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

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


Aims: 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.

Data synthesis: 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.

Conclusions: 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.

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

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / prevention & control
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Edible Grain
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Food*
  • Food, Fortified
  • Glycemic Index*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / prevention & control*
  • Nutritional Status
  • Nutritive Value*
  • Protective Factors
  • Risk Factors
  • Starch / administration & dosage*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Starch