Wow, pasta is in the news again. In the 1990s it was claimed that eating pasta would mean consuming large anount of calories, which then get deposited as fat.
And now the surprising media focus is now on how pasta can help you lose weight? It is incredible to think how two pieces of research can have such different results over time.
The latter fact was what was reported in newspapers such as The Daily Telegraph and the Independent.
Carbs have become a common focal point for newspapers because it is almost unavoidable that we have to consume them every day. Newspapers tend to focus on common foods such as pasta, rice and bananas because the majority of readers consume them and this makes the news relevant, newsworthy, and inclines the reader to purchase a newspaper or read a web page loaded with adverts.
The common carbohydates that feature in news are white flour, rice and potatoes. They have been criticised for causing weight gain, alongside sugar.
Pasta is a low-glycemic index food, which means the carbohydrates don’t release sugar in the bloodstream when broken down.
But the abundance of carbohydrates in daily food also means that when it is absent, it is newsworthy. Which is why when celebrities go on a zero-carb diet, like the Adkins diet, the news is jumped on.
In the cited research, researchers looked at pasta that was used as a part of an overall low-glycemic index diet, compared to a high glycemic index food.
When pasta was eaten as part of a low GI diet, it was more likely to cause weight loss than if it were eaten as part of a high GI diet.
The research is still out on that one really. But is eating a low GI diet part of the solution that it appears to be? I would suggest not.
I would suggest that those who eat a low-GI diet anyway would be more inclined to eat a high fibre type of pasta.
High fibre pasta keeps you full and you feel fuller on less calories. Thus less calories remain with the body and get deposited as fat. Excess calories end up as fat, you see.
Those who ate pasta as part of a high GI diet would be less likely to be health conscious and hence the type of pasta would be less specific, less high-fibre and more ordinary pasta, requiring one to eat more calories to feel full.
Look at it this way. Less health concious people drink norrmal tea. Health conscious people drink peppermint tea (or some other sort).
Those who drink peppermint tea as part of their daily diet would be more likely to be health conscious, while those that consume normal tea are likely not. But that doesn’t mean you should stretch research and say peppermint tea helps you lose weight.
To summarise, what I would propose is not that pasta helps you lose weight, but that high-fibre pasta means you consume less calories and hence lose weight. It has nothing to do with being used as part of a low glycemic index diet or a high glycemic index diet. But low GI diet followers are more likely to eat high fibre pasta.
This was the bit of information that was not supported by articles.
The researchers found that “when pasta is consumed in the context of low GI dietary patterns, there is no weight gain but marginally clinically significant weight loss.”
The Mail Online, England’s favourite Health Daily, of course stretched the truth by saying that one should forgetting eating courgettes and going to the gym. Who ever knew a humble common daily event like eating pasta would have such a great effect?
That was the Mail Online’s spin to it, but don’t rush to eat lots of pasta. The extra consumption of pasta would merely make you pile on the pounds again. It is unethical to report like this but in this day and age it sells articles and is inportant though, even if it is peddling mistruths!