[2]
  • The Mediterranean diet is often romanticized for its links to generations past. However, by carrying forward these food traditions, we can help promote a healthier future for our children and grandchildren. Research supports this notion. After analyzing the diets of high school students, for a study called “Quality of dietary habits (adherence to a Mediterranean Diet) in pupils of compulsory secondary education,” Spanish researchers A.A. Diaz and T.D. Trave recommended that students should “increase consumption of fruit, vegetables, nuts, pasta and rice, yogurt and cheese, pulses and fish.”
  • While pills and supplements may seem like a modern way to be nutritious, particularly for athletes, simple, balanced pasta meals are perfect for keeping you on the right track. Michelangelo Giampietro, MD, Sapienza University and University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Rome and Modena, Italy) and formerly associated with the Sports Science Institute of the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI), explains that “Pasta is a great source of complex carbohydrates and is highly recommended for athletes.” In fact, “With the Mediterranean Diet, athletes have no need for supplements,” he said. “I am of the opinion that many of the medals, for sure the Italian ones, are owed to pasta.”

 

 

[1]Antonia Trichopoulou et al, BMC Medicine 2014, 12:112  http://oldwayspt.org/sites/default/files/files/MedDietBrochure.pdf

[2]Pounis G, Di Castelnuovo A, Costanzo S, et al. Pasta consumption is negatively associated with obesity markers: an analysis of Molisani and INHES studies. http://www.fasebj.org/content/30/1_Supplement/lb308.short

 

Back to 5 Good Reasons to Love Pasta


 

[1] Antonia Trichopoulou et al, BMC Medicine 2014, 12:112

[2] http://oldwayspt.org/sites/default/files/files/MedDietBrochure.pdf