When the grill cools off this afternoon, there’s good news on the food front. According to Italian researchers (not The Onion), pasta has no link to obesity. Oh?

Published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes, the team looked at the eating habits of 23,000 Italians. I knew there was going to be a catch. Italians have heard of portion control, and something tells me it doesn’t involve never-ending pasta bowls at Olive Garden. Let a man dream…

The study went further in its pasta findings. Not only is there no link, but the study also found the opposite is true. Yeah, we are setting ourselves up to be seriously depressed.

Go ahead George Pounis, lead researcher from the Institute for Research, Hospitalization and Health Care Neuromed in Pozzilli, rain on our collective parade.

“Our data show that enjoying pasta according to individuals’ needs contributes to a healthy body mass index, lower waist circumference, and better waist-hip ratio.”

Pasta and its obesity link

And there it is. The catch.

Notice the ‘individual’s needs?’ It means what you already suspected. The 23,000 Italians who had their eating habits studied were more likely to follow the Mediterranean Diet. Otherwise known as not making an Olive Garden look like it was targeted for a drone strike. Not that I’ve ever single-handedly wrecked a pot of pasta…

It gets worse. Each person was issued a picture booklet to identify their portions. The largest? 86 grams or three ounces for us pasta lovers on this side of the Atlantic. What do three ounces look like in a bowl? It’s less than a quarter of a standard box of pasta, cooked.

Italians consider what I happen to attribute to an appetizer as their largest portion. Luckily I have a metabolism set to the speed of light, so I can get away with ignoring 86 grams as my max.

George, this sucks brother. Pasta only prevents obesity if you control yourself. That ignores the fact it’s so damn good. It all comes down to calories in, calories out. Thanks, science. When it’s not discovering new worlds, research can be a downer.

I say we all throw a pot on, hit the red sauce and eat in solidarity with our Italian counterparts. Don’t worry; I’ll handle the 86 grams. And a bit more…

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