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Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2017 Nov;27(11):939-948. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2017.07.005. Epub 2017 Jul 18.

A systematic review on the relations between pasta consumption and cardio-metabolic risk factors.

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Department of Epidemiology and Center for Global Cardiometabolic Health, Brown University, Providence, RI, United States.
Faculty of Medical Science, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK.
Department of Medicine, University of Naples Federico II, Italy.
Department of Epidemiology and Center for Global Cardiometabolic Health, Brown University, Providence, RI, United States; Department of Medicine (Endocrinology), Alpert School of Medicine, Brown University, Providence, RI, United States; Guangdong General Hospital/Guangdong Academy of Medical Sciences, China; Department of Epidemiology, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA, United States. Electronic address:



The traditional Italian dish pasta is a major food source of starch with low glycemic index (GI) and an important low-GI component of the Mediterranean diet. This systematic review aimed at assessing comprehensively and in-depth the potential benefit of pasta on cardio-metabolic disease risk factors.


Following a standard protocol, we conducted a systematic literature search of PubMed, CINAHL, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials for prospective cohort studies and randomized controlled dietary intervention trials that examined pasta and pasta-related fiber and grain intake in relation to cardio-metabolic risk factors of interest. Studies comparing postprandial glucose response to pasta with that to bread or potato were quantitatively summarized using meta-analysis of standardized mean difference. Evidence from studies with pasta as part of low-GI dietary intervention and studies investigating different types of pasta were qualitatively summarized.


Pasta meals have significantly lower postprandial glucose response than bread or potato meals, but evidence was lacking in terms of how the intake of pasta can influence cardio-metabolic disease risk. More long-term randomized controlled trials are needed where investigators directly contrast the cardio-metabolic effects of pasta and bread or potato. Long-term prospective cohort studies with required data available should also be analyzed regarding the effect of pasta intake on disease endpoints.


Carbohydrate; Cardiovascular disease (CVD); Nutrition; Pasta; Risk factor; Type 2 diabetes (T2D)

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