Eating Pasta Associated with Higher Consumption of Vegetables
A new study presented at the 2017 Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo in Chicago revealed that the diets of adults who eat pasta are associated with higher daily consumption of total vegetables than the diets of non-pasta-eaters. The increased vegetable intake referred specifically to red and orange vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers. In fact, the research showed pasta eaters ate about twice as many tomatoes as non-pasta eaters. Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C and other antioxidants like lycopene. Pasta eaters also had higher intakes of whole grains compared to non-pasta eaters.
The research, entitled “Pasta Consumption is Associated with Lower Fat Intake and Higher Consumption of Foods to Encourage in US Adults: Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2001-2012” was conducted by Nutritional Strategies, Inc. on behalf of the National Pasta Association. It was presented at the 2017 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Food and Nutrition Conference and Exposition (FNCE) in Chicago. The study examined adults aged 19 and older and was organized to identify the associations between pasta consumption, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) food group intakes and diet quality in comparison with non-consumption. The data review did not look at any health outcomes associated with pasta consumption.
“These findings are particularly important because the foods pasta-eaters are associated with eating more of, like vegetables and whole grains, are nutrient-dense foods that many Americans are not getting enough of in the diet,” said registered dietitian Diane Welland. “A recent report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in November found that just nine percent of Americans are meeting Dietary Guideline intake recommendations for vegetables. Pasta can help. It’s easy to add a vegetable or two to pasta dishes. In addition to red tomato sauce, pasta lends itself to broccoli, peppers, mushrooms or zucchini.”
In addition to increased vegetable intake, researchers have identified a number of other key positive nutritional dietary patterns associated with adults who eat pasta as part of their diet compared to those who don’t eat pasta. Pasta eaters have:
- Significantly lower solid fat intake
- Lower added sugar intake
- Better overall diet quality (as measured by USDA’s Healthy Eating Index-2010 scale)
- Higher daily total vegetable consumption
- Higher consumption of red/orange vegetables
- Greater whole grain consumption
This is consistent with previous diet consumption research, which also found an association between pasta consumption and better overall dietary quality and intake of nutrients typically lacking in the American diet, as compared to non-consumption. This association was found in both adults and children.
For more nutritional information, pasta facts and pasta recipes, please visit www.PastaFits.org.
About the National Pasta Association (NPA):
NPA is the leading trade association for the U.S. pasta industry. The association provides leadership to the industry on public policy issues, serving as its voice in Washington, D.C. NPA also forges alliances with key organizations, monitors and addresses technical issues and conducts nutrition and food safety research on behalf of the U.S. pasta industry.
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