Pasta eaters have superior quality of diet

Researchers identified a number of key positive nutritional dietary patterns associated with those who eat pasta as part of their diet.

Washington: Pasta lovers, rejoice! Eating the traditional Italian cuisine may improve your overall diet quality as compared to those who do not consume pasta, a new study has claimed.

The study which analysed the diets of people who eat pasta found that they consume greater amounts of shortfall nutrients, including foliate, iron, magnesium and dietary fibre. Shortfall nutrients are the nutrients most people lack in their diets.

The research, presented at The Obesity Society's annual meeting in New Orleans, US, also found that pasta consumers are eating more essential nutrients, less saturated fat and less added sugar compared to those who don't eat pasta.

The study examined associations between pasta consumption, shortfall nutrient intakes as defined by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines (2015 DG) and diet quality in comparison to non-pasta consumption in US adults.

The data review did not look at any health outcomes associated with pasta consumption.

Researchers analysed the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2012 data on US adults (above 19 years of age).

Diet quality was measured using the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Healthy Eating Index-2010 - which measures one's diet against the USDA Dietary Guidelines - and pasta consumption was defined as all dry domestic and imported pasta/noodle varieties made with only wheat and no egg.

From the analysis, researchers identified a number of key positive nutritional dietary patterns associated with those who eat pasta as part of their diet compared to those who don't eat pasta.

They found higher diet quality scores (as measured by USDA's Healthy Eating Index-2010 scale) and greater intake of shortfall nutrients like folate, iron, magnesium and dietary fibre among pasta eaters.

They also found lower daily intakes of saturated fat and added sugar along with greater vitamin and mineral intake overall.

"The new 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines encourage the consumption of all types of grains for the many nutrients they provide. Pasta can be an effective building block for good nutrition, as it serves as a perfect delivery system for fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish and legumes," said Diane Welland, Nutrition Communications Manager for the National Pasta Association.

"This analysis underscores the nutritional importance of grains, such as pasta, as consistent with a healthy diet. It shows that pasta eaters have better quality diets than those who don't eat pasta," said Welland.

In addition to the nutrients mentioned in this new research, pasta also provides important carbohydrates, which the body uses for energy.

Pasta is a low-sodium and cholesterol-free food with a low glycemic index. Low glycemic index foods keep blood sugar levels regular.

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