"Beware of low fat and low carb diets, the important thing is to adopt
an active lifestyle and a balanced diet.  A plate of pasta, in addition to carbohydrates, also contains proteins, fibers, vitamins and minerals. In the long term, the Mediterranean Diet is a very good choice since it ensures weight loss, health and happiness at the same time!"

“It makes no sense to follow a low fat or low carb diet, what’s important is to follow a balanced diet and, most of all, to avoid a sedentary lifestyle, to practice sports and to be more active”.

“To stay healthy, it’s not so important to maintain a strict balance between fats, proteins and sugar, but rather to remember that foods have a nutritional value in themselves that depends on other nutrients they contain”.

“Our best option is to adopt a slightly low fat, low carb and low prot diet and a high running, high walking, high swimming lifestyle…”

These are some of the recommendations made by Andrea Ghiselli, an experienced nutritionist of the Agricultural Research Council (CRA) - the Italian research and experimentation organization with general scientific competence in agriculture, agro-industry, fisheries and forestry, under the supervision of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry - commenting on a study conducted by Lydia Bazzano of the Tulane University, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. According to the study, a lower intake of carbohydrates, rather than fats, helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

“Light foods have been on the market for some time now. The idea was to eliminate fats in order to cut down on calories, but the incidence of obesity has not decreased - affirms Ghiselli - Today we blame carbohydrates, banning them from our diet, but once we realize that obesity has not been eradicated, we will begin to blame protein. However, none of these recipes are the solution”.

If an individual burned all the calories he consumes, he would not gain weight. But if just one calorie a day escaped the metabolic furnace, that person would gain weight, regardless of the source of that calorie. What worries us more today is not just the quality of the food we eat, but also the quantity.

We eat food, not powders, and each food is important not only for what it contains, but perhaps more importantly for the room it takes away from other foods. For example, if you increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables, you will not only introduce vitamins and minerals, but also water and fiber that leave less room for other foods. Therefore, diets that are more likely to ensure a proper energy intake and at the same time to satisfy the requirements of all nutrients, are those that rely on carbohydrates for 45-60%, on fats for 25-35% and on proteins for 15-20%. But what really matters is not the breakdown of the three macronutrients (assuming that you ensure the minimum requirements of each), but the fact that they contain everything else.

Certainly, a plate of pasta provides calories represented by the glucose molecules. But together with these glucose molecules there are also proteins, fibers, vitamins and minerals. Not only, pasta is a support for still other nutrients-foods, from simple vegetables to legumes, fish and meat: all foods that provide essential nutrients.

The truth is that we blame those who have no faults. Glucose is a vital molecule because it gives us energy. Any life form cannot do without glucose as an energy source for various functions. The problem is that if we do not consume all the energy we introduce in our body, we put on weight, which poses serious health risks. Since most of us do not get enough exercise, we should give up a few calories.

One final consideration - concludes the expert - is that one can go an a low carb diet for a short time to lose weight, which is what we all do when we need to lose a few pounds, but this type of diet cannot be followed for a long time, not only because it is too strict and not very gratifying, but also for the health risks it poses. It is no coincidence that the volunteers who participated in the study were supposed to follow a low carb diet with less than 40 calories per day, but did not succeed, consuming twice as much in the first six months and exceeding 110 grams after 12 months.

It should be noted that without 2 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of weight, we go into ketosis, a condition that certainly involves weight loss, but also a serious hazard to our body.

In the long term, the Mediterranean diet proves to be a very good choice - claims Ghiselli - because it ensures weight loss, health and happiness at the same time!


To read more on this subject:

Low-carb versus low-fat: is there really a winner?

David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H. Director Yale University Prevention Research Center, Griffin Hospital

I.P.O. International Pasta Organisation Secretariat General c/o AIDEPI - Associazione delle Industrie del Dolce e della Pasta Italiane -
Viale del Poggio Fiorito 61 00144 Roma, Italia Tel. +39 06 8091071 Fax +39 06 8073186 -