The research was conducted by Nutritional Strategies, on behalf of the National Pasta Association.
‘Consumption of pasta is associated with greater nutrient intakes and improved diet quality in children and adults. It also has beneficial weight-related outcomes only in adult females.’
The study examined the following association between pasta and non-pasta consumers in children (2-18 years) and adults (>19 years):
- Pasta consumption
- Shortfall nutrient intakes defined by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines (2015 DG)
- Diet quality
Pasta consumption was defined as all the dry domestic and imported pasta or noodle varieties made with only wheat and not egg.
A number of positive nutritional dietary patterns were found in people who eat pasta when compared with people who don’t eat pasta.
- Improved overall diet quality – measured by USDA’s Health Eating Index- 2010 scale
- Higher intake of key shortfall nutrients in adults and children
- In adults – folate, iron, magnesium, dietary fiber
- In children – folate, iron, magnesium, dietary fiber, vitamin E
- Reduced daily intakes of saturated fat and added sugars in adults, saturated fat and total fat in children
- No difference in total daily calories and sodium intake
- Adult males and children had no significant associations with body weight, waist circumference and body mass index
- Pasta eating was associated with lower body weight and waist circumference in adult women (19-50 years)
In summary, pasta is a convenient and nutritious meal for both children and adults. It is an easy to prepare meal that pleases even the pickiest of eaters.
“Pasta can be an effective building block for good nutrition throughout the life cycle, as it serves as a perfect delivery system for fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, and legumes,” says dietitian Diane Welland.