If you love pasta but don't eat it for fear it'll make you gain weight, we've got some smashing news for you.
Researchers have discovered that, despite popular belief that pasta makes you pile on the pounds, eating it has actually been associated with weight loss.
But that's not to say you should over-indulge. Researchers suggest eating it "in moderation", as part of a balanced diet.
The research, published in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes, examined over 23,000 people who participated in two large epidemiological studies.
They analysed data of the participants and their eating habits and found that, contrary to popular belief, consumption of pasta is not associated with weight gain.
"Our data shows that enjoying pasta according to individuals' needs contributes to a healthy body mass index, lower waist circumference and better waist-hip ratio," said lead author George Pounis.
The Mediterranean diet has been touted for its many health benefits over the years. But the role of pasta in this diet has not been evaluated on its own.
Licia Iacoviello, head of the laboratory of molecular and nutritional epidemiology at Neuromed Institute, said: "In popular views pasta is often considered not adequate when you want to lose weight. And some people completely ban it from their meals.
"In light of this research, we can say that this is not a correct attitude.
"We're talking about a fundamental component of Italian Mediterranean tradition, and there is no reason to do without it."
She added: "The message emerging from this study, as from other scientific analyses conducted in the context of the Moli-sani Project and INHES, is that Mediterranean diet, consumed in moderation and respecting the variety of all its elements (pasta in the first place), is good for your health."
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