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Pasta may not wreck your diet after all

New study: Pasta associated with a lower BMI

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It's what many of us have been told for years: eating carbs, like pasta, can wreck your diet. But a recent study indicates that eating pasta can actually be a good thing for weight loss.

The study looked at more than 14,000 people and found that a typical Mediterranean diet, that includes eating pasta, was associated with lower body mass index (BMI) and less obesity.

Cleveland Clinic registered dietician Kristin Kirkpatrick says that pasta alone won't wreck your diet, but that the results certainly aren't a green light to have pasta for breakfast, lunch and dinner. She says the study tells us that if we're more likely to adhere to a Mediterranean diet plan, having small amounts of pasta won't cause weight gain.

The Mediterranean diet has other health benefits, too. It is associated with decreased risk of stroke, heart attack and brain aging -- with part of the diet including moderate amounts of pasta.

Kirkpatrick points out there are also plenty of studies that do show higher amounts of white, refined carbohydrates can increase weight and disease risk, so it's important to keep in mind what type of pasta you are eating.

"Getting pastas that are one hundred percent whole grain, whether they are gluten free or they have gluten, that's going to delay gastric emptying, the fiber is going to help with keeping you fuller longer," Kirkpatrick explained.

Another key factor to consider is what type of sauce is going on that pasta.

"So what we don't want to do is look at a study like this and think it's okay to go out and have four cups of pasta with Alfredo sauce and it's going to be the best thing for our weight," Kirkpatrick said.

She says choosing a tomato-based or olive oil sauce is going to be better for your weight loss goals than a cheese-based Alfredo sauce.

You can calculate your body mass index (BMI) here.