Our favorite carb load may not be deserving of the bad press it gets. While most refined carbohydrates are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, a study recently published in BMJ Open has found that pasta has a low glycemic index meaning that it causes smaller increases in blood sugar levels than other carb-laden foods.

The study reviewed and analyzed evidence from around 30 randomized controlled trials involving almost 2,500 people who eat pasta as a part of a low-glycemic diet. The people involved in the study ate an average of one and two-thirds cups of cooked pasta a week instead of other carbs, and experienced weight loss of around 1 pound over a 12-week follow-up.

"The study found that pasta didn't contribute to weight gain or increase in body fat," said lead author Dr. John Sievenpiper. "In fact analysis actually showed a small weight loss. So contrary to concerns, perhaps pasta can be part of a healthy diet such as a low GI diet."

But, you might want to wait before heading to the all-you-can-eat-pasta buffet, as the study authors stress that these results are generalized to pasta consumed as a part of a low-glycemic diet. They caution that more work is needed to find out if these results will extend to other types of healthy diets.