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Pasta doesn’t make you gain weight or body fat when it’s part of a well-balanced diet, according to new research published in the journal BMJ Open. Calorie for calorie, it had no bigger impact on people’s waistlines than any other food.
Foods with high glycemic indexes like white bread and rice break down quickly in the body and cause sharp spikes and drops in blood sugar, which leads to cravings and encourages your body to store fat.
But because of the way it’s processed and dried, pasta (yes, even the white variety) takes longer to digest than other refined carbs, says study author John Sievenpiper, MD, Ph.D., associate professor of nutritional sciences at the University of Toronto. Since pasta breaks down slowly in the body, it helps keeps blood sugar levels steady throughout the day. That makes you less likely to overeat or crave more carbs later on, he explains.
Consider pasta, in moderation, an approved source of carbs in addition to your go-to sweet potatoes. Always cook it al dente: “The sooner you remove it from the water, the lower the glycemic index,” Sievenpiper says.
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