Study under review: Effect of pasta in the context of lowglycaemic index dietary patterns on body weight and markers of adiposity: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials in adults.
Pasta and rice constitute about 4.5% of our total grain intake in the U.S. Contrary to popular belief, pasta is considered a low-glycemic index (low-GI) food with a GI of less than 55. This characteristic could promote blood glucose control. For example, meals with pasta have a 35-50% lower glucose response compared to meals with white bread or cooked potatoes. This is attributed to the compact structure of pasta, which is composed of a network of starch and gluten, which reduces the ability of our digestive enzymes to break down the pasta for absorption. However, pasta is often cut by dieters attempting weight loss as it is commonly confused for a food that will spike blood sugar.
While there is some controversy surrounding the use of low-carbohydrate diets, there is evidence showing that the quality of the carbohydrates in a diet may play a role in weight loss success and reduction of chronic disease risk. For example, low glycemic diets have been shown to decrease bodyweight, albeit to a very small degree, and improve chronic disease risk compared to control diets. Higher intakes (about three daily servings) of whole grains are also associated with lower BMI and central adiposity. Additionally, diets higher in fiber seem to support improvements in body composition.
Foods that are lower in glycemic index (GI) or higher in fiber have the potential to dampen glucose spikes after a meal, promote fullness, and decrease the amount of total calories consumed. You can see the basics of how GI is measured in Figure 1. Although pasta has a low GI, it goes through refinement and processing methods that result in less total fiber than other grain options. However, it’s not clear whether pasta has any bearing on weight loss or measures of adiposity, which motivated the meta-analysis under review.
Pasta is a low-glycemic index (GI) grain product. There is evidence to support the idea that low-GI diets may aid in weight loss. Therefore, pasta’s inclusion in diets for weight loss warrants review and is the topic of this recent meta-analysis.
Other Articles in Issue #43 (May 2018)
Eggcellent eggs part II: can people with diabetes safely eat two eggs per day?
This long-term follow-up to a study we covered way back in NERD #7 examined the effects of eggs on people with diabetes and prediabetes.
Whose performance benefits from nitrate supplementation?
The literature examining nitrates’ effects on performance is mixed. Part of the reason for the discrepancy may come down to training status
Interview: Andrew Vigotsky
In this interview with biomedical engineering PhD candidate Andrew Vigotsky, we talk biomechanics and the state of sports science research.
Does caloric restriction really make you live longer?
Two major hypothetical mechanisms of aging were put to the test in this human trial, the latest from the CALERIE project.
Interview: Lara Hyde, PhD
We chat with the creator and host of Nourishable about nutritional epigenomics and epigenetics, as well as the nuances of communicating science to the public.
Do vegetarians lack CCC insurance? A look into creatine, carnitine, and carnosine in vegetarian diets
These three molecules play an important role in sports performance. This trial is the longest interventional study to date looking at how switching to a lacto-ovo-vegetarian diet impacts them.
Does whey supplementation help muscle function recover after lifting?
In this review, we cover the first meta-analysis examining whey protein’s impact on muscle function recovery after resistance training.