By Alix Culbertson, News Reporter
Italian food lovers will be happy to hear that eating pasta could help people lose weight, new research has found.
The study, published in the journal BMJ Open, found that people lost about 0.5kg (1.1lb) over 12 weeks by indulging in just over three servings of the Italian carbohydrate over seven days.
Canadian researchers said by eating pasta instead of other carbohydrates people can avoid spikes in their blood sugar.
The finding will be welcomed by many after years of nutritionists recommending that pasta be kept to a minimum on grounds it is calorific and causes blood sugar levels to increase.
Unlike other refined carbohydrate-laden products, such as white rice and cakes, the study found pasta has a lower glycaemic index so it is absorbed into the bloodstream slower.
Lead author Dr John Sievenpiper, from St Michael's Hospital in Toronto, said: "In weighing the evidence, we can now say with some confidence that pasta does not have an adverse effect on body weight outcomes when it is consumed as part of a healthy dietary pattern."
"The study found that pasta didn't contribute to weight gain or increase in body fat.
"Contrary to concerns, perhaps pasta can be part of a healthy diet such as a low GI (Glycaemic index) diet."
The researchers analysed 30 controlled studies into the effects of eating pasta over other carbohydrates.
A total of 2,448 people were involved in the trials which involved them eating 3.3 servings of half a cup of pasta each week as part of a low glycaemic diet.
The researchers emphasised the results came as part of a low GI diet.