(CNN)A little bit of what’s irresistible is good for you, Italian scientists have discovered.
Their analysis of more than 23,000 people found that eating some pasta is associated with a lower body mass index. Those who enjoyed their noodles were less likely to be overweight and obese.
“Our results are in agreement with a relatively recent study examining food and nutrient intakes in association with BMI in 1,794 United States middle-aged adults, showing that pasta intake among other food groups is negatively associated with BMI,” the researchers wrote.
Their new research appeared in Nutrition and Diabetes just in time for Independence Day, with its pasta salads at picnics and barbecues.
Pasta: An American tradition?
Founding Father Thomas Jefferson loved pasta, according to the Library of Congress, which noted that macaroni was a fashionable food in Paris while he served as minister to France. In 1787, while traveling around Northern Italy, Jefferson drew a macaroni machine and commissioned his secretary to purchase one. Unfortunately, the temperamental instrument did not endure, so in his later years back in America, he (or rather, his cook) resorted to hand-rolling and cutting pasta in the long tradition of Italian grandmas.
“Both in women and men, the obese population was older and at lower socioeconomic status, had higher waist and hip circumferences and waist-to-hip ratio, and consumed more pasta (grams per day) than normal or overweight participants,” Iacoviello and her colleagues wrote. The researchers claim no conflicts of interest — short of loving good food.
The researchers do not specify an amount of pasta that is ideal, but they looked at the data from enough angles to say there’s no link between eating pasta and high BMI.
So feel free to enjoy a little of the obligatory macaroni salad during your Fourth of July celebration, as Jefferson would have wanted.
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