Trying to lose weight? Cook your pasta al dente! Soft noodles are easier to overeat, study finds
- People are much more likely to eat soft pasta than people who feast on an al dente dish
- It can lead to weight gain because the body doesn’t get a chance to signal that you are full
It’s the one thing Italians can’t stand.
But overcooking pasta not only makes it less tasty, it also makes you more likely to scoff at it, according to a new study.
Researchers have found that people eat soft pasta much faster than people who indulge in an al dente dish.
And this can potentially lead to weight gain because the body doesn’t get a chance to signal to your brain that you’re full.
A team from Wageningen University & Research in the Netherlands recruited 54 people who ate four different pasta dishes over three days.
It’s the one thing Italians can’t stand. But overcooking pasta not only makes it less tasty, it also makes you more likely to mock it, according to a new study (stock image)
Analysis showed that the pasta dishes with a soft texture were consumed 45 percent faster than the same dish with a harder texture
The dishes include penne pasta and carrots, hard or soft boiled, some with sauce.
While soft penne was cooked for 20 minutes, hard penne was cooked for only seven minutes.
Soft carrots had also been cooked for 20 minutes, while hard carrots had only been cooked for two minutes.
Analysis showed that the pasta dishes with a soft texture were consumed 45 percent faster than the same dish with a harder texture.
Overall, food softness was linked to faster eating rates, they said.
And adding a sauce also increased eating speed by about 30 percent.
In the journal Food Quality and Preference, the researchers write: ‘The pasta dish with only soft ingredients was consumed 45 percent faster than the dish with only hard ingredients.
‘The soft dish was eaten with larger bite sizes and fewer chews than the hard dish.’
The study’s lead author, Dieuwerke Bolhuis, said: ‘Food hardness or softness can be used to potentially help people moderate or increase their food intake, depending on their needs.
“It would be interesting to see if future research reveals differences between our findings and eating rates among other foods and meals.”
Previous research has shown a link between fast eating and weight gain.
It may take 15 to 20 minutes for receptors in the stomach that respond to stretching from food and the hormones that signal to the brain that partially digested food has reached the small intestine to activate.
A separate study of more than 3,000 men and women in Japan found that those who ate quickly and continued until full were three times more likely to be overweight than those who ate more slowly.
And another study, from China, found that people cut their calorie intake by more than 10 percent if they chewed their food 40 times instead of 15 times.
WHAT SHOULD A BALANCED DIET LOOK LIKE?
Meals should be based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, ideally whole grains, according to the NHS
• Eat at least 5 servings of different fruits and vegetables every day. All fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit and vegetables count
• Basic meals based on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates, preferably whole grains
• 30 grams of fiber per day: This is equivalent to eating all of the following: 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 2 whole-wheat muesli biscuits, 2 thick slices of whole-wheat bread, and a large baked potato with skin
• Provide dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soy drinks) and choose lower-fat, lower-sugar options
• Eat some beans, legumes, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 servings of fish per week, one of which is fatty)
• Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and consume in small quantities
• Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of water per day
• Adults should have less than 6 g of salt and 20 g of saturated fat for women or 30 g for men per day
Source: NHS Eatwell Guide